In recent months, as I completed graduate school and UMC certification studies and sought employment opportunities, I had been feeling a nagging impulse to take the next step in the UMC church toward a local pastor license as a means to being legitimately entitled to counsel with some official pastoral authority. As I talked to members of the district board of ministry, I was advised to consider ordination as a deacon instead. When I looked into it, it seemed to make sense. So I met with the district board of ministry and advised them of my interest in pursuing ministry as an ordained deacon. I was assigned a candidacy mentor. I completed the application to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Now I have completed an online survey with the GBHEM.
I had also talked at length with an individual who is an ordained deacon about the process and about my goals. She offerred to serve as an advocate for me with the conference board of ministry, advising them of my interests and goals. She did that last week and I received an email from her encouraging me to move forward with the candidacy process, having received a thumbs up from the conference board.
So, I’ve paid my fee and am awaiting the results of the GBHEM survey to review with my assigned mentor. I really don’t have a clue what all is going to be involved in this process….except that, like most everything else I’ve tackled, it’ll undoubtedly take a great deal of time and will be fraught with its share of frustrations.
As I have chosen Christian counseling as my preferred career now, however, I do believe it is important to have some kind of legal standing. I have chosen not to go the route of state licensure in clinical mental health. Instead I want a pastoral licensure of some sort. We’ll see how this plays out. I do feel God’s calling on my life. I do feel His guidance in it all. I am willing to go where He leads.