Signed, Sealed, Delivered….for the benefit of Titus 2 Partnership, Inc.’s ministry to women, those in the community whom I serve, and my local church family.
Although it was not by the means I had expected when I started the process 10 years ago, it is no less valuable, is recognized by the State of Florida, and is a statement of my faithfulness to complete what I know God called me to accomplish on behalf of those I serve! I could have saved myself a lot of time and aggravation the last 4 years if I had not been blinded by denominational loyalty! I know that God allowed me to go through that in order to reveal the danger of religious idolatry and help me get my covenant with Christ in its proper place….ahead of any covenant with a church institution! I know God will use that hard-won lesson….. and, in fact, already is.
In all actuality, this is a lesson I had to learn twice….about where and to whom one’s loyalty and responsibility lies in ministry. In April 2014 I had to walk away from a position I enjoyed greatly and for which I believed God had equipped me and to which he had called me. But when resistance arose in response to my presence there, I faced the question: “Do you have to do what you do in that place?” When challenged in that way, I knew the answer was “No.” My call was to a purpose and a people, not a place. That is the same challenge with which I was confronted after several years of resistance within the ordination process of The UMC. “Do you have to do what you do in that place?” Once again, the answer was “No.”
The call to the work of a deacon is not dependent on a denomination. It is a call from God, for the purpose and people of his choice, and is recognized and affirmed by those among whom one serves. Actually, under the authority of Christian Leaders Institute and my endorsing clergy, I have authority to baptize and serve communion, as well as marry and bury, some of which the alternate denominational process I had been pursuing limited my role in significant ways. The only thing my CLI Deacon Ordination does not permit is the senior pastor role in a church. I will always be under the authority of a senior pastor in some form or fashion, which is what I knew God called me to from the beginning. It is somewhat like a marriage: one is under the authority of her husband, not the authority of all men. As a deacon I am under the authority of the pastor(s) and congregation among whom I work and who direct the demands and tasks of my ministry, not to the authority of distant persons who presume to direct the work I do.
Christian Leaders Institute is a ministry of Christian Leaders, which is a 501 (c) three non-profit ministry. Christian Leaders Institute trains thousands of Christian Leaders including graduates in over 170 countries. See CLI Directory. Thousands of local Christian Leaders are graduating at Christian Leaders Institute.
Christian Leaders Institute seeks called local leaders who sense the call into ministry no matter what their financial situation looks like. Christian Leaders Institute offers high-quality ministry training. Local Christian leaders get training right where they live in connection with a local sponsor/mentor of their choosing.
We make this training available free of charge for any called Christian leader. Every self-enrolled student who agrees to our faith statement and who completes the Getting Started Class is admitted for study.
I absolutely LOVE Christian Leaders Institute’s ministry model. It is efficient, effective, and can reproduce itself again and again. As the Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) website notes: “We desire to raise up more revival leaders who will be well trained and ready to proclaim the love of Christ everywhere.”
“God’s Spirit moves among people all the time………Ordinary, local Christian leaders around the world are in a perfect position to serve the seeking, hurting and needy people who surround them. They just need to know how. That knowledge is free and available to anyone, anytime, through the online education offered by Christian Leaders Institute (CLI).
Over 92 percent of the world does not have access to high-quality higher education. Over 75 percent of ordained leaders have little formal ministry training. Most ministry training is costly or not formal education grade.
CLI provides excellent courses which are available 24/7. The first online class in 2006 had 6 students. Now tens of thousands have graduated.
We do this on an annual budget of just over one million dollars. Professors are employed to post CLI classes that include test and quizzes. Once the class is posted, the class can be repeated. All of CLI’s funding comes from private sources: 50% from foundations, 50% from students or other donors.
Education for students is free. But many of them give as vision partners or through the donation-purchase of awards or other products.
CLI makes this training available in other languages. CLI knows how to create online learning in any language. Our processes can be replicated in other languages as quickly as we raise the funds to translate our materials.”
These are good, ordinary God-loving people who have not lost sight of their first passion and mine…..to make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. They are not caught up in social engineering and political correctness. They are not obligated by extraordinarily costly salaries, buildings, and benefits. They are not building a manmade empire. They are building the kingdom of Christ.
I will be attending a meeting in Atlanta, GA on April 16th of ministry students, recent graduates and ordained clergy from Christian Leaders’ Institute and visiting with CLI President, Dr. Henry Reyenga, members of its Board of Directors, and others whose lives are dedicated to training revival ministry leaders across the globe!
Postscript: When asked in 2008 what difference ordination as a deacon would make in my life, I told members of the local district Board of Ministry that God’s call to deacon ordination would not significantly change what I do or among whom I work, but that I knew that God had called me to pursue it. I was already doing what he had called me to do and I would continue to do it for as long as he gave me strength. Many were happy and willing to have me pursue the official recognition within their church of that to which God had called me. Over the next six years the additional tasks to be completed were joyful and were accomplished satisfactorily, as many attested. Until one day a distant group who did not know me, and whom I did not know, decided that I did not need this. And that was that. No amount of additional effort was going to change the mind of those few who had decided not that God had not called me, not that I had not done satisfactory work, not that the ministry in which I was engaged was not worthy…..but that they did not want me as a part of their club. Okay. I had not realized that I was being expected to join a club. I had simply heard the call and had sought to be faithful to fulfill the call of Christ to teach the Word, counsel toward healing, disciple new believers, and witness to the coming kingdom of Heaven on earth. The prophetic words of that little group became a reality…..I did not need their imprimatur to do what God had called me to do. And I didn’t have to join their club. But my own understanding of the nature of the call to ministry required that I be accountable to others who would confirm the call and approve and oversee my work. I am a servant and under authority to God, but also to those alongside whom I labor. The servant is not the Master, but does the Master’s work.