Summary: This sermon is a charge to the congregation for the ordination service of an inner city pastor.
Ordination Service for Outreach Pastor - The Passion and Purpose of the Urban Pastor
This is a very special day. I appreciate that you’ve joined us here today. This is a day where we come together to worship God, which has always been the way of God’s people to say: “Yes!” to God for His goodness, His mighty acts, for His salvation.
And “Yes!” to God for His power to bring purpose and meaning and joy to our lives. That’s a big part of what we do every time we gather together as His people.
And today, in a way like we do on no other day, we also gather to say another kind of “Yes!” to God. We say “yes” to God for the work He has done in and through Jan, and for he way He has called and equipped Jan.
We have a tradition in this church that is a bit off the beaten track from a lot of other churches. It’s no better or worse, but it does help us understand who we are as a local expression of the body of Christ in this city.
It’s something that happened to Kerry and to myself, and now to Jan. Very often, ordination is something that happens near the beginning of a person’s ministry. There’s a process of figuring out God’s calling, there’s the decision to go for training as a pastor, and then shortly thereafter there’s the ordination of the person who desires to be and senses God’s call to be a shepherd of God’s people.
But in our tradition that we’ve developed over time, people tend to commit themselves to pastoral ministry, often for a long period of time, and then, after a time,
go through the ordination process. Kerry was a pastor for about 4 years before he was licensed. I was a pastor for about five years before I was licensed. Jan has been with us, serving as a pastor, for about nine years.
And Jan has been a gift to us. She is a very, very good friend of mine. I’m enriched by her. And if you know Jan, you know what I mean. There’s all kinds of good things we can say about Jan, and you’ll hear some of that throughout this service and afterward at our meal together.
I’m mindful to state, however, that we do well to remember in our good thoughts about Jan and in our praise of her, that we are really speaking the praise of the God who has loved her.
And because the living God in Jesus Christ has loved Jan so thoroughly, Jan as a result loves much. The life she lives is a life of response - responding to the grace of God that has been poured out to her in Jesus Christ.
Responding to the mercy of God that has been given to her in Jesus Christ. Responding to the love of God that Jan knows was proven to her in the life and death and resurrection of her Lord and Saviour, our King and High Priest, Jesus Christ. Jan responds to God.
But I want to speak to you guys who gather here today for this celebration. Among us today are those who are part of this growing and changing church. You gather here regularly to worship God and to join in with this body in adoring Christ and being transformed by Him.
Also here are other’s who are part of this great Mission, Yonge Street Mission, which itself is a tangible expression of God’s love in this city. Colleagues and friends from Evergreen, our Centre for Street Youth, who Jan has worked with for years, are here today to support Jan.
Others from the CCC and the Executive Office and really all over the mission are here to join with us this day as we affirm and ordain our sister Jan. I thank you all for coming here. I thank you for your desire to worship God. I thank you for understanding Jan’s ministry, and understanding her as a woman, as a child of God, and for saying “Yes!” to God’s call on her life by your presence here today.
I want to thank you, but I also want to charge you as a people, to entrust you with something regarding your relationship to Jan and your part in the church or in the mission. The passages of scripture that were read a moment ago say something very important to us.
The first passage from Peter tells us that we are a people belonging to God, we are a holy nation, we are a “hood” , a priesthood of believers. Today we acknowledge and set apart Jan for the work of the ministry, for a special and unique part to play in the Kingdom of God on this earth.