Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heritage Has An Impact ...

Yesterday I participated in a very important process in my denomination. Every minister who is not yet ordained must go through a check-up interview every year. They meet with 4-6 ministers who have been through this and have some experience (some of us a lot of experience which means we are getting old). We ask them to review their spiritual journey to this point and tell us about their call to be a pastor. We then ask about some specific things in our beliefs and about how they are doing in their personal walk with the Lord, in their marriage (if married), and in their ministry. We review things that were suggested for them from the previous year.

This is not a comfortable process, but a very important one and a process that I believe in wholeheartedly. It is a great place for them to get a "wake up call" at times, or to know that they are not in this alone, and to encourage and reinforce their call.

It is a difficult place to sit on the side of the table I am now on, as one who questions, probes and evaluates the pastors still in the process of being ordained. I know that those on the other side of the table might find it hard to believe that my side of the table is difficult since they are the ones being questioned, probed and evaluated. I know, I remember and I watched my son go through this process for a few years. We had a scheduled call each year before his interview and after the interview. (The tone of those calls before were decidedly different from the calls after.)

I asked people in my church to be praying for me, the others on this board and those coming to be evaluated. No way do I want to do this process in my own power and understanding. I always come away from those times with a mixture of encouragement and burden.

One thing that really stood out to me in hearing the individuals tell of their spiritual journeys was the impact of their heritage. I mean the impact of the spiritual influence of their parent, grandparents, uncles, aunts and others who were in positions of influence in their lives. Some had to overcome the heritage they grew up with , while others were able to stand on the foundation of their heritage once they made a personal decision for Christ. Those who had to overcome their heritage were no less qualified, but they always made mention of it and of those to whom they now look for guidance. One even shared of being able to lead a parent to Christ in this past year. How awesome is that? Those who had a good Christian heritage always mentioned the power of that and how they are still being shaped by it. One even said that they never had to look for heroes in comics, the movies or sports world because Dad was their hero, spiritually, as a husband, father and worker in the church as a layman. How awesome is that?

The whole day I kept being reminded of the power of heritage. Not that someone without a Christian heritage cannot become a strong follower of Christ, but it is not as easy. Also, someone with a strong Christian heritage still has to make a personal decision for Christ and they do not have a special privilege but they do have much to lean on and stand on from those who have helped shape their lives.

What is your heritage?

What kind of a heritage are creating?


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