My call to vocational ministry came during the spring of 1987. The steps in my journey to ordination with the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) were guided by the people God placed around me —people from my local church, school community and friends. Affirmation of the call began with my local church family and friends and included early meetings with the Board of Ministerial Standards and Education (BMSE). I am grateful for those who walked with me helping to shape God’s call in my life.
As I was called to serve as a senior staff member with the CBAC, part of my responsibilities would include being the primary staff person working with the BMSE. Having previously served as a voting member of the Board, this wasn’t as daunting a task as it should have been. I naively thought I’d have a handle on the ins and outs of the board work that I would be responsible for!
It became quickly evident that there are parts of our collective process in need of some attention. The culture in which I had been called into had changed, and the support structures that I had benefited from were no longer as visible as they once were. As I encountered people early in their journey, I discovered some were unsure about what the steps were towards ordination with the CBAC.
Over the past few years we have witnessed evidence of a sharp decline of individuals seeking to enter into preparation for pastoral ministry. As we look at our current situation and project our needs in the coming years, there are some startling trends that we need to consider:
- In the next 15 years, 53% of our current clergy will be retirement age.
- 15 new pastors per year – what we need to maintain status quo.
- Currently we receive 7-8 new pastors annually through Ordination Council.
We will quickly find ourselves in a deficit situation – not enough pastors for our churches.
As a way to address both the issue of clarity around what ordination is, and the decline in people interested, we have developed a tool we believe will be useful.
The Journey to Ordination booklet is designed to generally walk people through the steps towards ordination with the CBAC. It begins with the identification and affirmation of the call and follows through beyond ordination including personal and professional development.
The booklet is available on our website in pdf format (https://baptist-atlantic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/JourneyToOrdination-2018-web.pdf). Printed copies are also available by contacting our office.
If you know someone who is considering ordination or want to encourage someone in this direction, please feel free to distribute copies of this valuable resource. If you have questions or need some guidance, please contact me.
Dr. Garth Williams
1-506-635-1922 ext. 1010