Well, everyone, I got them in the mail today! They were in an ominous envelope with the return address of “UM Conference Center, Columbia MO” in the upper left corner. Trembling in anticipation, I tore open the seal and pulled out … my ordination papers! (Or technically, my paperwork to complete in order to be considered for full membership in the annual conference. But for brevity’s sake, let’s call them ordination papers, okay?)
I have to complete this paperwork between now and December 1st – in other words, guess what my blog posts will consist of for the next two months? That’s right, friends, my answers to the questions in my ordination paperwork. Then, after I read all your comments on them, I’ll be equipped to deal with the interview team from Conference. I’ll say:
“Well, Kansas Bob liked that answer, so why don’t you?” or
“You know, I think bethquick would agree with me when I say …” or
“Now, of course if Larry B. had his own blog, he would point out the weakness in your argument.” or maybe even
“In fact, John gave this answer a ‘Best of the Methodist Blogosphere’ award two weeks ago.”
Here’s what I got in the packet, in order:
- A memo describing a “Paperwork Orientation Opportunity” next month.
- An instruction page.
- A shockingly pink checklist.
- A Biographical Information Form.
- A Waiver of Access to Personal File form.
- A criminal conduct disclosure form (needs to be notarized).
- An instruction sheet for Effective Practice.
- A Pastoral Care Experience Verbatim Report Format form.
- An instruction sheet for Proclamation.
- An instruction sheet for Theology and Doctrine.
- An instruction sheet for Worship and the Sacraments.
- A letter to my District Superintendent, asking for his review of my ministry.
- An instruction sheet for a Staff Evaluation form
- The Staff Evaluation form.
- An Assessment of Accomplishments, Improvements, and Goals form.
- A form describing the On-Site Interview Process
Seriously, how many forests were killed in putting together this packet? I’m telling you, my stress level increased 50% simply by opening the envelope! It’s not really a surprise, since most of the stuff is the same stuff I did when I was commissioned three years ago. But back then I was in seminary, so I was in the mode, you know? I was writing a lot, reading a lot of theology, immersed in academia. Now I’m immersed in something else altogether! (Pause...) No, not that, I'm talking about being immersed in local church ministry, and my mind is clenching up at the thought of doing this all over again – and this time for more than a grade, for my calling!
I know what I should do: do a little bit of work on this stuff every week between now and December 1. However, there’s a big gap between that knowledge and the actual completion of the assignments. A gap that, for me right now, is a major source of consternation. Put me on your prayer list, please!