Holy Spirit-anointed. Life-changing. These are two descriptions of the heavily attended service of Commissioning and Ordination for Deacons and Elders with Commissioning held at St. Andrew UMC in Plano on Monday, June 4. Nineteen people took a step further into the commissioned and ordained ranks of the North Texas Annual Conference.
The service included the praying and laying on of hands from North Texas Episcopal leader Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe and other clergy for each commissioned and ordained person. This service had the distinction of having two additional bishops present to assist in the ordination of family members.
Bishop Scott Jones, episcopal leader of the Kansas East and Kansas West Annual Conferences, was on hand for the ordination of his son, Arthur Jones. Bishop Sunday N. Onuoha of The Methodist Church in Nigeria assisted in the ordination of his wife, Ugonna Onuoha.
Bishop James Swanson, episcopal leader of the HolstonAnnual Conference in Tennessee, served as the guest preacher. He offered a challenging message that urged Holy Spirit-inspired patience and action in a sermon entitled “Ministry Requires That You Live Mas.”
“I borrowed some of the title from the Taco Bell commercial,” he joked.
Then Bishop Swanson got serious and wove his sermon from Acts 2:1-21 around those being commissioned and ordained by painting a word picture of the emotions that the disciples were going through in the Book of Acts.
“There was one common thread running among the disciples. There was a lostness in their lives. The disciples were anxious to do what Jesus wanted them to do, but they needed to wait on the power of the Holy Spirit,” he explained.
“Just be patient. We tend to forget that the ministry does not belong to us. That’s our problem – we want to tell our story, but it is His story. We did not die on the cross. We were not buried in a tomb. We did not get up on the third day.
“Jesus is also telling us to wait because there will be some circumstances that you are not prepared for. What you learned in school will not help you,” Bishop Swanson said. “For example, when you go into the hospital to visit the family of a sick loved one, they do not want to hear about Guttmann or Tillich. They want to know if you and Jesus are on speaking terms. They want to know: When you call Jesus’ name, will He listen?
“It is not your ministry,” he stressed. “Surrender the notion of telling folk where you want to go.
“Ministry requires more than what you think it does. The bishop sends, but God calls and will be with you always.”