The Mailbox Minefield

"What do you mean when you say you're an 'unordained professional?'" I was asked the other day.
"It means I serve in youth ministry, but I haven't been to seminary (except for a certification school) and can't do some of the things pastors do, like serving the Sacraments."
"But someday you'll be ordained? I mean, you're on your way there, right?"

I'm losing control of my grimace at this point. Youth ministry is my real job. Working in parishes, and teaching and speaking about youth ministry is where I believe my career is going to be. That's been the understanding so far between me and God and the Scriptures. I am not on a ministry stairway just trying to make the "next step" toward being a "real minister."

I've heard arguments on both sides of the ordained/unordained debate-- my old youth minister told me that being a layperson in youth ministry is better because when problem situations begin, there's a pastor above me to kick the problem to. A seminarian I met in Green Bay, WI, explained that she wanted to be ordained so that her youth program could run the way she wanted it to, without extra authority up above her to step on the plans.

Just the other day, I did discover a reason to become a pastor-- so I can comfortably say no when other ordained people ask me to add things to my calendar. And seminaries must be keeping an eye on people like me, because not two days after I said that, the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia sent me a letter that began "We want to thank you for your interest..."

The rule in my family is that if you get a mailing or a phone call announcing you've won something, go along with it. My grandfather loves to enter contests, and frequently our names will end up in the drawings as well. I do hope a trip to seminary isn't one of those.

But my grandmother always said I would end up a pastor, and now that she's enjoying eternal rest in Heaven, maybe she's also discovered that up there, she has a little more power to make her predictions come true.


Anonymous said...

hooray for staying strong and continuing to dodge the collar.

I'm still trying to figure out my call and all that. it looks like it's not to teaching these days, which is surprising and awkward.

Esther said...

LOL! I like the point about having the ability to tell pastors no about adding things to your schedule. I guess we really don't know if you'll ever be ordained. However, I think you're on the right track to where you're going whether you get ordained or not.