This afternoon we attended an ordination and induction service at nearby North Bradley Baptist Church, Wiltshire. Ben Midgley, who trained at the London Theological Seminary was set apart to pastor that local church. A service of ordination and induction should be an event. This one certainly was, with a large congregation and an appropriate mixture of joy and seriousness. Ben made a clear profession of faith and solemnly promised to faithfully pastor the flock of God. What a responsibility! What a privilege! Who is sufficient for such things?
The service was ably chaired by Rev. Peter Culver, who was the Church's moderator. Peter also gave the "charge to the church", preaching from Ephesians 4. Pastor Dan Owen from Ben's sending church gave the "charge to the minister", preaching from 1 Thessalonians 2. The preaching was Biblical, alliterative, clear and pointed. Deacons from North Bradley also took part in the service, warmly welcoming their new pastor and telling the story of his call to the church.
Services of ordination and induction take me back to those key events in my life. I was ordained to the Ministry of the Gospel in 1990 at Kensit Evangelical Church, London. The then Principal of London Theological Seminary preached on John 3:16. I still have the tape somewhere. That day was the fulfilment of many years of prayer and preparation for the preaching ministry. What promises I made, what hopes I had.
I also reflected on my induction to the churches I now serve back in November 2003. Andrew Davies preached on Colossians 1:28. I can still recall his booming Welsh voice "HIM [Christ] we preach"! I promised to pray, to care, to evangelise, to study, to be an example of holiness. Who is sufficient for these things?
My fist sermon as Pastor at Penknap was on 1 Samuel 14:6, "Nothing restrains the Lord from saving, by many or be few". In the evening I preached at Ebenezer on Zechariah 4:6 "Not my might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord." We are still few, but there has been one conversion, a few baptisms and several new members. I sense a growth in grace in the congregation. The people love the Word and have a real practical, compassionate concern for one another. There is an increasing desire to reach the lost with the gospel. I must be thankful. But please, Lord save the people, whether by many or by few, not by power or might, but by your Spirit, to the glory of your name.
Pray for Ben and all Ministers of the Gospel.