I am in the process of ordination in the UMC. Here is my autobiographical statement which is required to apply. I had fun writing it. It could use some more work but its due tomorrow, so it will do. Not sure why I feel compelled to post it, but here it is:
In the space below, write an autobiographical statement regarding your Christian experience, call to ministry, formative Christian experiences, and plans for service in the Church. (You may single space this statement but use Times New Roman 12 point font.). Please keep this to one page.
The metaphor of a journey seems like an appropriate way to describe my Christian experience. Typically on journeys, milestones mark the path as reminders of significant places along the journey. Looking back at my journey, several such milestones readily come to mind.
First, and probably a fitting start for my journey, is baptism. I was baptized around the age of 5 in a Presbyterian church in Lynchburg, VA. While this particular event did not appear to have significance at the time, I treasure the memory of it. Reflecting on my journey it is a humbling experience to see how God is fulfilling his part of the baptismal covenant. Unfortunately, my parents were not practicing Christians, so I have very few memories of a faith community growing up; an occasional service here and there, but nothing consistent. I had very little contact with any religious organization until high school. (So much for the other side of the covenant!)
Which leads to a second significant milestone. My freshman year of high school, I became a Christian through the ministry of a para-church organization that reaches out to high school students. This is the point when I became aware of my journey. Ever since then, I have been attempting to follow Jesus; sometimes well, sometimes poorly.
Both those markers are significant in that they are about starting the journey. Some markers further along the journey are about becoming more aware and intentional about following Jesus.
For instance I will never forget the inner-tension I experienced as I grappled with a call to service during a Harvest of Hope mission trip before my senior year in high school. Likewise, I vividly remember a United Methodist pastor explaining grace to me; a significant shift in my understanding and practice of the Christian faith.
Finally, I can never forget (no matter how much I want to some days) the milestone of the still, small voice that calls me to ordained ministry. This marker seems to move. Sometimes it seems to be out in front – leading me on the journey towards the marker of ordination. Other times it seems to behind me pushing me on into the unknown.
All of these milestones are a part of my Christian formation. They shape who I am today and who God is molding me to be. I am thankful for the journey and the reminders along the way of God’s activity in my life and in the world.