As of a week ago, I completed a year and a half long process. When I was hired here in September of ’06, I was actually hired as an intern with one stipend for becoming a Director. That stipend was that I would have to pass the licensure exam. And within Grace Brethren circles, this is an exam where the pastors from the area get together and ask whoever’s taking the exam any question they want about God, salvation, The Bible, End Times, whatever. Then, that person is expected to not just give an answer or thought, but back it up with the Book.
So for the last year and a half, I’ve been meeting with a pastor in our church once a week for an hour and working on my knowledge of Scripture and my ability to move around within it. And honestly, when I started, I had kind of an attitude. I felt like I should be allowed to be the Director based on the fact that I had a PE degree. Yes…………it was a pride issue. You read into that correctly.
But after awhile, I began to put meat on the things that I always thought I knew growing up. Is Jesus God? What did Christ’s death on the cross do for us in terms of salvation? What does a Christian look like? What is the mission of the Church? These are all things that I probably could have made up a good enough answer to fool the average listener, but every answer would have started with two dangerous words, “I think….”
This process was officially “over” last Monday when after about 2 hrs. of asking questions and deliberating, they decided to pass me (it must have been the tie). But they challenged me in there and said that this should be the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of learning and a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. It was a very humbling experience to sit in that room and be tested by those guys (some of them were men that I work with every day) and meant a lot to here them say, “Great job” (#2 Love Language – Words of Affirmation).
So I guess I’m qualified to be a Jr. High pastor. I still feel incredibly inadequate. I feel intimidated by them and their inquiring minds. BUT, because of the confidence that the men and women around me have in me, and the realization that students NEED to have a relationship with Jesus if they’re going to make it, it’s become my prayer that they don’t fall in love with me, my staff, my programs, or even my preaching (haha, yeah right). But that they fall in love with Jesus and His Word, because these are the things that are going to last. And that can only happen as I’m being challenged daily to be in the Word. And through this licensure process, it’s opened my eyes to the wonders of Scripture, and all that I still have to learn.