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Ordination, Hardly Ordinary

Ordination, Hardly Ordinary

Ken Stuart is almost as excited about his ordination as he is St. Patrick’s Day! September 6 will celebrate the culmination of long hours of study, tests, and oral examinations in preparation to be ordained into gospel ministry as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), our denomination. His ordination service will be celebrated on Sunday, September 6 at the 8:30a.m. worship service.

Why pursue ordination now? “When I came to Southwood, I was ‘ordainable’ having completed my seminary training. Part of my hire was for pursuing ordination in my role with Children/Families. The tyranny of the urgent initially won out quickly and the pursuit of ordination was put on the back burner. Self-evaluation of why God called us here, coupled with Jake and Will’s ordination last November, brought things back into focus. January 2009 marked the beginning of a very intentional plan to complete my ordination process by Providence Presbytery’s August 4 meeting. God has been so gracious and patient.”

Ken found he enjoyed Church History as he studied. He states, “The history of Christ’s Church is full of godly men and women whose lives give us great examples to emulate. Our forefathers wrestle through many things of which we are the benefactors.” While reciting the Apostles’ Creed at a recent presbytery meeting, God impressed upon Ken an overwhelming sense of how dynamically huge God’s kingdom is and the vast scope of all the saints past, present and future who were and are a part of what God has done, is doing and will do to advance His kingdom. “Words will not adequately describe how I felt reflecting on my place in God’s big picture of advancing His kingdom, but here it goes. Reciting that ancient creed placed me in a cloud of witnesses that spans the ages and thus, makes me feel very small and insignificant and yet, very affirmed by the Father as part of a plan (His plan) that transcends time, governments or the rise and fall of nations,” Ken reflected.

Ken’s desire is to act upon God’s will for his life. Ken, a giant leprechaun, is drawn towards all things Irish and most things Celtic in general. He wonders whether God would eventually place the Stuarts in Ireland as missionaries. What Ken is certain of—the present and the heart God has given him for ministry to children and their parents. Ken dreams of writing a children’s book and birthing/refining curriculum for children’s Sunday School classes.

Many in the body have helped Ken reach this point. While Karan has kept things going at home, Ken’s time has been spent in his office studying days, nights and weekends. Mike Honeycutt mentored Ken through the process, encouraged him and lovingly, yet firmly, helped him keep his focus. Ken Leggett’s role as iPastor and friend were outward and silent encouragements. “Both he and Mike treated me much like they would one of the pastors even before this process began. Their leading affirmed and helped set my course.” Pam Mayes and Nancy McCreight took many things off Ken’s plate which enabled Ken to give greater attention to study and preparation. Ken Newberry assumed much of the missions responsibilities. The Children’s Committee members, the session, and the other pastors were encouraging, helpful, and affirming.

Being ordained as a teaching elder in Children/Family Ministry is beginning to take place more and more as churches see the importance of ministry to children as something far more than “Sunday child care” and ministry to families as the “God ordained unit” for the primary discipleship of their children. “Our ministry to children is not to supplant their parent’s role in discipleship but to come alongside of them.” Ken’s desire is to make Sundays uniquely endearing to children as they learn of Christ’s love for them, what it means to respond to that love and realize how they have been blessed to be a blessing. Ken is sure that he has just scratched the surface as he walks into a new phase of ministry.

Ken’s ordination service is just around the corner. Family and friends, both biological and spiritual from out of town, will be celebrating Christ together. Joe Novenson, the Sr. Pastor at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Tennessee, is preaching. Ken served there prior to coming to Southwood. Joe is a dear brother in Christ and friend whom God used to help shape Ken personally and in ministry. Join the Stuarts as part of their family on September 6.