Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You Too Can Be Called 'Reverend'! by Jim Jackson

I’ve got good news for those of you who would like to become clergy. You can now be ordained online for little effort or money.

Chapelwood’s clergy did it the hard way. They endured a minimum of three and one-half years of graduate education – then at least two years of ministry under supervision before they could be ordained. Along the way there were years of psychological exams to be passed, papers to be written, questions to be answered, approvals to be gained. It’s not easy to be ordained in the United Methodist Church.

And it is expensive. The average candidate for ordination in the Texas Annual Conference has accumulated from $40,000-$90,000 in school debt. And their starting salaries are about $30,000. It is hard to make those numbers work.

How foolish these young clergy are. They could have been ordained by a church like “Church of the Latter Day Dude” (, or the “Universal Life Church Monastery” ( , or the “Church of Spiritual Humanism” (, or the “American Fellowship Church” (, or the “First Nation Church” ( for little or nothing.

Think of it: you can do weddings and funerals – you can even start your own church and be the pastor. What a neat way to earn some extra cash. This gives new meaning to Paul’s reference to “the church in your house.” (Romans 16:5; I Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2)

And what a unique Christmas gift it would be for your family and Friends. Rather than getting them sox, or a book, or a purse, you can wrap up a certificate of ordination and put it under the tree. What a terrific idea for folks who have nearly everything.

But come to think of it, you are already a minister. The New Testament makes this abundantly clear. Your baptism is your ordination. Next time you come to church look closely at the name tag we ask you to wear. It says, “Yes, I Am a Minister

By the way, if you want to be called “Reverend,” I’d be happy to accommodate you. All it requires is acting reverent.

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