I am a pastor in the United Methodist Church and how we become pastors is way different than in other denominations. After seminary I was “commissioned.” If you don’t know what that means…well, you are in good company: join those of us in the United Methodist ministry process. It is usually defined by what it isn’t. What we know is that commissioning gives us the authority of pastors, but it is not ordination. Two years after being commissioned can then come ordination. In our system, that gives a pastor “tenure,” you could say.
Okay, I share all of that in order to explain that I am commissioned as a pastor in the church, currently, and next year I hope to be ordained. Before being ordained, though, a pastor is required to go through Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in order to hone pastoral care skills.
I have just concluded my chaplaincy internship at BroMenn Regional Medical Center. It was twelve weeks that was intense. It was emotionally intense as the process forced us to delve into our pasts and innermost feelings. It was also intense because I was burning the candle at both ends and exhausted as I tried to be in two places at once: church and hospital.
I hope that as I come come through this week I can begin feeling “caught up” and “back-on-track.” Rather than an intense feeling of disorganization and chaos, I hope that my focus and commitment to ministry is the part of my life where I will experience intensity. So that is the course I am on now as I look back on CPE and look forward to full-time and fully focused church ministry!
The above video was produced by Scott Carnes, April 2013.