“But I thought you were already a pastor?” (I was!) That’s a question I have gotten over the years and will certainly hear many more times now that I’ve moved from Deacon to Elder. Let me back up.
This past Saturday, on January 20, 2024, I was ordained as an Elder in the Global Methodist Church. I thought I would briefly describe the change from Deacon to Elder.
A Deacon, in the United Methodist Church, is a fully connected ordained order of ministry. Just as the order of Elder is. However, there are different roles and responsibilities between the two. The Book of Acts teaches us that the Apostles called for Deacons to fill some different roles and responsibilities than they had, so that the people’s needs were met and other ministries could be faithfully carried out. Stephen and Phillip are example of Deacons in the New Testament.
In a previous century, I first started out being ordained a Deacon, on my way to becoming an Elder, as the protocol of the time dictated, only to have God’s calling in my life change as I practiced ministry, and began to discover and better understand my calling and gifts for ministry. (Not to mention the pastoral contexts in which I believe God was blessing those gifts). Thus, I was ordained as a Deacon-in-full-connection and served a local church. I’m grateful to the UMC for ministering to and walking with me during that season.
And so, over the last 2 1/2 decades I have done my best to fulfill that calling and exercise my gifts for ministry. And now, in the Global Methodist Church, I am able to continue to fulfill that calling, as well as exercise my spiritual gifts, in the context of serving as an ordained Elder. There are some particular nuances, roles and responsibilities that could conceivably change for me one day, but they are not necessary changes.
I have prayed for a number of years about this very thing. Might I one day seek to pursue ordination as an Elder? With that as a backdrop, you can better understand why I am so grateful to the Global Methodist Church for allowing me to continue to pursue and explore God’s calling in my life as an ordained Elder. I am also profoundly grateful I am able to continue exercising the gifts God has given me so I may continue serving my local church, Southside Methodist Church.
Who knows what God has in store for any of us? But I do know this: God‘s timing is always right on time. I look forward to pursuing faithful ministry here at Southside and ministering with my church family as we extend God‘s kingdom into all the world and into every sphere of our lives as we seek to follow Christ as his faithful disciples.
Thanks be to God!
Elder Dale Tedder