Title

A calling confirmed : exploring the spiritual impact of ordination in the United Methodist Church.

Date of Award

5-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

School

Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Abstract

The meaning and spiritual impact of participation in and attendance at the ordination service of others are evaluated as a means of renewing an individual's own commitment to ministry. The purpose of the study is to ascertain whether the ordination service and spiritual preparation for that service could be used by an annual conference or other judicatory as an instrument of personal renewal and revitalization of ministry commitment. The biblical foundation and history of ordination are reviewed in order to identify themes and images that might be helpful in constructing an ordination service and devotional preparation that would inspire those already ordained or licensed for ministry. Questionnaires and interviews were utilized in the project to further explore experiences of an individual's ordination that were especially meaningful and that could motivate a recommitment to ministry. Based on the research, a series of daily devotionals was prepared leading up to the day of ordination. These devotionals address issues highlighted in the questionnaires and interviews, utilizing images from those resources to explore the meaning of ordination and its potential as a source of inspiration for future ministry. The denominational ordinal was also adapted in light of the interviews and questionnaires to provide an experience at the worship service that could reignite the passion for ministry that first leads many into the field as professional clergy. The evaluation of the impact of the devotional materials and the ordination service indicates that attendees and participants experienced a heightened awareness of the meaning of ordination, and found inspiration in the event in ways that had not been the case in past services attended. The results suggest that the ordination service, when carefully constructed and preceded by appropriate preparatory materials, can be a source of inspiration and renewal for those already engaged in professional ministry as ordained or licensed clergy.