6 years ago the thought of being ordained couldn’t have been further from my mind. I was a soldier posted in Iraq and wouldn’t have classed myself as a Christian. My life through a series of different events had spiralled out of control. I’d hit rock bottom and feeling I had nowhere else to turn decided to shout out to God whist on a helicopter in the way to the Iranian border. To my immense surprise God turned up and I felt his presence in such an almighty and powerful way I could no longer deny the truth and knew he was real. The call to ordination happened almost straight after my conversion. It was like a faint thought in the back of my head, which I labelled instantly as ridiculous, because my experience of church was extremely limited.
Two years later I left the army and joined a Christian community, but the thought of ordination still niggled in my brain, in fact over the next two years it became more and more persistent, up until the point where I spent the night praying, overwhelmed with the need to know the answer. That morning the leader of the community came up and told me that he thought I should be ordained.
So I went ahead exploring the ordination process, but I still wrestled with the idea. On the one hand the more I tried experiencing different areas of ministry the more I felt like this was right. I felt like I was flourishing and more fully alive. But the idea of being a vicar was (and still is!) sometimes too overwhelming. I’ve shouted my doubts to God on many an occasion and He has graciously always answered me through scripture jumping out, people with words of encouragement and prophesy and a multitude of other ways.
One of the reasons why I thought that I could never be ordained was because I lacked qualifications and being at theological college can seem quite intimidating as the majority of people appear to be extremely intelligent. I think that one of the biggest things that I have had to learn whilst studying is to learn to accept myself and not being a natural academic is part of that. We each have a different calling and I’m certain that those that are gifted in studying will be able to go on and do immense things for God with that. My calling is a different one to theirs but I hope and pray that God will be able to use all of my gifting’s and past experiences for his glory.
I may not be able to get the highest grades, but I do still find studying theology a humungous privilege. It is incredible to be able to devote three years of your life to go deeper into looking into God and the church. You’re taught by people who have devoted their time to study and have incredible insights. Some of my most rewarding times studying though has been being attached to my placement church. It has been wonderful to be able to have the balance of theoretical learning and also doing something hands on and journeying with a brilliant congregation.