Joshua, a recent seminary graduate, is a candidate preparing for ordination. He has completed his ordination exams and is approved by the presbytery to seek a call. He and his wife, Marissa, own a small coffeeshop, a business Marissa started during Joshua’s seminary years. With missional zeal, Joshua gathers a group of about 20 young adults weekly for Bible study on Thursday nights after the coffeehouse closes. The presbytery is aware of this ministry, but it has neither officially endorsed the program nor committed financial support. The group collects weekly donations (typically about $50 per week), used to cover the costs of coffee and Bible study materials.
Joshua approaches the Committee on Preparation for Ministry with the proposal that he be ordained to lead this emerging ministry. Several participants plan to marry and have asked Joshua about conducting the services. Ordination would allow him to officiate at weddings and generate ministry-related income. Joshua has learned also that with ordination and ministry-related income, he would qualify to secure medical coverage through the Board of Pensions.
Several members of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry are reluctant to ordain someone to a position the presbytery cannot fund for a ministry that is not yet officially established. Others in the presbytery argue that innovative and entrepreneurial forms of evangelism are needed.
How would you respond to Joshua’s request? What benefits would he be eligible for through the Board of Pensions?
For more than 30 years, Debbie has served as a pastor and on mid council staffs. She wants now to engage in new, cutting-edge ministries of consultation and spiritual direction for both individuals and organizations. Debbie is boldly adventurous and sees herself as self-employed in this new ministry. She does not know how many contracts she will generate in the first year of operation. At the outset, at least, she will not have a set salary and is not sure what level of income she will secure. She has set aside savings to help her launch the venture. She is married and her husband is supportive of her new sense of call. Indeed, his mature and stable professional status affords a level of security as Debbie explores and develops new forms of ministry.
Debbie approaches the Committee on Ministry and requests validation of this ministry in which she will be self-employed and will set up an advisory board including members of the presbytery. She also wants to explore the availability of benefits with the Board of Pensions.
How would you respond to Debbie’s request? What benefits would she be eligible for through the Board of Pensions?