“To all Churches and Christians everywhere:
Greetings! This is to certify that our dearly beloved brother,
Matthew D. Todd
was set apart to the ministry of the gospel of Christ at
Crossroads Christian Church
and is hereby cordially commended everywhere as a
Minister of Christ”
That’s what it says on the certificate that hangs in my office. The certificate that was signed by the elders of my home church ten years ago this past April. It’s the day I was ordained into vocational ministry. It’s a day I’ll never forget.
In addition to the certificate, I was also given another symbol to remind me of the ministry to which I’d been called: a volleyball trophy. During the summer leading into my Freshman year, I attended my first Summer in the Son at Kentucky Christian University (formerly known as Kentucky Christian College…or KCC). That life-changing week at KCC was highlighted by the annual double-elimination youth group volleyball tournament. Our group was large enough to field two teams, and my team was definitely the less-talented group (on paper). We lived up to our hype by losing our first match, sending us to the “Loser’s Bracket.”
But then a remarkable thing happened. We won the next match. Then we won the next match. And we kept on winning. We even beat the other team from our youth group. You know – the one that was much more talented than us (on paper). Next thing we knew, we were in the championship game!
And even though the sun had zapped us of our energy, we continued to play hard and work as a team. And we won the championship!
It was the story of David vs. Goliath. It was the story of a team being greater than the sum of its parts. It was a lesson in perseverence through any trial or tribulation.
Todd, my youth minister, was on that team. And he kept our team’s trophy displayed in his office. On the day he served as the Officiating Minister of my ordination, he presented me with that trophy. And now I proudly display it on my bookshelf.
It serves as a reminder that God can do the impossible through people who make themselves available to Him. It also reminds me that serving in the Church is about teamwork.
The ten years since my ordination have been filled with amazing highs and devastating lows. And I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what I believe have become some of my core values as a pastor. Over the next few days (maybe weeks), I hope to share some of those and how they have shaped me as a pastor.