NEC Ordination Service
8th November 2018
Sabbath 27 October may have recorded that autumn had well and truly arrived but members of many Seventh-day Adventist churches travelled from around the country to Leicester for the ordination of three men as fully fledged, well-seasoned and well-trained young pastors.
Leicester Central Seventh-day Adventist church in October has the potential to be cold but a house filled to capacity brought warmth and a strong family atmosphere to the East Midlands. The three candidates, Isaac Amofa, Samuel Gardner and Jonathan Holder were supported by pastor friends, relatives and members from the churches they served around the North England Conference (NEC).
The scene set by Pastor Dan Majaducon was that our gathering, while formal, family focussed and very sober was also a time of worship. An ordination, according to NEC President Pastor Richard Jackson is, "a confirmation of leadership and the recognition of the spiritual gifts God bestows on men He has called." That call as defined by Pastor George Kumi, who co-ordinated the service as NEC Ministerial Association director, stated that God's call is given by God to pastors and their families to serve and equip congregations to serve a world in need. That is a cause for worship.
The three candidates were introduced by their pastoral mentors. Isaac Amofa, according to Pastor Fred Mapp, specialises in friendship evangelism. Coming to the NEC from the South England Conference but hailing originally from Ghana, has developed a team around him that has grown the Piccadilly church from a handful of original members to over 190 in a few short years.
Sam Gardner was introduced by Pastor Paul Liburd as 'genuinely willing' and 'keen and excited to work'. While resisting God's call to pastoral ministry the congregation heard of a continuing commitment to serve God and His people that eventually saw a computer student head down to Newbold to commence pastoral studies. Afraid that his protégé might lose his fire Pastor Liburd sought to be sure that Newbold had not stifled 'the fire in his belly'. The assurance came that Newbold College had added competence to the fire. Now serving in the Leeds district of churches Pastor Sam had seen much church growth.
Jonathan Holder, introduced by Pastor Patrick Herbert, is a son of the NEC. He came to the ordination with his wife of 27 days, Mrs Sophie Holder. The son of Pastor Orlando Holder, Jonathan was described as a man who goes where God sends him 'even though there seems no road at all'. His desire is always to serve as 'God's man in the ministry of the gospel'. The reminder from the Old Testament by Pastor Herbert, that a newly married man should be spared a year's service as a soldier was met with the rebuttal from the NEC President that in the Bible a year represents a day and the subsequent happy congregational laughter illustrates the warm family nature of the whole service.
British Union Conference President Pastor Ian Sweeney's address to the ordinands under the heading, 'You really haven't got what it takes' was a close examination of Mark 14 where Jesus' disciples failed to cast out a demon. The congregation and the called men were reminded that growth in competence naturally comes through failure under the guidance of God. The Lord, we were told, may indeed humble our self-importance because ministry 'isn't about us'. The advice then was for each man to 'empty himself' and be allowed to be filled with the power of God. The ordinands were reminded that they were to go back to their congregations and be able to say, 'Follow me, even as I follow Christ'.
The ordination prayer was led by Pastor Patrick Johnson, Trans-European Division Ministerial Association director, who called for the men to be, "first and foremost followers of God, to be shepherds of the flock and to be under-shepherds of God."
The three men, Pastor Amofa, Pastor Gardner and Pastor Holder were then welcomed as newly ordained pastors in the NEC. Pastor Holder expressed his gratitude to God, saying "in this service I saw an opportunity for God to reaffirm His call to me to continue to serve God." Pastor Amofa was, excited at God's call to him as a pastor set to do God's will. A more formal response was given by Pastor Gardner in his short and meaningful address which thrilled and encouraged NEC Communication director Lungani Sibanda. "Woe to me if I don't preach the gospel" was Pastor Sam's call on behalf of himself and his two colleagues. He continued, "God has done the unthinkable in taking us as men of clay to use us as His ministers under His calling."
The whole congregation were reminded that these men are entitled to expect the support of members in ministry and they are entitled to expect the support and guidance from their leaders at the Conference, Union and Division.
Then we heard the pledge, "We will preach in good times and in bad times…no matter how bad things will get we will always preach at God's call."
So closed an excellent ordination with friends, family, colleagues and leaders congregating together and offering congratulations to the newly ordained pastors.