It seems to me that the road to ordination has been a long, hilly, winding one... a road that made a profound turn toward something new on June 13th of this year. The road-trip began in the fall of 2000 when I returned from a Men's retreat and began wondering and thinking about a career shift from our family business into ministry as a vocation. What followed was 10 years of navigation through the structures and systems of the United Methodist Church. Academically, I had to finish my Bachelor's degree (2 years), and get my Master of Divinity degree (4 years)... for which I commuted to Kansas City. In 2003, I transitioned out of my job and into full time ministry at East Heights UMC in Wichita, KS.... a church that we began attending in 1991. In 2000, I officially began the United Methodist Candidacy process... Exploring Candidate, Inquiring Candidate, Certified Candidate, Commissioning as a Probationary Elder, and finally, Ordination as an elder in Full Connection... ordained by Bishop Elaine Stanovsky to 'Word ~ Order ~ Sacrament and Service.' Most of the process came with its own unique steps and requirements guided by our local church, a District Committee on Ordained Ministry, and the conference Board of Ordained Ministry... 31 official steps prior to Commissioning and then a handful more between Commissioning and Ordination. The final steps came in late 2009 and early 2010. In the fall of 2009 I went before the Board of Ordained Ministry for two days for preaching, mission and ministry interviews, and oral defense of my written work (a few of my answers to the written work are posted below). Following an on-site visit from Pastors and Lay members from the Board of Ordained Ministry, I was referred to the clergy session of the Annual Conference for a final vote... and then it was off to ordination. As I am writing all of this out, I'm thinking about how clear it is that METHOD is a big part of what it means to be a Methodist. I'm also thinking about how, by my very nature, I am allergic to things of a linear nature. Anyhoo... for some reason, as I survey the landscape of this 10 year road-trip, in my mind, I can't seem to really recall the complex details of the elements of joy, pain1, comfort, distress, discouragement, happiness, pain2, numbness, encouragement, grace, and hope that accompanied the navigation of our Methodical systems and structures... what I can clearly recall, are the many faces and relationships that have paved the way. For those faces... and those relationships, I am thankful... family, friends, foes, colleagues, classmates, professors, committee members, board members, pastors, mentors, and all of the paths I have crossed... I am here because you were there. I am a reflection of the lives of the people who have carried me to this place. Soooo... THANKS!!!