The Lord Jesus calls men individually to do a job for Him and equips them to do it (Jn. 15:16; Eph. 4:11,12). Ordination is seen as an approval of that man for the work of the ministry in whatever capacity God places him. The laying on of hands occurs at ordination (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 4:14) following the ancient custom of “passing on” or “transferring” authority (Deut. 34:9). Guilt was also “transferred” in this way (Lev. 1:4; 4:15; etc.). Paul saw the ordination of Timothy as the giving of a gift that needed to be exercised and stirred up for the work of the Lord (2 Tim. 1:6). Ordination, therefore, is a very serious matter. It should not be done hastily. Paul warns not to make this transfer too quickly (1 Tim. 5:22); the man being ordained should first be proved as to spiritual qualifications, traits of character and behavior, and levels of knowledge and experience (1 Tim. 3:1-10).
The Lord called me to the work of the ministry on March 21, 1999; it would be nine years before He would direct me specifically and I would yield to the mission field of Italy. The past nine years have been a time of spiritual growth where I have spent much time studying the Bible and serving the Lord as a 4th grade Sunday School teacher, deacon, youth pastor, Adult Sunday School teacher, and participating in various soul winning and preaching ministries. On December 14, 2008 I was ordained by the authority of my home church, Cornerstone Baptist Temple.
The evening was a special one; including the questioning from the ordination counsel and men of the church as well as the time of prayer before the service. It was special to experience the evening with Sandy, my parents, my two brothers and their families. I was touched by the singing of Leah Sandlin (My Jesus I Love Thee) and Preacher (Will I Wish I Had Given Him All?). It was humbling to see and hear the support of our church family throughout the evening. I was challenged by the great preaching from Bro. Mike and Bro. Steve as well as the charge preached by Uncle Roger. I was also moved by the love of Christ shown by Terry and Karen Terrell as they prepared and served the food for the small reception after the service.
The evening was replete with emotions and memories. It would be difficult for me to comment fully on all that I experienced and everyone that has had a part in my life and spiritual walk. I would, however, like to share some thoughts about each of the men that were on my ordination counsel, spoke at the ordination, and who have influenced my life in some way.
Rev. Mike Elliott is pastor of Anchor Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio. I met Bro. Mike not long after we became members of Cornerstone in 2002; at that time he was a member of Cornerstone. As iron sharpens iron, Bro. Mike has been the main person I have consulted with on various questions of a biblical nature – he knows the Book. After I stepped down as youth pastor, Preacher asked if I would teach a Sunday School class with Bro. Mike called the Faith Builders. It was through the Faith Builders that I really got to know him well. Bro. Mike could easily be called “the weeping prophet.” Usually when he starts talking about the Lord, he breaks down and cries – he certainly isn’t a weak man, but his love for the Lord is apparent and moves him greatly. He also has great joy of the Lord. I broke down as I “preached” my testimony during the service, and I could hear Bro. Mike laughing every time my voice faltered. He wasn’t laughing at me but rather it was a laugh from his rejoicing in the Lord – I felt like he was saying, “He moves me like that too brother.” One thing that has always impressed me with Bro. Mike is his “conversations” with the Lord. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard him say something like, “The Lord told me” this or that and then he’d say, “I told the Lord,” etc. Obviously, the Lord doesn’t speak audibly to him but Bro. Mike is sensitive to the impressions from the Spirit as the Holy Spirit bears witness to his spirit. May I have the tenderness towards the Lord and His Book of a Mike Elliott.
Rev. Steve Brogden is a veteran missionary to Papua New Guinea (PNG). Bro. Steve returned from PNG several years ago to get his three daughters established in the United States. The Lord dealt with him after some time about returning to PNG as a missionary. A few years ago, Bro. Steve and his wife Cindy moved to Dayton from North Carolina to be sent out as missionaries from Cornerstone. I knew I liked Bro. Steve the first time I spoke with him. I’m not sure what it was but I felt like he was a kindred spirit. Bro. Steve preached a message on faith from Ezekiel 47:1-5 during our mission conference in 2007 – it moved Sandy and me deeply. After his message we went forward and I yielded to go wherever the Lord would have me serve Him. Looking back to 1999 when I first surrendered to the work of the ministry at Grace Baptist, I believe it was a partial surrender; I did not consider world missions at the time. In 2007, it was as if the Lord said, “I don’t want part of you, I want all of you.” Even though I yielded to go where God would send me, I still wrestled with God trying to distinguish His will from my own. Over the next year, I spoke often with Bro. Steve about the life of a missionary and the call to the foreign field. Bro. Steve always possessed a quiet confidence in the Lord’s call to PNG. I probably got on his nerves asking him repetitively how he knew God called him to PNG. He always responded with a smile and in that gravely voice he’d say, “I just knew brother” – in June 2008 the Lord finally gave me peace about Italy and I can say with complete confidence, “The Lord called me to preach the gospel in Italy. I just know brother.” May I have the steadfastness and faithfulness towards the Lord of a Steve Brogden.
Dr. Roger Green is pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Middletown, Ohio and he is my uncle (my mother’s brother). When Uncle Roger moved to Middletown from Sandusky to pastor Grace, I spent at least two nights a month at their house hanging out with my cousins from 1991 till when I got married in 1999. His boys usually slept in later than I did; so I always enjoyed breakfast with Uncle Roger and Aunt Brenda. Uncle Roger has always been a good story teller. I enjoyed listening to him talk about his childhood on the farm, my grandparents, and of course the ministry, among other things. There were great stories about his time in Ireland with Ian Paisley or praying with Hyman Appleman. I enjoyed listening to stories from his travels around the world; about eating food that I would never touch, difficult sleeping conditions to say the least, and the spiritual fervency and spiritual need among some of the poorest cultures in the world. I remember in my early 20’s marveling at the liberty he had while preaching; it seemed that he never looked at his notes. Uncle Roger baptized me at Grace when I was 18. He sat with me in his dining room and explained from an open Bible the doctrine of eternal security. He provided pre-marriage counseling to Sandy and me before he married us on August 14, 1999. He is well-loved as a pastor and truly has the gift of overseeing the flock. It was at Grace Baptist that I yielded to God’s call for the work of the ministry in March of 1999. I remember as the card was handed to Uncle Roger in the pulpit announcing my decision, he said, “This decision really doesn’t come as a surprise to me; but my nephew, Stetson Planck, has come today and he has surrendered to the call of God to preach the word of God.” May I have the power to preach and the wisdom in pastoring of a Roger Green.
Dr. Jerry Siler (Preacher) is our pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Temple in Dayton, Ohio. Preacher has built a ministry on compassion and love for others. He has demonstrated this familial love to my family on countless occasions. When I stepped down as youth pastor, he continued to allow me to fill his pulpit on occasion as well as encourage me to teach the Faith Builders Sunday School class, which turned out to be one of the greatest spiritual blessings of my life. Preacher is the most selfless man I’ve met. Sandy had a very grievous and difficult time while in labor with Isaiah; I remember she asked me to call Preacher so that he could be praying for her at home. We did not expect it, but at midnight he arrived at the hospital to pray. Preacher had never met Sandy’s grandfather and yet when he passed away, Preacher drove 45 minutes to the funeral home. He did the same when my grandmother died. I had an unexpected trip to the hospital last year and Preacher visited me in the emergency room. I have sat countless times in his office and have witnessed him moved to tears as he tells of another’s problems or burdens. There are so many people that could testify of his generosity, his love for others, and his selfless desire to see others succeed. He made sure my ordination service was a special evening and he left me with a lasting impression… Just as our Lord “took a towel and girded himself” to serve the disciples (Jn. 13), at the end of the evening after the ordination service when the private reception was over, it was Preacher that donned an apron and was cleaning the tables as we left. He doesn’t serve for recognition or attention; he serves for the benefit of others. May I have the compassion and love of a Jerry Siler, the kind of love that is declared in his life verse…
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” – 1 John 3:16