Baby Bishops: Aye or Nay?

July 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Rev. Dony K. Donev, D.Min.

A lot was said about ordaining younger ministers around the 2012 Assembly. The proposed Item 25, properly numbered recommending lowering the age requirement to 25 years, did not pass. Naturally, discussions stopped perhaps in wait for the next Assembly. But the question still stands open before our church.

My personal opinion was like many others on the floor. If we had to wait, they should have to wait too. But this self-centered conviction changed suddenly as we were invited to preach at the Higher Praise church in Cherry Log, GA pastored by Rev. Stephen D. Henderson (age 28 at the time).

This goes against every organizational rule we have, because when an active pastor is not allowed to vote in business sessions, the congregation he pastors is left voiceless. Alas, all business carried at the assembly affects the said church, which basically has no representation in General Council. So if a church pays for its young pastor to be sent to Assembly and represent the congregation, but without the right to vote this representation does not amount to much in the end. There is something fundamentally wrong with this.

The argument of age is of course connected with one’s experience. But let’s face it, multitudes of pastors leave the ministry for one reason or another having already gained both age and experience. And unfortunately, so many of them leave exactly because of the experience they have had aging within the church. Actually in today’s world, if you have not gained enough life experience and if you don’t know yourself by age 25, you will most probably not gain what’s needed by age 30.

Therefore, if a man is appointed a pastor of a church by consideration and approval of the Administrative Bishop, he should be allowed to vote. If he is trusted enough to take care of the church’s spiritual life and business, surely he must be trusted to represent his congregation and vote toward its betterment as a part of the whole organization. Not doing so is not simply discriminative against the minister on the basis of age, but against the church he leads as well. And yes, this argument goes further to support women who have been entrusted and appointed to serve as church pastors as well.