I don’t remember the exact date of my ordination, but I do remember when I decided to devote my life to full-time ministry. It was June 4, 1998, at Sunset Bible Camp. (Holla!) Anyhow, at my ordination years later I made a set of promises to those in attendance. Since I just celebrated another June 4 anniversary, I figured I’d share them. If I ever break any of these, tell me! 🙂

I promise to die to self and seek the glory of God in all that I think, say and do, giving no regard for my own status or recognition, embodying the words of Jesus himself: “Not to be served, but to serve.”

I promise to never stop meditating on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, so that my living and teaching of the Christian life will be based on who he actually was and is.

I promise to pursue a life of character, modeling Jesus’ intimacy with and obedience to God, seeking to embody the virtues of faith and hope, love and joy, peace and gentleness, patience and generosity, humility and discipline.

I promise to regularly engage in practices that will create space for the Holy Spirit to work in my life so that I might grow as a holy and faithful man and minister of the gospel.

I promise to always critique my own assumptions—theological, philosophical, and pastoral—so that my care for individuals and communities will be based as closely as possible on truth.

I promise to always tell the truth with courage and grace, neither ignoring truth’s difficult demands nor overlooking its promise of hopefulness for the world and the people in it.

I promise to labor for justice and peace, caring for and defending those who cannot care for or defend themselves, always modeling the nonviolent but powerful love that was displayed in Jesus’ death on the cross.

I promise to imitate the attitude of the Apostle Paul, considering my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying, in both word and deed, to the good news that God has acted to save and transform the world.