‘Brilliant morning @OakHillLondon. They really know how to put on a free lunch. Great hearing from people who love being Anglican!’
So said one person on Twitter who was among the 34 guests attending the ‘Why get ordained in the Church of England?’ event on Saturday 18 February.
The idea behind the mini-conference was not so much to promote training as an ordinand at Oak Hill, but to take one step back, and to ask whether it is worth training for ordained ministry at all. After all, as one of the speakers, Rev Mark Pickles, put it: ‘Isn’t the church in decline both numerically and in terms of its influence? … Isn’t it compromised? … Why would you bother?’
In view of all of the challenges facing those ministering in the Church of England, both Bishop Rod Thomas and Mark Pickles persuaded us that there are plenty of reasons to stick with it. Not only does the Church of England provide wonderful gospel opportunities both locally and nationally, its heritage is unquestionably reformed and evangelical. As a memento of this, each attendee went home with a copy of the 39 Articles!
Of course, it is also costly. Ordained ministry means serving as under-shepherds of Christ’s flock. For those exploring ordination today, this might require stepping into Jeremiah-shaped roles involving conflict, opposition, and struggle.
So why get ordained in the Church of England? Because, as we were reminded on Saturday, the church needs ‘many more gospel-hearted, biblically faithful ministers who are prepared to give themselves in the service of Christ, for the building up of his church, and for the evangelisation of our nation.’
Jake Eggertsen is an ordinand at Oak Hill College