Licensing Interview

From a post I wrote on February 5, 2008 after our credentialing interview with the Ohio District of the Assemblies of God–the gory fresh details from back then:

I woke up this morning to the sound of my alarm clock at 7:00 am, wanting to spend a little time in prayer before I started my day. Today I would face the credential screening committee for the Ohio District Council of the Assemblies of God. I was very nervous, and I wanted to prepare my heart and my spirit for what was about to come. Glyphs from my GLMatrix screensaver streamed down like pearls of green raindrops against a black field. My heart was at peace. I prayed a small prayer to the Lord: “Prepare me for this day.” I heard a small voice reply: “Go to sleep. You don’t need to fall asleep during the interview.” It was the voice of my wife. I considered her concern, so I complied.

I woke again a couple hours later, a little more refreshed. I took our baby upstairs to change and feed him. It was a good morning, and I contemplated the events leading up to this point. My family had undergone a long period of financial difficulty, personal rejection from church leaders. I had spent long hours building a network of superintendents, pastors and friends to pave a path for ministry with the Assemblies of God. I had studied, paid fees, passed my test, gained wisdom and advice from my leaders and mentors. I was ready, and I was sure that this would be a slam-dunk interview. I would soon find out that I was wrong.

When we arrived we were escorted to a room and introduced to our interviewers, who asked about us, our story and what God was calling us to do. Both of us shared from our hearts as best as we could, and they asked about the fine details of our work and financial history, and one of the guys wanted to get into the dirt of our bankruptcy. “So how did things ‘fall apart’ as you say?” he asked.

We went into detail as best as we could what happened and explained we had run into some unfortunate circumstances that put more financial strain on us which forced us to seek relief from our debts. One of the gentlemen then asked what God was calling us to do. I said I felt the Lord wanted me to serve as a senior pastor, but I was open to other opportunities. At that point we were excused from the room for a few minutes while they talked in private. We were invited back in and were told with no certain terms that we were wonderful people (here it comes), and we had great hearts (it was worse than I thought), but we needed to be in a place outside of ministry where we could find a couple who could mentor us and help pour into our lives. We were in an unstable situation and they couldn’t in their minds justify conferring credentials upon us.

I sat there with jaw set as they said the bankruptcy was a credibility issue, that those who borrow and do not repay are evil. They also said we were emotionally unstable, and we needed someone to mentor us in the area of life. They said we needed to have a more substantial network within the Ohio District of the Assemblies of God, and references provided from people I submitted were insufficient.

It’s all a blur right now and I can hardly think. I’m hurt and angry, and am considering leaving the A/G again, but this time for good. I don’t really know what to do. I am confused.

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