ST. PETERSBURG –Hundreds assembled to witness the ordination of Minister Michael Butler, Minister Watson Haynes and Prophet Anthony King. Years ago these men answered the calling and became ministers of the gospel, and last Sunday they were officially elevated to reverends in an ordination ceremony held at The Rock of Jesus Missionary Baptist Church.
“When you look at what’s happening in our society at this time, we need more preachers,” said Rev. Frank Peterman, Jr., senior pastor of The Rock of Jesus. “I know folks say it is enough churches, but I beg to differ. I don’t think we have enough; I think we need more.”
Rev. Peterman explained that once a person is ordinated, they have reached a higher level in the ministry. Once Holy orders have been conferred upon a minister, they are given extra rights and privileges in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“You are able to perform the Last Supper, baptisms, weddings and funerals. They have reached a higher destination,” he said.
Saturday, July 9, an examining council convened for the purpose of questioning the candidates being considered for ordination. The Catechism Council, which consisted of Rev. Dr. John Evans (Friendship Missionary Baptist Church), Elder Earl Mills (New Congregational Church of God), Rev. Manuel Sykes (Bethel Community Baptist Church) and Rev. William Mark Green (Traveler’s Rest Missionary Baptist Church), asked a total of 25 questions to each candidate.
Based on the response to each question, the candidates were graded upon their knowledge, depth, basic articulation and ability to recover under pressure of examination. Butler received a score of 95 percent, Haynes scored 97 percent and King received 80 percent.
The Catechism Council gave full support to each candidate, and collectively recommended they grow their connection with their pastor, grow in their calling and ground themselves in their local ministry.
The council also recommended that Butler, Haynes and King be ordained Sunday, July 10 by Rev. Peterman into the gospel ministry. However, before the candidates were declared reverends, Rev. Evans gave a rousing ordination sermon that outlined their work in the ministry.
“The next level is to become a pastor of a congregation. Just because you are a reverend, it doesn’t mean you are ordained to be a pastor,” said Rev. Evans, who explained that some reverends cannot handle the people and deal with the pressures that come with pastoral ministry.
He warned against having a competitive spirit.
“We’re not competing, we are companions. The Apostle Paul said we are laborers together. Each one of us has our own style of preaching; however, all of it should be to the glory and honor of God,” he preached.
Instead of rivalries, Rev. Evans told the candidates that they must encourage one another, giving the example of Apostle Paul and Timothy.
Paul knew that Timothy would need strength and endurance to fulfill the calling God gave him, so he encouraged him to stay until the job was finished.
“I know you want a mega church, but stay where I assigned you. I know you want to be on television like TD Jakes, but stay where you are until the assignment is finished,” Rev. Evans told the candidates.
Citing statistics, Rev. Evans said about 1,500 pastors step down from their post every month.
“The preacher cannot relinquish his responsibility because there are naysayers; the preacher cannot stop preaching because there are stumbling blocks; the preacher can’t throw in the towel because the choir won’t sing the right songs,” he admonished.
He advised each candidate that to be counted faithful in the service of God, they must keep a good conscience and serve with a pure heart. Make sure the ultimate goal of your preaching is the salvation of Jesus Christ, he said.
“Serve Him faithfully. Give God your best service, if nobody says thank you or shake your hand, you keep preaching and serving,” stated Rev. Evans.
He charged the candidates to carry out the ministry of Jesus Christ regardless of consequences or the circumstances in this community and beyond. He ordered them to be great keepers of the faith.
After the Declaration of Ordination, the laying on of hands, anointing oil and prayer, the three candidates were officially Rev. Butler, Rev. Haynes and Rev. King.
Among the hundreds of family members and friends who packed into the church to watch the ceremony was St. Petersburg College President William Law, School Board member Rene Flowers, Representatives Darryl Rouson, Ed Narain and Dwight Dudley and District 70 candidate Wengay Newton.