Ordainment of Craig Burford at Wells Baptist Church

April 17, 2021 – Wells Baptist Church

 

Ordination Council Examination

A council of pastors was gathered to conduct the ordination examination of Craig Burford to take the pastor position long term of Wells Baptist Church. The council consisted of Dave Lewis, Don Edwards, Theodore Kern, Jim Ballard, Robin Stork, Jessica Riley, Jim Disbro, and Sam Crouch.

Jim Disbro moderated the meeting and Jessica Riley sat in as clerk.

Robin brought the examination to order and opened in prayer. Robin then asked Craig to share his testimony.

“I grew up in church, as a young adult I began to drift away from the church. Changes were being made to modernize the church and it did not sit well with me. I went away to college, no longer attending church and living in sin for the better part of a decade. One day a realization came to me. This lifestyle that I am living is slowly killing me. I needed to make some changes in my life. Many of the people I grew up with, from the same church, were choosing different religious paths, one went Baptist, one an atheist, one a Muslim and one is a monk. What was I going to do? I attended several different churches. None really felt right. I knew there were some bible translations that I like and some that I did not like. I told myself I needed to figure out once and for all if I was a Christian or not. I got ahold of a King James bible, I started in Genesis 1 and ended in Revelation 22. I knew that this God is the God I want. This God is amazing. I fell in love with scripture and the Bible. The whole works. Then I tried to find a church that would look at it the same way. It does not matter how I feel or what I think, this was right. I wanted it looked at in that respect with a lot of reference from the word of God. And that was hard to find. I visited many different churches and just found disappointment after disappointment. And one day Ashley had her husband call me, to tell me that they had found my new church. I was about to give up. Id been to double digit numbers of churches, but I would give this last one a try. They assured me that Twin Lakes Baptist church in Las Vegas Nevada of the southern Nevada convention was going to be my new church. I had doubts but I was going to try. Has any of you met Norman Lourenco, Stormin Norman they called him. Brother Rodgers was his assistant pastor. I had never found a church where they embraced the word of God. It was amazing and I loved it. I would not say I was saved at this time though. You have met people that like church and they like the bible. Its Christian stuff, its good. That is not the same as being a servant of the Lord. One day listening to a sermon, I can remember my exact location. I was in the third pew back leaning against a pillar. I do not remember the exact context of the sermon, but the message was that it was absolute foolish and absolute stupid to go through this life and not know you were saved. This message was like lightening striking me. I just sat there was thinking “Do you know what you are saying pastor? In order to be saved your name must be in the book of life and the book of life is in the throne room in heaven. You had to approach Him to do that.” I checked out of that sermon and had a chat with the Lord. Asked Him if he would be willing to save someone like me? Would he be glorified by it? Who here knows the song Leaning on the Everlasting Arms? I have lived it; it is a true story. Not being pastor yet, but I have lived it. I want that same God every day.”

Robin turned the meeting over to moderator Jim Disbro to open for questions. All council members can ask Craig questions to help them decide of Craig will be ordained into Wells Baptist Church.

David Lewis: When did you feel called to pastoring?

I was at shepherd’s conference in 2019. It was a very strange thing. In my eye I was a lowly Sunday school teacher. It was a blessing to get the chance to be there. After getting saved I was asked do want to sing solos in choir. I was shocked but tried it. It was fun. They asked if id do it again. Yeah, I will do that again. Same scenario with being usher, and every position they asked about. I was always thinking “Are you sure you want me to do that?” I got invited to Shepherd’s conference 2019. Pastors are treated like royalty. It began to bother me immediately when I got there, Pastors can be treated like royalty. Not me. It was not okay to hand me free food and free books. This is pastors, servants of the lord, elders, people more important than me. I basically had a melt down at the conference. Pastor Mark Morn helped me. I confided that I felt I should not be here. He told me I would not be here if it was not for a purpose. There was a couple more day of the conference and I got to meet a lot of great people.

On the way home from Vegas to Elko I had a medical episode. I have a condition where my esophagus will squeeze shut on food and wont release or pass the object down my throat. At this point it has been 2 days with this feeling in my throat. I stopped in Alamo Nevada and took a walk. I talked with God. I had been resisting Him my whole life. You sent me to a church to teach me things and I resisted, gave me a job to do in the church and resisted, sent me to the conference and I resisted. I had just met the congregation on Wells, and I really like them. I said I do not know but if you are calling me to pastor then I surrender. Right then my esophagus opened, and it has been two years since I have had that happen again. It has not happened since that moment I surrendered to Gods will.

Davis Lewis: Do you realize you are still not good enough?

Oh yes. I am a big fan of salvation by faith.

Don Edwards: When you finally realized you wanted to pastor did you have peace about it?

Absolutely. It was the calmest I have been in years.

Theodore Kern: What are the ordinances of the Church?

Baptism and Lords Supper.

Jim Ballard: What is your view on the Bible?

It is the inspired word of God; it is breathed of God.

Robin Stork: 1 Timothy 3 we see the qualifications for overseers. Have you ever looked over that?

Not since yesterday

                Is there any in there that you might be struggling with?

Just knowing myself, all of them. Particularly, one that I struggle with is, is not a brawler. It has been years since I threw a punch, but I have noticed when studying theology, you get very defensive about your own positions.

Robin Stork: When you look at that passage the bigger, broader pictures, is that we need to pick our fights. And there are some things as Christians that are worth fighting for. There are a lot of things that we see in churches and in different denominations that may do things differently than we do. In small communities we need to rely on our other pastors in the community if they are God Teaching and God Bible preaching churches. There are certain things that we do need to pick our battles about.

Q: What does a pastor mean to you?

In my eyes I see it as a person that has the privilege, blessed by God, to be a servant in his house. That is a blessing. It is a privilege and pleasure to be apart of this church. To lead the church, to guide them. Rebuke, restore, reconcile, and lead as many to Christ, and lead those following Christ closer. And Love.

Sam Crouch: How will you explain or answer the people who say I do not like the old testament God give me the new testament God?

I would clearly show them that in the whole old testament, this angry guy you are talking about, is planning a way for his people. Providing salvation. Saving them from disaster after disaster when they did not deserve it. Tell me how that is just wrathful and angry. And then I would go to the new testament talk about the people who stepped away from God. Revelations the great war against the beast, though he is the same guy. He never changed.

Q: How will you respond to a parent that brings a 5-year-old child to you that say he wants to be saved?

First, I would speak to the parents. Explain that we believe in Believers Baptism and go into why that is. They must be able to state they are choosing the Christ. They must show that there is understanding in the child. That has been a long talk here about setting a minimum age on baptism. The answer to that is no but I must see there is an understanding present.

Q: In a small place like Wells, you in a since can become a pastor for the community. People from different religious background might come up to you asking you do a lot of different things that are not in our beliefs. Are you aware and ready to take those questions or opportunities on?

Where I have had to deal with those type of situations is arguments between different churches. In this community, as I understand it, the church has a great reputation. I got along great with several different groups in the community that were different from us. I have not had any bad experiences when explaining why we will do this or not do that. They are mostly surprised. They just did not know what the Baptist position was.

Jim Disbro: Have you read the Faith Baptist Faith and Message?

Yes

Is there anything that you disagree with or makes you raise your eyebrows too?

No. I love things about it. They purposely got together and basically said you are going to play nice. Do it. And I fully support that mentality.

Theodore Kern: How do you look up future progress in terms of study?

What I try to make clear to the church is that salvation is by faith. That out of the number of scriptures verses you have memorized there is no connection to salvation however are you better or worse prepared for a situation coming in your life when you know how it works and how the system is designed. Part of my opening prayer is that every Sunday morning will know God better and love him more.

Theodore Kern: Do you see yourself studying formally?

I have applied to a seminary. I was accepted and will begin in the fall. That was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life and it was made through prayer.

Q: what have you done to prepare as it was?

I have never prayed so much. I did not grow up as a reader and now I read every day. I read the bible every day, I have 3 systematic theology books. I am always getting new books and comparing them.

Q: Who do you look to to mentor you?

Several of the men in this room, pastor Norman and brother Rodgers. Pastor Erin Young.

Q: who are you mentoring?

Harvey, though I would not say its officially. There are several people in the church that ask me questions all the time. David Roberson, I would love to spend a lot more time with him. We try to get together as much as we can.

Q: Is there anything questionable about your life at this time?

Again, salvation is by faith alone. I was given the best piece of advice a while ago. The day you think you have arrived as a preacher, that you are as good as you are going to get and really know what you are doing, quit.       

Q: If the council did decide not to ordain you, what would you do?

I would need to pray about it. I would as strongly as I am convinced that I am called to it, I would reach out to some brothers to pray with me. As assured as I am that I am being called to it I would have to continue to pursue it until He told me otherwise.

Craig is excused from the council meeting for discussion between the members.

Jim calls for any opposition for ordaining Craig. None opposed.

Jim Ballard motions for agreement to urge the church to accept Craig into the pastoral roll.

2nd by Sam Crouch.

Motion passes.

Council prays together for Craig.

 

 

Ordainment Examination with Congregation

Everyone joins together in the Wells Baptist church sanctuary. The examination is open to the congregation to praise the Lord and ask Craig any questions.

  • Song: God is our Fortress

Robin opens in prayer and the meeting is again turned over to moderator Jim Disbro.

Jim announces the approval of Craig Burford by unanimous decision. Craig is asked to share his testimony again with the congregation.

Jim opens the floor open to any questions that the congregation might have.

Q: In your own words describe the roll and function of the pastoral office.

WOW. The roll of the pastoral office is a calling from God. At which point your duty is to become a shepherd of the flock. Your job is to teach, preach, and rebuke. To bring people to the Lord and those who know the Lord closer to the Lord.

Q: Do you believe this is absolutely what the Lord has called you to do?

Absolutely.

Q: What are some of most important ideas the practices for the health of the church?

Most important: preach the word of God. Include the gospel. I feel it is important to have clear instruction and having organization. Communication among the members of the church.

Q: Describe a time you were pushed past your limits as a leader and worked past them.

I had the opportunity to preach at cowboy’s rest. I needed to complete 4 sermons, and by halfway through the week I had only gotten one completed. The stress was getting me. Some day I will learn from this: the time you need to be in the word of God most is when you do not want to be at all. That is how the impossible becomes possible.

Q: How do you balance your personal needs with the needs of the church?

A lot of prayer. I think the bible gives us an order of priorities. I do have areas to work on and I do live by myself so that is a little easier.

No further questions were presented. Jim dismisses Craig to meet with the congregation. Jim askes for a vote in favor to ordain Craig. Jim askes for a vote in opposition to ordain Craig. Motion passes unanimously.

  • Song: The Solid Rock

Council members gather around Craig. They lay hands upon him and pray with the congregation.

Craig is asked to share a sermon with the congregation for the first time after being ordained. Craig Preaches from Acts 4:25

Dave Lewis closes in prayer.

Meeting is dismissed for fellowship and celebration.

Submitted by Clerk Jessica Riley, NeBA Secretary.

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