To put one’s proverbial hand up and be considered for ordination these days, one has to be sure of certain things. Sure of God’s gospel, sure of His call on your life, sure of where He’s placed you, sure of your gifts (where they’re absent, where they’re present, where they’re spent), and sure of the Anglican Church – well within reason anyway.

Indeed the whole ‘selection for ordination’ process is designed to confirm the confident and alarm the antsy; designed to make you sure that ordination isn’t some self-deluded masterplan of your own mini-kingdom’s making. And, to be sure, I was left humbled, awed, charged with responsibility, and more or less certain that I was clear of such delusions.

Praise the Lord! He put it in my heart when I was just 15 to be a minister of his Word & Spirit. Praise the Lord for godly men and women who affirmed my gifts & call, from then till now. Praise the Lord for Ridley Melbourne where I was trained for ministry and mission (even when ministry and mission weren’t in the title!). Praise the Lord for employing me in His harvest field of Diamond Creek. To be sure, I was sure this was the Lord’s place for me.

So imagine my muted surprise when a kindly parishioner turned to me, a whole 18 months into my curacy, without a shadow of irony or deceit, and said: “You know Rob, I wasn’t sure about you to start with, but now it’s good”.

A backhanded compliment? A slap in the face with a smile at the end? Transparently judgmental? Welcome to ministry, I thought. The land of the Two Great Giants who roam without fear or favour: Opportunity and Expectation.

The giant Opportunity who walks with you & shows you the landscape of what could be, of where the awesomeness of God’s supernatural power meets your passion for ministry. And the giant Expectation who sneaks behind you as friend or foe, showing you the peaks & troughs of what people think of you, the pedestals at once toppled & re-set.

My only hope and weapon? Being sure of God’s gospel & His gospel’s call on my life! To be sure, it’s been a quite a ride already, with some occasions of doubt. I’ve had much to learn: frequently, deeply, and sometimes repetitively. But this is my ‘surety’, my Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card: there is a Cross and a Resurrection, Christ is my Saviour King!` To paraphrase Paul, He began a good work in me and, to be sure, will carry it on to completion on the day He visits us.

IN 2009 Rob Imberger is a rookie minister who’s kicking some goals & missing others, and is so very thankful for the patient folk at Diamond Creek.