Deacon Minister Preparation
Deacon Minister Preparation
My name is Morgan Thomas Ridington, and this is my deacon minister preparation journey. I live in the Philadelphia area. I grew up in a church-going family. However, I discovered God’s love for me outside the walls of the church. As a teenager, I gave myself to Christ at a Billy Graham event. I was discipled through a Young Life Bible Study group. Soon, it was clear to me that God sought all of me and that I desired all of Him. My Christian life journey has not been without bumps in the road, but over the long haul, it has mostly been what Eugene Peterson has called, “A long obedience in the same direction.”
My mentorship continued at a Christian College under several faithful mentors and teachers. At this time, I realized my calling was to serve those whom Jesus called “the least of these” in Matthew 25. Through relating to classmates from diverse backgrounds, overseas mission trips, and urban ministry, my ministry dream is to live out and share God’s love with our vulnerable neighbors.
After graduation, I planned to teach in the Philadelphia barrio. But, the school district cut its workforce that year and did not hire any new teachers. So, I spent some time working in a local factory ministering with my mentor and discerning my next steps in God’s service. We felt that I would benefit from theological studies. So I entered a seminary. I also committed to lead two Young Life clubs. After graduating with my MA in Religion, I did not pursue ordination. At the school I attended, only traditional pastoral roles merited ordination. It was not until recently that I discovered the possibility of ordained deacon ministry.
For more than thirty years after seminary, my ministry journey continued with service to several Christian higher education institutions and mission organizations. In those roles, I was one who facilitated others’ spiritual dreams through building ministry support. I provided this support through strategy, organization, fundraising, recruitment, training, boards, and mentorship. I also volunteered and served on the boards of Christian organizations addressing hunger, homelessness, urban youth ministry, and community development. My wife and I spent nineteen years growing a new church plant. We also conduct a community outreach alliance with our immigrant neighbors.
I now serve in the very neighborhood where I sought to become a school teacher forty years ago. I bring with me a lifetime’s supply of skills, experiences, passion, and calling. This Christian service aligns with the trajectory of my spiritual journey, dream, and calling. After completing my deacon minister preparation and ordination instruction through the Christian Leaders Institute, I hope to be ordained as a Deacon Minister by the Christian Leaders Alliance.