All-In…No Reservations, No Hold-Outs
By Deacon Ryan Jordan | July 16, 2019
Mallory and I are deeply encouraged by the warm welcome we’ve received at St. Philip’s since moving here last month. I am thrilled to begin my ministry at such a wonderful church and to get to know and serve God’s people here. I feel so very grateful to God for the privilege of being called to minister in His Church.
But I didn’t always have a clear sense of vocation. In fact, I wasn’t even a Christian until I was nearly twenty years old.
Little did I know in my troubled teenage years that God was in relentless pursuit of my soul despite my depression, confusion, and even my hostility to Christianity. I knew that I was searching for something at that point, but for a long time, I didn’t know what that was. I sought that something in many of the wrong places. One night Jesus introduced Himself to me in a way that I couldn’t deny, and from that day on I knew I was a Christian, despite my lingering reservations about the Church. I now know with great personal certainty and intimate familiarity the words St. Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians: “[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” I know that I was “dead in my trespasses” but now I am alive in Christ. That, therefore, my life is no longer my own, for I was redeemed at a price.
I told God that wherever He decides to take me, whatever He aims to make of me, I’m “all-in”…no reservations, no hold-outs. It felt at the time like I might have been making a big mistake in laying all my cards down at once like that—but if so, it was the happiest mistake I ever made! The adventures God has taken me on since—and Mallory, my brave and wonderful wife—I could never have anticipated then, nor would I have consented to them if I had known all the details from the start! But such is the way God works. He has remained faithful through every storm and challenge life has thrown our way, and He has brought us through better-off than if we had never weathered them at all.
At first, Mallory and I, newly married, moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico for me to pursue graduate studies at St. John’s College. I expected to follow in my older brother’s footsteps and become a teacher in the system of charter schools that he works at in Arizona. The job was all lined up for me and we had made all our plans for the next five years when God interrupted them. Mallory and I were invited (by our Methodist pastor, of all people) to a contemplative and candlelit Taize service at the Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Fe, and our breath was taken away. It was in that church that I felt a deep resonance with my first experience of the Lord. I thought, “This is home—Jesus is present here!” And despite what I thought was my better judgment I found the priest there and told him, “I think I’m being called to the ministry.” A year later we set out for seminary in the woods of Wisconsin, and now, after three years of seminary I have been ordained to the transitional diaconate and sent out to Frisco, Texas.
Many of you may not yet know that this two year curacy is designed to develop me not only as a future parish priest, but also as a future church planter. I have to confess that my natural affinity is more with books, prayer, and conversation about big ideas than with missional and entrepreneurial ministry! To call this ministry ‘out of my comfort zone’ would be a severe understatement—but it appears that when I told God ‘anything’, He took me at my word.
Deacon Ryan Jordan and his wife Mallory recently moved to Frisco from Nashotah, Wisconsin, after he graduated from Nashotah House Theological Seminary this past May, and was ordained a Transitional Deacon on June 22nd in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before Seminary Ryan received a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese and East Asian Studies at North Central College in Naperville, IL, and a Master of Arts in the Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM. Ryan met his wife Mallory while studying Japanese at North Central College and they have been together ever since. Ryan enjoys reading, board games and talking about philosophy, and God. He is eager to get involved in life and worship at St. Philip’s.