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A Conversation with New Ministerial Director Rick Jordan

A Conversation with New Ministerial Director Rick Jordan

This past summer, Rick Jordan, and his wife, Beth, made the move across the country back to the Pacific Northwest. Rick accepted the call to join the Oregon Conference team as our new assistant director in the Ministerial Department, a job that that will enlist his experience, knowledge, and best of all, his love of connecting with, and supporting the pastors in our region.

This last week, Oregon Conference Story Catcher, Dick Duerksen, stopped by his office to get to know him a little better.

Duerksen: Have you always been an Adventist?

Jordan: I was raised in northern Idaho, just west of Coeur d’Alene. When my parents divorced, my father and step-mother moved to Alaska. One summer I went up to my Dad’s place in Alaska for a visit. On Saturday morning they told me to put on my nicest clothes. “Why?” I asked. “Because we’re going to church today.” We drove to downtown Anchorage and stopped in front of a Seventh-day Adventist church. That was my introduction to going to church.

I spent summers in Alaska with my Dad. That gave me a chance to go to junior camp, to camp meeting, and to go to church every Sabbath when I was there. It started to move me, you know, but then I'd go back to Idaho and it was hard to keep Sabbath and stuff. One summer I became an Adventist, and decided to be baptized. Right after graduating from high school I was a colporteur in Spokane for a summer.


D: Did you enjoy selling books?

J: It was a great experience because I hated every minute of it! I found that, as I was giving my canvas and sharing, you know, that I was a terrible salesperson. People didn't have money to buy, so I would ask if they would you like to study the Bible. I found people who were interested, but I was giving Bible studies instead of selling books. I had numerous Bible studies going, especially in the evenings. That’s when I started thinking that I needed to be a pastor. Then I went to Walla Walla and was there for two years.


D: Your resume says that you took a year out of college as a task force worker. Where did you serve?

J: I did that for a year out at the village of Gamble on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska, and then went back to Walla Walla for my junior year. Before I finished, the Alaska Conference asked me to come back and work at the church in Bethel. I spent two years in Bethel and then returned to graduate from Walla Walla.

You’ve worked very successfully in a number of pastoral and Conference positions across North America, including serving as vice president and ministerial director for the Potomac Conference on the East Coast. Have you always dreamed of moving back to the Northwest?

For several years my wife and I have been praying that we wanted to be closer to our family and children. Every vacation we would go from Virginia to Washington to see our kids and our grandkids. Especially the grandkids! We didn’t want them to be growing up without us. During that time, we’ve had opportunity to look at a number of different places, but Oregon has always had a reputation of being a leading conference in the North Pacific Union. When we were asked to consider moving here, we were excited!


D: What do you see happening in Oregon ministry that excites you?

J: I get to work with a team of excellent professional pastors as a supporter, encourager, and resource provider. I’ll be visiting with pastors, listening, and discovering what kinds of support would help them in ministry right now.

I’ve been reading The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lindsay, and he’s reminded me of how important it is for us to work together, to grow together. He talks about three essential traits that will help us become a strong team: Humble, Hungry, and Smart.

Humble. Well, that’s a pretty obvious need. Humble is to be teachable, to know how to say I’m sorry, and to be willing to admit that I have a lot to learn.

Hungry. That’s the desire to go to the next level, to grow, to not just be content with what I am right now but to be eager to reach toward something better and higher. We need to continually try to move the bar, personally, professionally, and spiritually.

Smart. We have to be adaptive, ready to listen wisely, and then fit in where God leads us to go. Our world is changing so fast right now, that “smart” is really crucial.


D: What makes a pastor successful?

J: A focus on the basics of pastoral ministry. You don't have to be the best speaker, and you don't have to be the best organized person in the church. But if you care about people, if you love them, if you listen to them, get to know them, support them, and visit them. If you follow through with what you promise, you can be a very successful pastor.

But these are really challenging times, and for me to help pastors be more successful I’ll be spending a lot of time with our team. I’m eager to develop an attitude where we're working together and supporting each other. Those relationships will also help us develop some peer-to-peer accountability. You know, taking on maybe more of a structured role. But right now, I'm just going to make some friends. That's where I'm at right now. And it’s a good spot to be at. I love it.

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