Well, after my ordination 2 days ago, I’m officially “Reverend Pickens.” On the one hand, I don’t want to get caught up with the title. I think it’s important that I just remain Seth: accessible, humble, etc.
At the same time, reminding myself that I’m a rev helps me to remember the high standards I need to live up to. The next time you’re about to lose your cool or do something you know you shouldn’t, try telling yourself “I can’t do this, I’m a reverend,” (even if you aren’t) and see what happens. Deep down, you know that you are called to be the best person you can be.
The ordination weekend was great. My father flew in from Detroit to check out my church and witness the ordination. He was impressed with the size of the building and the enthusiasm the congregation had for me. Everyone was all smiles and hugs. He really seemed proud on Sunday. Then, when I dropped him at the airport Monday, he got dead serious, looked me in the eye, and said:
“Don’t screw this up, Sethie.”
That’s a parent for you. Forget the years of school and practical experience I have. Forget the fact that the church started with 150 resumes and narrowed it down to me after almost 3 years of prayerful deliberation. Don’t even consider that idea that God chose me for this position in this time and place and in a sense, I have to be here for a long time. When my Dad looks at The Rev. Seth W. Pickens, Senior Pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California, he still sees the kid who once wore the same pair of underwear for a month straight for no apparent reason and hopes we’re all not in for a similar embarrassment.
At least he keeps me on my toes.