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Closing a Chapter

This past week, I concluded twenty-two years of service as the Ohio District Superintendent.  Our UPCI manual states that an elected official can serve for eight years if he receives a simple majority of the vote, but after that he must get a two-thirds majority to be returned to office.  That happened every election cycle from 2003 to 2015, an incredible gesture on the part of the district voting constituency for which I always felt greatly honored.  Now, in 2017, we have elected a new leader who will, I’m positive, do a superb job in taking the district to an ever-brighter future.

Some have asked me how I felt about the change.  I suppose many people assume that an official who is not re-elected feels disappointed or even rejected. I want to allay all fears.  I feel as upbeat and sure about my status as I have ever felt.  I certainly bear no hurt, nor do I plan to go through a grueling analysis of how and why it all happened.  Such an exercise is futile and counter-productive. A boy never resents losing his baby teeth or experiencing the change in his voice from tenor to bass.  Why, then, should I resent going through the later stages of life?  The dynamics of a new day bring with it new challenges, and so new minds, new methods and new tools become necessary to meet them.

Change is inevitable.  I remind all those who despise change to beware.  You do yourself a huge disservice by attaching your anchor to a fleeting stage of life. That stage will dissipate quicker than you could imagine.  I know.  I was once an evangelist.  Then I became a student pastor.  After that, I was an assistant pastor, then a district youth president, then a senior pastor.  In 1995, I became a district superintendent.  None of those positions, however, defined me as a person.  Even when I was superintendent, that was not really who I was.  I did the work of a district superintendent, but the position did not define me.  The definition of my identity has always been a servant of Jesus Christ.  Positions come and go, jobs and tasks change, and the roles you play in life differ according to your age and circumstances.  All of them determine how you behave, but none of them determine your true identity.

Think about it.  If your life consists of a specific role you play, then whenever that role is terminated, you may as well shrivel up and die.  It’s over.  You have no value, no worth, no future beyond that point.  For me, that will not happen.  My identity transcends any particular assignment or position.  Moreover, if I live by the honor and accolades I receive from others, my life only lasts as long as those accolades keep coming.  The Apostle Paul affirmed that his life’s purpose was only to please God.  Everything else was irrelevant to that goal.  

To close a chapter does not mean to close the book.  A chapter in a book only serves to develop the plot and carry the story through to the next phase.  Of course, something profound and earthshaking may have transpired in that chapter.  Something critical to the story may have been revealed.  A chapter, however, does not a book make!  The plot marches on, inexorably, to the end.  In fact, there may be a twist in the final pages of the book that makes everything else make sense.  A relationship, an unexpected revelation, a beam of light cast upon a much earlier chapter may pull everything together.  

I close this chapter.  I enjoyed it.  I am different, perhaps better in some ways.  I have beautiful memories and rewarding relationships that developed as it happened.  But, who is to say that the next chapter will be less important or less rewarding?  I wait with bated breath on what the future holds.  I love my district and the wonderful people here.  Those things will never change.  I thank each person who made a contribution to my life during that time. 

As the poet, Robert Frost, wrote, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”  



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Reader Comments (18)

Very well written. God Bless!

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Thornton

What an amazing article! You are the wisest and most level headed man I know. I am proud to call you my dad. Love you!

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRene Mcclish

Dear Brother,

I am so proud to have you as my brother! Having seen you develop from a kid brother to the fine man you are today, gives me confidence that you will continue to be a leader and an example of a true Christian, come what may. Titles do not make a man. In fact, one can make the position look great by the awe-inspiring character one has. You have truly set the bar high!

Love, your sister, Jenny

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Teets

Bro Jordan,
Thank you for serving Ohio so well all these years. Your leadership is one of excellence and your character is Christian and it shines through you. Thank you for writing this and reminding each of us that our purpose is attached to a title or office. We love you and believe that the next chapter will be even greater than the former ones. I'm convinced the previous portion was just a prelude. God bless you and your wife!!

Love JR, Kassie, Javin and Jericho Meyer

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJR Meyer

Thank you so much for the example you have set for us even in this transition you are still showing us how!! Thank you for your servants heart!

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Wright

WOW! So Powerful! Congratulations in advance on your next chapter!

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Davis

WOW! So Powerful! Congratulations in advance on your next chapter!

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Davis

What an awesome perception of change! The positive attitude you have about this transition defines your superb leadership qualities. Your family has served the Ohio District well. Blessings as you turn the page.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDebra Garner

Thank you Bishop J. Mark Jordan. This post alone gives us a glimpse of your heartbeat. Time will reveal how God chooses to write the next chapters. Your willingness is evident. I will remain a reader. Blessings

May 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrian K. Michael

Dear Bro Jordon,

Your integrity and sterling character continues to shine. The generations yet to come will model their lives after you hoping to emulate your example in their lives. "Consistency thou art a jewel" was stated to describe the preciousness of men like you. Time has already tested your resolve of righteousness and our Apostolic history will reflect your brilliance as the individual young men seek to find there way through the darkness of the unknown tomorrows of their lives. Your longevity of service alone testifies to the the reciprocal love that you have for the work of God. I am proud to have served in the same generation that allowed me to fellowship and know Mark Jordon. We pray for God's best for you and Sandy.
Edwin and Sharon Harper

May 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin Harper

Bro and Sis Jordan, Very well spoken! We love you very much! Prayers for your next adventure, and hope to see you soon!

Your long service speaks volumes about your personal commitment and abilities, but do not outshine your writing ministry. Please continue that since it touches so many lives and ministries outside of Ohio. May God continue to bless you with good health and inspiring leadership beyond public office. Your example has encouraged many to be better Christians and servants in the Kingdom.

May 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJ. R. Ensey

Thank you Bro Jordan. You have taught me again!

May 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCinny Bentley

Bro. Jordan, Are you going to keep your online sites - Twitter, Thoughtsahdes, etc; you didn't say ..................; I love them!!!

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSydney Heimericks

Yes, Sydney, I will keep blogging and tweeting. Those are personal, not Ohio District avenues of communication. Writers write, so I'll keep it up! JMJ

May 9, 2017 | Registered CommenterJ. Mark Jordan

You are still teaching in your exit. Exits are so important and we need this example. Thank you! Love and admire you, friend

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMark Foster

Excellent wisdom on life, Bro Jordan. I trust that you will continue to bless the Body with your teaching and writing abilities. Blessings to you.

May 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Ryerson

God's richest blessings, Brother and Sister Jordan, as you continue to serve our great God!

John Chappelear
Logan, Ohio

May 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Chappelear

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