On Why I’m Becoming A Pastor.



Fifteen years ago this month, I sat in the back row of a nondescript classroom and thought I don’t belong here.  Nearly everyone else in the room was at least ten years older than me, and male. I loved the professor and loved what he said even more. He talked passionately about the church, about her story, about our story in it. I was captivated. I was captured by the story. I know now that I also wanted to have a place in that story. I scribbled notes and listened and I loved every second.


But every time someone else in the room interjected a point or used a technical theological word or quoted scripture, I thought two things:

These men love the sound of their own voice.

And I don’t belong here.

Just a few months before I had been accepted to seminary, a skidding 180 from my original plans to attend grad school for exercise science and psychology. I certainly didn’t belong in seminary. My grandfather wanted me to be a judge. My parents always told me in words and action that I would be whatever I set my mind to, and my mind certainly wasn’t set on ministry. Ministry, ha. Just the thought made me laugh. That’s not a career.

I thought people who were in ministry just couldn’t make it in the real world. The walking wounded, some might say. But my experience at a little church plant called Hope had been totally different. We met in a school. We passed the offering in bread pans. The pastors were normal and smart. They used regular voices when they prayed and taught. And they loved me and Dave well, in a crucial time of new town, new jobs, new marriage, new life.

Despite my own immaturity (or maybe because of it) I led in Hope’s fledgling student ministry. I had energy for it, barely out of my teens myself. And these middle school girls, all elbows and braces, they won my heart. In serving, I grew. I remember the first time I stood in front of a circle of girls in the cafeteria where we met. I remember telling them a painful story from middle school, one I would have rather forgotten about and locked away. And as I stood in front of them and looked at their faces, as we laughed together about the hijinks of middle school (that had not been laugh-worthy when locked away in my soul), something in me released. I put words from the bible together with the story and when I did, flint hit steel. A spark flashed and a flame began to burn.

The prophet Jeremiah once described God’s word as a fire within him, a fire shut up in his bones, a fire that couldn’t be contained. That’s what happened in the cafeteria of that church plant. Honesty, freedom, truth crackled and my heart’s been on fire since.

And that’s how I found myself in the left corner of the back row of a seminary class, wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into.

One class turned into two and then reality. What would I do with this fancy theology degree? On the five hour drive down to school each month I would pray and think and question. I had just enough faith to show up for class but not enough faith to believe God would do something with it all. I tried to imagine a life where I had a church job. I had never met a woman on a staff of a church. I had never heard a woman teach. I had never heard a woman even lead a prayer in church. My readings from theology class grew my knowledge but my CDs of Beth Moore stoked the soul fire. Beth Moore was the best bible teacher I had ever heard, and she was funny. Beth (I like to pretend we are on a first-name basis)….well, Beth helped me believe that God could have a place for me.

but probably not in the church.

(continue here.)

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  2. Megan

    October 3rd, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    Thank you for this series! Keep it coming! It’s reopening my eyes to the wonder of the journeys God has us on. And it has me reflecting on my own– how did I get here?– thoughts. Thank you!

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