Monday, July 18, 2005

Tell Me About Yourself. . . .

Each of us have had expereiences in our lives that caused us to move towards ministry as a vocation. Did you have a mentor that challenged you? How has a Biblical figure, historical leader, or literary character proved to you that God can use women for great purposes in the church? Are you overcoming the negative words of someone else by leading a church?
Let me hear your story! Our words will inspire each other to continue on this path. . . .

6 Comments:

Blogger Canticles said...

Ok, I'll bite. I committed to full time Christian service, namely music ministry, when I was 14. I went to a Christian college and I'll be graduating from seminary in December. Both institutions are Southern Baptist.

My mentor is the minister of music at my home church. He never told me I couldn't serve because I'm a woman, he just supported me. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to be in front of the congregation, leading worship.

I had my rude awakening when I came to seminary at age 22. I received a lot of criticism from someone I worked with at church and it became a verbally/spiritually abusive situation. I was told I was incompetent and incapable of serving. I took it for two years because I though I deserved it. If I just tried harder, it would be better, you know? When I left, my heart was broken and it's only been in the last year that I've been able to move on. And it's only been in the last few weeks that I've started putting my finger on exactly what has caused me to feel the way I do about ministry and the church.

I'm currently serving in a Christian school, but I feel my true calling is church music ministry and I will probably be looking for a new place to serve soon. I'll be 27 in one week and I'm married to a great guy who supports me in all my endeavors.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

So many stories, so little space ;) Well, let's start with basic info. I'm 27, I've been ordained for two years, and I'm the pastor (the only pastor) in a tiny town in New York.

The negative comments and resistance I've experienced to my call have actually been a big part of honing and affirming my call and my life as a Christian. For example, when I first started to feel a calling to vocational ministry, I was part of a fundamentalist fellowship, and the leadership constantly told me that these desires were sinful, from Satan, and that I needed to submit to the leadership of men. Well, this caused me to really look into the roles of women in Scripture, which ended up strengthening my sense of call and leading me to leave that fellowship.

When I was in seminary, I worked in a church that had never had women in formal leadership or allowed a woman to preach. After a long fight, the pastor finally convinced them to let me preach ("One night service, and if we don't like it, she's done!" No pressure...). Shockingly, they discovered that they were okay with having a woman in the pulpit. I ended up preaching every month, and they started having women deacons. Their change of heart once again affirmed my calling, and I was glad that I stuck around and endured the negative comments long enough to advocate for change.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Canticles said...

I have to say that I'm so proud of the membership at my former church. I'm speaking of the one I encountered the hurtful people at. Just about six weeks ago I was invited to sing at an ordination service... for two of my female friends and one guy friend that I went to seminary with. They got rid of almost everyone on staff, cleaned house, and this is what they came up with. That was a big, bold statement for an SBC church and it really brought a lot of healing for me personally, just to be there to see these three be ordained. :)

8:41 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I am seeing a running theme with everyone. . . courage. All of us have faced resistance at some point in time. A dear friend of my family told me once that he did not think that "God could ever speak to him through a woman." It broke my heart. Like Stacy, it forced me to dig and dig through the Bible to find my resolution on the issue.

What from your "digging" gave you most confidence that women should be leading spiritually? Our findings will inspire. . . .

10:55 AM  
Blogger Songbird said...

Hi, Caroline. I'm a 40-something UCC pastor, ordained almost 3 years ago after 8 years, off and on, of seminary while raising three children.
Last fall, a dearly loved member of my small church died. He was a crusty old fellow, but also the kind of guy who would do anything for the church. We got along very well together, and I spent a lot of time visiting him in the hospital and his wife in a number of settings (hospital, home, rehab center, nursing home). After his death, a woman in my age bracket told me about a conversation they had when she visited him a week or so before he died of congestive heart failure. "He told me that he never thought a woman should be the minister at our church. In fact, he told me he voted against you. Then he said knowing you now he wished he could go back and change that vote."
That vote was 59-1. I would never have guessed he was the holdout. He was the first person I buried for whom I also grieved.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Hello!

I'm Jen, I'm 31, and I will be starting my theological training in September to become an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada.

I first decided I wanted to be a minister when I was 11, but I didn't know that women could be ministers (growing up our ministers were always men). Our church had its first woman minister about three years later, and I realized I could pursue that sense of call.

20 years later, I'm finally ready to explore this exciting new path on my faith journey.

I feel very blessed about my sense of call, because the UCCan (on the whole) is very supportive of women ministers, and my home congregation is behind me. I do anticipate challenges and struggles, mind you, but I also anticipate amazing support from my friends and family, off and online. :)

9:33 AM  

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