Lunch Conversations & The Road that Led to Pastoring
“What led you to becoming a pastor?”
It was just another lunch date with my friend Morgan, and she decided to casually slam me with that mother load of a question.
“Well, do you want the 5-minute version or the long version?”
She wanted to hear whatever I wanted to share, and proceeded to listen intently as I accidentally spilled my whole heart and life out on the table. Here it is, if you’re curious.
I told her when I was fourteen years old, I went to summer camp, and The Lord called me by my name.
He told me I would preach the Gospel to the nations — to the lost and the found. He told me his Word would always be on my lips. No fourteen year old could ever make that up, and I remember shaking from head to toe, because it felt like he had literally entered the room just to whisper those words in my ear.
My parents were pastors, I was raised in church, and I never, ever resented it. It was home - still is - and in a lot of ways, my training ground. I recalled being a senior in high school myself, and taking a terrifying leap to study Biblical Studies at Life Pacific College. I felt a significant inner battle with my gender, as I began to see and feel resistance to my calling because of it.
I made people uncomfortable, I was intimidating, and many said I could never and should never do what I know God had spoken.
In Christian circles, I was harassed, misunderstood, and often put in positions to defend myself or share what I understood my “place” to be. I questioned my own intentions all the time, and wondered if I had heard it wrong. But God provided lamp posts along the journey, in the form of spectacular people who championed me, people who showed me what Scripture REALLY said about what I could do.
God just kept telling me I could, he kept showing me I had to...and so I did.
I shared about the church that became my family while in college (I love you @go2faith!), and the high school small group of girls I led for three years, who gave me my first real opportunity to pastor. My time with those girls taught me to see people as Jesus does: beautiful, worthy, and never too far gone.
I finally shared about the phone call with my parents.
We were talking about church and God, like we always do.
Times were tough and different, and they were wearied. They were actively praying to God for some help with taking their church to solid ground. They offered Reed and I a place, a seat at the table, and opportunities to pastor full-time. They took time to encourage us individually, what we had worked for, and what we felt called to. I wept. We prayed. We took time. We said yes. We moved. I never thought it would look like this, but he has a way of making fools of our expectations. When I was 14 years old, God said it. And years later, he did it. He’s still doing it...in and through both of us.
He’s fixed on using imperfect me to love others and show them that Jesus really is who he says he is.
Actually, he’s better.
She smiled. It was the end of the story. For now. I looked at Morgan, and realized my motivation for pastoring...the thing that wakes me up every morning to give of myself for Christ...it’s changed a bit. The core of it is the same, but I realized that she was a part of it now.
I want to pastor so that Morgan can too.
I want her to know and see that God in and through us is unlike anything else on the planet, and that when he speaks to us about our calling, he means every word. He wants to use ALL of us, he means what he says, and Morgan can make a difference. She can trust him. He will make a way. I guess It’s my turn to be a lamp post. To champion the dream and words of God in her heart.
So even though I shared the long version of the story, I realized I have a pretty solid 5-minute version too. I step into my calling confidently and passionately every day - because I want everyone who meets me to know they can to. In fact, they must. The world needs them.
The world needs YOU.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’re encouraged. Keep going. And if you relate, I want you to join me in showing honor where honor is due. Who are those lamp posts in your journey? Who are the people who have stood in your corner of the ring, who have instilled a fight and a passion in you?