For the past several years, I've been really fulfilled as a mom, a wife and a Bible teacher. I've committed to walking through each door God opens. Except for the ones I don't want to walk through. In total disclosure, I often require a polite nudge, or, more honestly, a bold shove.
About a year and a half ago I was connected with a female minister in Florida who is doing a monthly event very similar to WOW (Women of the Word). Our mutual friend thought we could share ideas and experiences and would benefit from talking with one another as we held similar visions forour areas.
This pastor is a few years older than me, not by leaps and bounds, but she has been around and operating in her calling longer than I have. (And did I mention she is a pastor? As in reverend?) We compared some notes and shared ideas and encouraged one another in the visions we each hold. And then she did it. She asked me about my qualifications. Did I realize more doors would open for me if I was legitimately recognized as a licensed pastor? She didn't stop there. She went further and asked me if I had ever considered becoming an ordained pastor. What? Nope. Never.
Well, that's not true. I considered it for about .5 seconds before I dismissed it out of hand as something totally unnecessary. If God wants to use me, HE will open all of the doors, not a title or a certificate. And who has the time? Why would I stop operating in my calling in order to become recognized and approved to operate in the calling I was already operating in? See? Ludicrous. Not doing it. I laughed. I shrugged it off. I thought it was a waste of my time.
And then the women God has so lavishly positioned around me not only in life but more officially on the board of Beautiful Truth Ministries did the unthinkable. They raised their collective eyebrows at me. "Are you seriously looking at me like that?" I challenged.
"Why won't you consider it?" They asked.
"What does God say about that?" They asked.
"What are your options?" They asked.
"We should pray about this!" They declared.
It can be so annoying to have really great people around you.
Still resistant, I went about my business only to have the issue come up again. So I began to seek the Lord about what was I supposed to do. Without taking all the time and space here to give every detail and encounter, the Lord was very swift to shut some options I thought were obvious, and plant me at a table in the lobby of a hotel in Northwest Kansas with a female pastor who had served in leadership in the very same church my Grandma had pastored many moons ago. And the right door opened at the right time and all the pieces fell together.
Last Spring, I began the coursework and requirements through Faith Christian Fellowship International to become a licensed pastor. Nearly one month ago, I received word I had been approved to step into the fold of pastorship, with a few more steps to take before a final ordination service next summer.
What does this change? Not much. I can perform a few extra sacerdotal functions (I know. I don't really know what that means either!) And let's be honest, my own kids simply refuse to call me Pastor Mom, so what's the use? I jest.
I will still continue to do what God calls me to do where and when He calls me to do it (even when I need a shove). But for those churches, ministries and organizations who seek increased confidence in knowing there is formality and structure to my own ministry, I can now offer this piece as well.
The minister in Florida? I'm thankful she opened up the idea, even if in the moment I pushed against it. Sometimes, those who are traveling ahead of us really do have good advice.
As for you? You can still call me Amy. Pastor is optional.