I am (Pastor) Kristen

On Sunday afternoon I will ring a bell, be let in through the security gate, sign in, put on the required name tag and be escorted to the gym for my allotted hour. The generic name tag simply says “Clergy” but as the residents at the felony DUI incarceration and treatment center file in, I introduce myself simply as “Kristen”.

Leading the worship service at the facility once a month is a highlight of the many things I have the opportunity to do as Pastor. As I think back over the past week, I recall three pastoral counseling appointments in which discussions ranged from pornography and drug addictions, to loneliness, to an authentic search for true faith. I recall the specific prayer requests with which I have been entrusted, the invitation to a Pastor’s Breakfast by the local pregnancy center and the necessity of beginning to plan the community National Day of Prayer event. Notes for this week’s upcoming sermon are scattered on my desk, reminding me this week is our last in the current series, “Say Yes!”

To some this may sound like a brief snapshot of a typical week of a Pastor, and yet, because I’m a woman, the description might border on unscriptural at best, heretical at worst. A recent dialogue on my Facebook wall about the topic of women as pastors exploded, racking up 114 comments in just a few days. The discussion – sometimes heated, sometimes comical, always passionate – left no doubt in any observers’ mind that this issue is far from resolved and fully understood.

Regardless where you may stand on the issue – a staunch proponent, opponent, or undecided in the middle – I think we may agree on more than we disagree. While the potential list of mutually-agreed upon ideas could be quite long, a few key thoughts come to mind:

• The Bible is the Living Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and instructive for the realities of today.

• God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit live in perfect unity and community, without hierarchy, as the Trinity. The Trinity models to us God’s intention for our relation to Him, and our relationships with each other.

• As we experience the redemptive power of Jesus Christ in our own lives, we also long for others to know the same, and therefore understand our role in sharing His truth.

• The Great Commission is given to all, for all. There are no limitations, no restrictions.

• Women and men are both made in God’s image.

• Jesus’ death and resurrection is victorious over sin and death. Through His sacrifice, all things are made new.

• Our world desperately needs lights shining in the darkness. Any light who faithfully shines, bringing God’s truth and love through service, community-building, teaching, and witnessing, is a positive, God-intended occurrence.

• Each time we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done” we’re talking about redemption, restoration, peace, unity, healing, love, justice, mercy, hope, forgiveness and holiness. We all are to be Kingdom-bringers.

 

Where the title of “Pastor” falls into that reality, I’m not exactly sure. But perhaps, it is a title not so much given as it is earned. As I am given opportunity, and am placed into positions to speak, teach, share, guide, mentor, counsel, pray for, and lead with the hope, truth and love of Christ, I will, whether the people gathered are children, women or men. And in so doing, if I am called Pastor, I receive the title with honor and humility.

Regardless of the presence or absence of the contentious title, however, I am Kristen – a disciple saved by grace through faith, fearfully and wonderfully made, faithfully attempting to honor God and serve Him with all the giftings and talents He has given. Aren’t we all called to do the same?

 

*“I am (Pastor) Kristen” was published in January 2012 by Burnside Writers Collective.

  • Kristen, I appreciate your post and how you say, “this issue is far from resolved and fully understood.” I’ve been thinking about this issue quite a bit lately since two friends’ books on the topic have recently been released. I pray you keep following Jesus’ lead and participate in all the kingdom work God has prepared for you.

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