A week ago on Saturday, I graduated with a Master of Divinity from Corban University. Since this degree academically qualifies me to be a pastor, ever since I began pursing those studies, I’d get this question: “So…are you going to be a pastor?” In the beginning, I’d answer with an emphatic NO. A pastor preaches, and I can’t/don’t/won’t preach. At first, I’d follow up that answer with a “because…women aren’t supposed to preach. [DUH]” Well, then what in the world could women DO with a Master of Divinity? Teach, I suppose (but not preach, or teach Sunday School, etc.); lead worship, write curriculum, use it as a stepping stone to further education and scholarship; be a missionary, overseas, doing the work of a pastor but not given that title.
This was before I took a class on the Pastoral Epistles, and subsequently called into question my complementarian convictions.
The following year, as part of a class assignment, I took a few surveys that revealed some possible spiritual gifts, including shepherding/pastoring and teaching. My then roommate, who already had a bit of preaching and pastoral experience, took up teasing me about one day being a pastor. (Hi Faatima!) Ha. Nope. No pastoring. Only teaching, maybe, and maybe even through writing, so I don’t actually have to talk.
Coincidentally, I also got an invitation to preach at Faatima’s church by way of text message that semester, which I turned down, because I was already scheduled for music at my church. The pastor who sent the request called me a chicken; I distinctly remember laughing at that response, because it’s partially true. But, I was going to teach at youth group, anyhow. Turns out, besides the prep work, presenting to this group of teenagers was more enjoyable than I thought.
A lot of things happened that semester. Did I mention taking Preaching I? Well, during that class, I told my classmates and my prof that I wasn’t there to learn how to preach, because I didn’t see myself as a preacher type. I think I repeated myself in Preaching II, where I got away with teaching the teenagers instead of preaching to a mixed crowd. No, I’m not pastor material, I told myself. I can write and teach, maybe, but I’m definitely not a pastor.
I still tell myself that. But, let’s get back to the big question.
So, now that you’ve got an MDiv, what are you gonna do, Sabrina? Are you going to be a pastor? I was asked that the day after I graduated. I told her that I didn’t see myself as a pastor anytime soon, and left it at that.
Are you going to pursue doctoral studies, Sabrina? I got that question, too, more than once. I would answer like this: “Um…I’m going to say, no?”
Well, what are you gonna do, now? For now, I don’t see myself pursuing further studies, because it’s simply not financially feasible, although I may find myself wanting to after a year off. I am going to continue my part-time job at the library, be the foremost supporter of my husband’s work, continue learning how to be married and not single, read all the books I have wanted to read outside of my textbook lists, practice drumming, maybe plant a garden, learn to roast coffee, and write. (I’ve been told at various points in my life, by varying individuals, in one form or another, that I should practice writing. Maybe I’ll make money with it someday, or maybe I won’t.)
In a nutshell, I’m going to do some things that I love and bring me joy, and practice some things that I love and should improve. Will God take me back to school? Will he place me in local ministry? Maybe. I don’t know. But one thing I know for sure: God tends to call me out of my comfort zone to discover the things I can do with his enablement, and to discover new things about myself. Until then, I wait, and enjoy this season of savoring life.
Questions and comments welcome, but I will moderate anything that could turn into an argument about women’s roles in the church. Thank you.