This is one of those types of posts where I’m sharing my heart. In part, likely because I know I’m already setting myself up for criticism, and if I could avoid it, I’d high tail it in the other direction. But I’m a pioneer for all those other women who feel the call to be ordained to Christian Ministry.
What does that ordained to Christian ministry mean? Well, I don’t know what that means for you, but here’s what it means/meant for me:
This was a several year journey, with two years directly focussed on a learning and assessment part. To which, at the end of it, the call was affirmed. The official ordination took place in my home church Westside Pentecostal in April 2018, and I received a beautiful gift that had something unique, something new to me, in my journey. The bestowed upon title of Reverend Carmen Kampman. (Yes for some of you grammarians, you may rightly argue that the proper address should be The Reverend Carmen Kampman, but let me just gently suggest we live in a different era now.)
So why on earth is this conversation coming up now? Why is this journey becoming so important now? Or a title, a name, for that matter? Why am I actually not able to let go and simply say, call me Carmen – which is how it is in most places.
I think it’s coming up for a couple of reasons. First, I’m teaching a class beginning Jan. 21, 2109, and I began to wonder what I should invite the students to call me. Carmen should be fine, I thought. Then I felt a flag – no, that’s not appropriate. Then I found myself seeking the council of others and reading blogs. Oh.my.gosh. It became overwhelming. I began to feel shame for even being on this journey, but yet I was unable to let the thought pass from my mind or heart.
Another reason it’s coming up, I think, is because my life is modeling a way for so many other women – my life is not my own, thought I’m responsible to steward it. My life is being laid down for the Body of Christ and how I long to serve my Saviour well!
I found myself troubled with some of the responses I received (read or spoken) and then thought perhaps I had made a mistake in asking others, but pooled wisdom is something I value. But, I mean honestly, who wants to set themself up for being perceived as arrogant or self-promoting or whatever thing you might want to call someone who uses a title.
So I walked into my office yesterday with this sense: Lord it’s up to you, what should I do? I’ll do it no matter what people think or how initially it might be perceived? I’ve committed my life to stewarding your call upon my life.
Here’s what happened directly following that conversation: There on my bookshelf was the plague given to me on my ordination to Christian Ministry. The PAOC family chose it and here’s how it read: Reverend Carmen Kampman.
So, as hard as it is for me to publically declare without feeling a sense that somehow I’m doing something wrong because I know that a few of you will cringe or think how dare she, I’m picking up the mantle that’s been given me. And I feel the right thing to do in this season with the students is to invite them to call me Reverend Carmen. I won’t demand it, it’s not about that, it’s an invitation.
And if they want to make it more inviting they can call me RC, or Rev. C, or RevMom…or whatever they deem appropriate once they get to know me and see my heart, it’s simply an invitation to call me by a name that’s been given to me and in which I’m bravely and courageously pushing through fear of what others might think to pick it up to steward it in the best way possible in this season.
With heartfelt gratitude for the communal journey of discernment and a commitment to steward the call well,
It’s going to sound ridiculous, I know. How could I possibly have the word Peace as my 2019 Word? And how on earth could I feel a sense of being invited to retreat in my soul while also saying “Yes!” to open doors and upcoming changes.
I’ve been wondering if I’m losing it! But the truth is, I think my heart response, my “Yes” to Jesus when I feel his nudging and invitation has grown in exponential ways in the last few years. Perhaps it’s a cumulative effect of a daily discipline to be in God’s presence (whether I felt God’s presence or not), to study the Living Word of God (whether I felt inspired or not), and to live my best life (whether I was messing up or being fruitful).
Or perhaps I’ve been shaped by the community of women who I gather together with regularly (I love pastoring this group!) and are seeking deeper connection and intimacy with Jesus. In our group we’re not afraid to ask the hard questions and to be vulnerable. We are learning about ancient practices like Lection Divina, and we practice Silence. We started learning about Silence by not only reading about it, but by setting a timer and just starting to still ourselves for shorter, then longer, periods of time. We’re a brave bunch! And we’re hungry for the Living God!
And as wonderful as the small group is, I’ve felt the Lord drawing me, inviting me, to go on a journey. A journey of discovering what it means to be in communion with the shepherd and guardian of my soul. To rest in his presence. To allow myself to retreat, not simply in the going away (which I will do), but to retreat into a place where it’s okay for me to just be quiet about the things I’m learning or experiencing because not everyone will understand.
I guess I could rightly say that I’m going on a retreat with Jesus this year – but I’m also going to be out and about in ways that are stewarding the call to minister which the Lord has placed on my life. It’s sounds like an oxymoron, but there you have it. I’ll be retreating into a journey of knowing Jesus more AND I’ll be seeing you around this year!
Jesus said this:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. Jn 14:27 NRSV
Here are my questions or curiousities that I hope will be answered in a personally transforming way this coming year:
p.s. I’m also a little afraid, but I will hold onto your invitation to not let my heart be troubled and afraid. I’m confident you’ve got this and you’ve got me.
Falling into Jesus’ invitation,