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:
- A number of years of biblical studies and a life of continued devotion and study to the Living Word of God
- a life cracked open and high levels of accountability
- A life of humilty and willingness to be transformed
- A personal relationship with Jesus Christ
- A life of loving and serving others
- Knowing my why for pursuing this path, which is simply this: I felt the Holy One calling me to
- A communal interview (twice!) with all men asking the questions (about 5, I think), but I thank the Lord Rev. Elaine (she’s going to cringe when she sees I typed that, but I want her to know it was done to honor her journey!) was in the room. There is something unnerving for a female leader to be – even though among brothers and friends – interviewed and questioned by all men. (Sorry guys, it’s important to acknowledge this truth for many female leaders.)
- Allowing others to speak about (with me never seeing their words) their assessment of my character and my spiritual life and my life of service (or non-service if that were to be the case)
- Allowing others to question and deeply examine my journey, my devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and my theological positions (I welcomed this, it mattered to me!)
- Being in alignment with the PAOC doctrines and beliefs and willing to discuss, in the appropriate places, when I’m not sure we’re right (I’m part of the Body of Christ, the POAC is my family unit)
- Communal discernment of whether or not I was indeed called to Christian Ministry (for me also a form of leadership in the Church; I’m especially passionate about developing Christian leaders) or if there might be a better fit as something else
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,
Carmen & Ashley invest in others so they can lead and live better. They are the co-founders of LEAD Women.