Our theme for 2018 is “The Life.” Today we explore that theme with…
The Life of…. a female youth minister married to a male elementary school teacher
Megan is a huge University of Tennessee fan who grew up in Knoxville. After graduating from Carson Newman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a minor in Education, she discerned a call to ministry and interned at her home church, First Baptist Church of Knoxville, with the students and children. Upon completing her internship, she began studies at McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta. During seminary, she interned at Johns Creek Baptist Church, working with students and children. She graduated in May 2014 with her Masters of Divinity in Christian education and congregational ministry. After graduation, she served at First Baptist Church, Huntsville, Alabama as the Student Ministry Resident. Megan understands her passion for relationship-building as guiding her call to serve with students. She loves traveling and just hanging out with her friends and family. Megan and her husband Brian live in Aiken, SC where she is the Associate Minister in Student Ministries at Aiken’s First Baptist Church.
When most people think about a youth minister and an elementary school teacher, the roles are usually reversed, but not in my family.
I grew up in a church where women were deacons and even ministers. My children’s minister and youth minister was a female. I thought women being in these roles was a normal thing. It wasn’t until college when I realized that I was one of the lucky ones, growing up in a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Church that valued women in ministry. When I began the process to look at Seminaries I realized quickly which ones would not accept me into their program.
While attending McAfee School of Theology, I began interviewing for potential full time ministry positions beginning of my third year. I kept going back between children’s ministry and youth ministry and could not decide where my heart was for the longest time. I interviewed at a church for their children’s ministry position. I was excited going into this interview, because I heard wonderful things about the church and the location was great. One of the first questions I was asked by the pastor was if I was married or engaged. I said, “no sir, but I am dating someone really seriously.” The conversation quickly shifted from asking me about my heart and passion for children’s ministry to, “what does he do? Will he move to where you are? What if he gets a job somewhere else? “so on and so on. At one point, I was thinking to myself, do I need to call him so they can talk. And, it gets better. I was walking out and one of the other ministers tracked me down and said, “this town isn’t really for single people.” I said, “thank you, but I am not single.” I realized this was not the place for me. The pastor was obviously more worried about the person I was dating then the ministry that I did.
Fast forward to another interview where the search committee couldn’t decide if they wanted a male or a female for the job. I do not believe it is a decision by gender, but by your calling and passion for ministry. In some instances, search committees at a church want a young male who is married, so the wife can minister to the females. Which leads me to one more interview where I was asked, “so, since you are a female, how do you plan to relate to the male students?” My words back to him were, “sir, there are times that I relate better to the males then the females.” A guy in that same interview process would not have gotten that question. It was during that search process where I realized my heart was being a student minister. I didn’t need to let the fear of not getting a youth job change my calling. I knew it would be harder to become a youth minister without a spouse by my side.
I always knew the person I wanted to marry would also have to feel a call to be able to walk next to me in this messy world of ministry. I never expected him to be at everything and to do everything, but to just be there and build relationships.
I was blessed to meet a guy during my time in seminary that understood my calling to the local church. He was not in seminary, but his dad was a minister. My husband’s heart is to teach young children. He is a Third-Grade teacher, and he is great! Before the beginning of this current school year, one my friends posted a prayer on Facebook that asked for wisdom, strength, and patience for teachers. But what got me upset was that the prayer for the teacher addressed the teacher as “she.” I began thinking about how the stereo-types of our jobs are reversed.
In most eyes, my husband should be the youth minister, and I should be the elementary school teacher. In our house, it isn’t the case. I love being a student minister and he loves being an elementary school teacher. Do our rolls cross at times; absolutely. I will come in and help him with bulletin boards, because we all at some point have to be creative at church with those, and he attends retreats and camps. He teaches my students, plays ultimate with them, and builds meaningful relationships with them. I totally lucked out!
See, when you put a stereo-type on a job, or calling, at times you scare people away from their true calling. The journey to where God is leading you is never easy, but when you stay true to that voice inside your heart telling you who you are God will guide your path. Parker Palmer says, his book, Let Your Life Speak. “Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be the person I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be.” As someone who works with students, this is a quote that I tell to them all the time when they are picking a school or a profession because it is what they are supposed to do. I tell them my story, and how everyone out there did not understand why I wanted to be a minister, but that voice inside was telling me something different. I want my students to find their calling, even if it’s not what societal norms are expecting them to do. Fortunately for my husband and me, we both went against the societal norms, and listened to and responded to our true calling. Me, the female youth minister, and my husband, the male elementary teacher.