I never envisioned becoming a senior pastor. I wasn’t even sure women should be pastors. In college, I was a history major. I spent time interning within my field, but I began to feel like I was made for something different. The summer after college I still hunted for a job in my field, but I ended up taking a secretary position at a local Vineyard church.
As I began to take on projects in that position, the pastor called out leadership within me. Soon our regional leader invited me into a pastoral leadership training group. I wasn’t sure about doing it. Growing up I had been taught that women could serve in ministry to one another or children, but that they should not teach men and they certainly should not pastor. I was feeling called to take on leadership, but I still felt uneasy. I cried through much of the first meeting.
At the end, my regional leader came over to me and prayed that I would be released to be who God was calling me to be. I went home, read through scripture, prayed, and studied what I could find on men and women in the Kingdom. I read Vineyard Columbus Pastor Rich Nathan’s paper on women in leadership, and as I sought God’s heart on the matter of gender roles, I experienced more confidence that I was permitted to serve Him in a pastoral capacity. A few months later, our pastor came to me to talk about becoming an associate pastor. I still didn’t think that women could be senior pastors, but I felt like God was asking me to say yes to this position.
A year after becoming a pastor, our senior pastor announced that he was moving on and asked me to consider assuming his role. It wasn’t in my realm of comfort, but I decided to pray and seek counsel from Vineyard leaders. I had a lot of people speak confirmation into it, but I had a few very strong opponents. These were folks who were close to my heart and it hurt when they thought I was seeking my own advancement and not the Father’s will. It was a painful few months, but through much prayer and counsel, I felt God was leading me to become the church’s next senior pastor.
I know now that God has called me to this and that He has specifically made a way for this to happen. If you’re thinking you’re made for this type of ministry too, here are some things I’ve learned:
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to protect my time with the Father and allow Him to be the One who defines who I am and what I am called to do.
Know Your Identity In Christ
You need to know who you are in Christ and what He made you for. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to protect my time with the Father and allow Him to be the One who defines who I am and what I am called to do. Letting the world define you is very dangerous; everyone has an opinion that may or may not line up with the Father’s view of you. Get settled in who He made you to be and be bold enough to declare that when people try and tell you otherwise.
I attribute the School of Kingdom Ministry for helping me learn who I am in Christ. Through the 9-month training school, I experienced healing from lies that were keeping me from being a healthy leader. I also found a Spirit-led counselor to help me work through areas of past hurt that God was bringing to the surface during the early months of being senior pastor. Having strong counsel, prayerful friends, and daily time with the Father is critical to working through what He reveals.
Connect to the Movement
As a young leader, I am constantly reaching out to others for insight and wisdom. There is absolutely no reason to walk in leadership alone. We are part of a great movement that gives away everything we’ve got. I’ve met pastors of hundreds and thousands, all of whom were willing to talk to me and share what they’ve learned over the years. I am grateful for an absence of competition and the quickness to pray, resource, and encourage one another on the leadership journey.
If you are called to the Vineyard, jump in with both feet. Get plugged in because you have a family here to support you. Get a coach from Multiply Vineyard, connect with Vineyard Women, reach out to your regional and area leader, and talk to other pastors!
I know that women in the Vineyard have paved the way for me. As I’ve watched women move in increased freedom in our movement, I have seen fruit. God is blessing them for obeying Him. I am so grateful to be able to learn from them and as I continue in my calling, I want to give my time and energy to encouraging and equipping other women.
If you’re discerning your purpose, join us for a webinar on Finding My Calling As a Woman Church Planter on Wednesday, December 6 at 11am CDT. Register here.
Brittney grew up in Waterford, NY. She graduated from Siena College in 2010 with a degree in History and a calling to serve God in full-time ministry. Not knowing exactly what that meant, Brittney began serving at the Alpha Pregnancy Care Center and accepted a part-time position as the church administrator of the Vineyard Church. Through the leadership of other pastors in the Vineyard, God prepared Brittney to shepherd His people. In 2015, Brittney was licensed as an associate pastor at the church. When the senior pastor announced his desire to move on, the Lord laid on the hearts of others that she should assume the role of senior pastor. On November 13, 2016, Brittney became the third senior pastor of Spindle City Vineyard Church.