I stood at the lectern on Sunday morning, looking out at the faces of my new congregation. Mostly strangers stared back at me – strangers that would come to know me first as a student pastor before anything else. I took a deep breath and said, “Good morning and welcome. My name is Melissa Yosua, and I will be serving as your new student pastor. I am a second year Masters of Divinity Student at
I knew from the second I stood up there that this time reading as a lay liturgist would be completely different from any other time I have ever served as such. Sure, I had read scripture and been the lay leader many times over the course of my lifetime. Yet this time, something was profoundly different. As soon as the words “student pastor” escaped my lips, I was no longer “just another lay person.” I entered into that amorphous phase of “not laity, but not yet clergy” – just like a teenager who is not a child anymore, but not yet an adult.
I see my time with them as such – a gangly and awkward teenage-type pastor, struggling to find her footing and herself in the great, big world of ministry. I imagine there will be growing pains, times that I will struggle for independence, and times that I will need to be “grounded,” so to speak – sent back to my room for reflection, contemplation, and a rerooting myself in the familiar. There will be times when I can’t wait to fly, full and confident, and situations where I will revert to a shy and insecure pastor-in-training, unsure yet wanting to try.
This past Sunday marked a significant shift in the way others perceive me, and in the way I perceive myself. I am in a new phase of life, new phase of ministry, and a new phase of the calling that God has placed upon my soul. I became “the Student Assistant Pastor” (lovingly called, the “sap”), and I am blessed to be with a congregation and a pastor who is as excited about the journey as I am. I am excited, scared, fascinated, thrilled, and nervous about the process, but together we will learn and grow into the people that God has called us to be.