My call to ministry came in the form of a recurring dream.
The dreams started while I was living on a military installation in southern California. I would see people crammed in my closet screaming for help and I would awaken saying, ‘I have to help the people.’
I thought the dream might be location-specific, but when I moved to Missouri, I continued to have the same dream, but with the people crammed into my garage.
While in Missouri, I was active in church, serving in Sunday School and the Missionary Society. I taught Children’s Church and ran the food pantry, but I couldn’t help but feel that there was more for me to do. I officially accepted my call into ministry after speaking at a Missionary service,. As soon as I told the Lord yes, I never had those dreams again.
After receiving Deacon’s orders in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, I pastored two churches over a period of six years. In 2015 I was moved to St. Luke AME Church in Kansas City, KS. During that time, I realized that to be an effective Christian leader, I needed to further my education. I left St. Luke to attend MTS as a full time MDiv student.
I am a single mom to adult children, Xavier and Ceara, and a grandmother to Nayaire. This adventure to Memphis and MTS is my first all alone. The support of my Formation for Ministry group has been irreplaceable during this transition.
My favorite classes, so far, have been Formation for Ministry and Pastoral Care classes. They both stress the importance of active listening. It is important for effective leaders to hear with compassion the needs of the people they serve and be willing to take action to meet those needs.
I will serve as a Formation for Ministry leader for the 2019-2020 academic year. I think the Formation program is a critical component for the ongoing spiritual well-being of seminarians, faculty and students alike. I am looking forward to being a support to others while learning and growing with the program.
I love MTS because it is an established community of Christian scholars and ministry leaders that welcomes, embraces and supports aspiring leaders from a variety of denominations. I’ve felt like I belong in this family from day one.
My time at Memphis Theological Seminary has reinforced my belief that I am called by God to serve God’s people through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
–Stephanie Pendleton-Dorsey, M.Div Student