Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing woman minister. Today we are pleased to introduce you to Jamie McCallum.
Jamie, tell us about your current ministry?
I am the associate pastor for youth and congregational life at First Baptist Church of Waco, Texas.
What are some of the experiences that you had that helped you discern a call to ministry?
The call to ministry for me has come from God’s grace to live in the ”Yes” of each season. On a youth mission trip in high school, I first felt that unique tug at my heart that convinced me that God was working and was allowing me to be a part of something bigger than myself. The day we returned home, I remember telling my parents that God was calling me to the mission field. They were kind and supportive and pretty sure this conviction would soon pass! But the opportunities to say “Yes”—those nudges from the Spirit–just kept coming.
Doors opened for more trips—each shaping me a bit more than the one before. A year into my college experience a friend asked me to help her begin a ministry for international students on our campus. As soon as she asked, I felt that tug and couldn’t help but say, “Yes!” At a conference a few months later, the speaker told about what God was doing in the Middle East, and in the silence of my dorm room later that night, I heard God ask if I would serve there. With the question, came that familiar tug on my heart and a shaky “Yes” in response. After two wonderful years in Egypt, it was time to say “Yes” to seminary, where I expected to become better equipped for the ministry to which I had already said “Yes” many times before.
I did not expect for those halls and classrooms at my seminary to be places where the Spirit’s invitations and nudges would keep on coming. At times, God’s grace came as the ability to say “Yes” to a deconstructed and reconstructed theology and world-view. At times, I stumbled upon God’s grace in the opportunity to say “Yes” to chaplaincy and non-profit work, and then it came with the invitation to even give youth ministry a try. In it all, God has been shaping me, it seems, to respond with one big “Yes” to the church. Each of these small “Yeses” along the way has formed in me a love for preaching, worshiping, serving, and ministering alongside the people of God as we strive for the Kingdom of God as one.
Who has inspired you in your ministry journey?
My biblical inspiration has been Abraham. While studying his call in a seminary scriptures class, God revealed my own call to me. His story was contrasted with the people of Babel, who were building a tower to make a name for themselves. On the other end of their story is this God who comes to Abram, an unknown man from an unknown place, and promises that he is up to something in Abraham’s life that will be for the good of all. In class that day, the Lord spoke a calling into my heart as well, asking me to trust in a calling that I could not have planned and could not control. God assured me he was up to something and warned me that some days it would feel like he was up to nothing. In both cases, God asked me to trust and let him direct that promise and the path.
My greatest personal inspiration has to be my grandfather. He is a ninety-four-year-old retired Baptist preacher. His entire life has been one of service to the church and longing for the lost. I called him on a Saturday a few months back and asked what he was doing. “Oh, just working on a sermon,” he said. I didn’t think he had preached in several years as his physical and mental health have declined. “Are you preaching tomorrow?” I asked surprised and a bit concerned! “Oh no,” he said. “But I just thought I had better be ready in case someone needs me.” His life at ninety-four is still dedicated to God and to the church. I hope others will be able to say the same about me in each season of my life.
What advice would you give to a teenage girl who is sensing a call to ministry?
Live fully into the “Yes” you have been given today. Plug into one or some of the ministries in your church and community. Invest deeply in the relationships God has already placed in your path. When a door opens to serve God in a way you have never served before, don’t immediately walk away assuming you are too inexperienced, too young, or too afraid. These doors may be significant to your future calling. There is no doubt they could be significant to your calling today!
Ask a woman in ministry if she will be your mentor and friend. I bet she will jump at the invitation! She may even see your request as God’s invitation for her to keep on saying “Yes,” to new doors in her path. What you are learning about faith, trust, and obedience, we are still learning too. And so help us as we help you say “Yes” to those divine tugs and nudges together.