Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces a fabulous minister, and today we are pleased to introduce Sara Clarke Turpin.
Sara, tell us about your current ministry position.
I serve at Buechel Park Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, as the associate pastor of spiritual formation. I have the joy of working especially with our children, youth, and their families.
What are a few of the challenges you have encountered along the way?
Women in ministry have come a long way in recent years, but we still have a long way to go. As a teenager, I never even considered that ministry was an option for me, even though I felt a call that I could not describe. As I found my way into church leadership and into seminary, I was optimistic about the opportunities that I realized were available to me. But I soon realized how far the church has yet to go. I was shocked when I encountered sexual harassment, discrimination, and lack of opportunity for women in ministry. While I am excited about the advancements churches have made toward equality, I hope we do not forget that there is still much to be done.
Another challenge for me has been the amount of transition I have experienced while on a church staff. I have been in ministry for almost seven years, and half of that time, the church I was serving was without a permanent senior pastor. Periods of transition are often filled with anxiety and fear for congregations (and ministers!) as we navigate what has happened and what is to come. It has certainly been a pastoral challenge for me to continue to offer stability and the reminder of hope during interim times.
Finally, impostor syndrome is no joke! I encountered an article about this challenge a few years ago and I about jumped out of my seat yelling “Yes! See, this is a thing!”
Who has inspired you along the way as you have lived out your calling?
Many have inspired me, including my husband, my parents, my husband’s parents, my seminary professors and fellow students, my church members, and so many others. I cannot choose just one or two to highlight. It truly has been a village of people who have inspired, guided, mentored, and encouraged me to live out my calling.
What is the best ministry advice you have ever been given?
Following seminary, I took one unit of CPE and learned to ask myself, “How is this person’s story my story?” My approach to ministry was forever changed as I explored who I was and how that influenced what I heard, said, and did. As I learned to bring more of myself to ministry and to be aware of how my own experiences and personality influenced my understanding of other people, my pastoral identity felt so much more authentic.