The Bittersweet Side of a Call to Ministry

If you’ve either read any of my previous blogs or you know me personally, then you know a few things: 1) FUMC Fort Worth is my home, it is the church that raised me, 2) I will be starting my Master of Divinity at Brite Divinity School on August 26, and 3) I am pursuing my M.Div. because I heard my call to ministry as a high school student in the very ministry that I’ve been serving in as an intern for the last three summers.

I can’t thank Andrew Mochrie, Kat Bair, Matt Britt, and Brenda Kegans enough for letting me be on their team. The past three summers have been full of learning and teaching and failures and a whole lot of Jesus. Serving as the youth intern in my home church has been the biggest blessing. I have been challenged to push myself as a leader, and I felt safe to make mistakes because I was surrounded by people who wanted to help me get better.

As I prepare to wrap up my third and final internship with the youth department, I am proud to say that I have so much more confidence in my abilities now than I did as a rising junior in college when I first interned, but I find myself almost in a state of grief. My call to ministry is exciting and there is nothing else I’d rather do in the world, but it also means that soon I will be serving and attending a different church.

The bittersweet side of a call to ministry is having to step away from the place that you call home, because there’s only so much growth you can do in a place that’s known you since you were eight years old. FUMCFW has spoiled me — the building itself is striking, the people who seek refuge in its walls are my family, the clergy and staff have loved and mentored me through family and faith crises, and I know who Jesus is without a shadow of a doubt because of the people here who showed up. 

I was baptized by Dr. Lamar Smith, went through Confirmation with Rev. Phyllis Barren, fell in love with worship music because of Mark Burrows, navigated the tough teenage years and my calling with Rev. Casey Orr, learned to love traditional worship and liturgy because of Dr. Tim Bruster and Rev. Linda McDermott, learned to love big and laugh often from Dr. Mike Marshall, learned how to plan curriculum and events and what to do when things don’t go according to plan from Kat Bair and Matt Britt, have seen what selflessness looks like from volunteers like Ann McIntyre, Jillian Voelker, Tami Vardy, and Ben and Diane Fisher, and have grown to be a better friend because of Janet Ball, Sandy Williams, Phyllis Barren, and my mom, Elaine Johnson.

As sad as I am to have to start loving FUMCFW from afar in the upcoming months, I know this place has prepared me well for what lies ahead. Thank you to anyone reading who has been a part of my story, and to anyone reading who doesn’t know me, I promise you are making a difference in someone else’s story because you continue to show up. FUMCFW has been and will continue to be a special place; it will always be my home; it is forever a part of my story.

Grace & Peace,

Jenny Spidell
Youth Ministries Intern


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