Nationwide and around the world, women are breaking glass ceilings in unprecedented numbers demonstrating their capacity and competency to lead in a broad spectrum of industries. Sadly, it is 2019 and Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) Doctor of Ministry candidate Lindsey Laszewski, describes herself as “an outlier” in the church environment.
“When I was looking for jobs, the number of possibilities in Connecticut was very tiny. So I started as an administrative assistant with a master’s degree and worked my way up—knowing that I was called to be a pastor. That’s where I had to start because there was no one who would hire me.”
Differences in theological beliefs unveiled opposition to her serving in a lead pastoral role. So vehemently opposed to her leadership, some families even left the church where she served and yet she continued on until she could no longer sustain the environment.
“It was the most stressful and the hardest year in ministry and I didn’t know how to proceed. I recognized the gifts and the call God placed on my life,” Lindsey explains. She adds, “If didn’t do anything or go somewhere to have those gifts stewarded, I knew I would step out of ministry forever.”
Lindsey’s hope was restored after conversations with ATS D.Min. Director Dr. Martin Sanders and Program Coordinator Kevin Kreisel. With their encouragement and blessing, she enrolled in the D.Min. program and has finished her first year.
“I recognized I needed soul care and somewhere to help me stretch and grow and be reminded of the call that God gave me. In multiple conversations, I recognized that the ATS D.Min. could help launch me forward and set the stage for my next 30-40 years in ministry.”
The ATS Master of Divinity alumna says, “It became evident that this was going to be a safe place to rediscover who God made me to be, what He equipped me for and the tasks He was calling me into to establish my place and role in His Kingdom.”
While this reasoning for pursuing the doctoral degree was logical, she admits that there were moments of negative self-talk: “ I have two young kids, ages 2 and 5, and am pregnant with a third due January 2020. This is crazy! This is not the most opportune moment of my life.” But a louder voice prevailed and she concluded, “I have to go for it!”
It was as early as the first module of classes that her decision to enter the program was affirmed. “It literally changed my life including my relationship with God and with my spouse. It is a joy for me to say to God, “All I can do is offer me and You can have it all.” I had read books and devotionals on the concept of obedience, submission to the Lord, yet nothing changed. And then in one instant, I walked out of that first class a different person.”
After such a transformational breakthrough, Lindsey is candid about what might be the next step. “I’m still sifting and sorting out next step. God has called me to pastor and to be honest…I’m not trying to be prideful…I’m good at it!”
A clear path to her future in ministry may not be solidified for Lindsey. Instead of focusing on where she is not welcomed to serve, her eye is on reaching an underserved population of the church.
“In New England, so many churches are closing their doors. I long to see church done differently. We’re missing the 20-to-35-year-olds. In small churches that’s just not sustainable.” As this passion continues to surface, her conversation with God is, ‘What are you birthing in me? There is something You’re stirring in the depths of my soul.”
“ATS has something that other seminaries do not have,” she states emphatically. “One of the best things about the D.Min. program is that is not about jumping through academic hoops. It’s developed to produce life change and sustain you in ministry, teaching you skills that will help you go the distance. I have too many friends in ministry who have burned out. Learning how to sustain the ministry that God has for your life is what ATS offers its students.”
Without a doubt, the flames of that growing fire are being fanned at Alliance Theological Seminary where Lindsey is stretching, growing and being reminded of her God-given gifts.
Learn more about the ATS D.Min. program.