What to Wear When Riding a Stuffed Giraffe: Suit Jacket or No?

Confession time: I'm afraid to become a professional pastor.

Not that I'm afraid of full-time ministry.

Not that I'm afraid of getting paid for it.

Not that I'm afraid to devote my life to it.

Just that I'm afraid of becoming a professional, an image, a brand. 

I don't want to drive a car that says "PASTOR" on the license plate. And I don't want my email address to be PastorKessiaReyne@knee-mail.net. And I don't want to be a ministry idea machine with a weekly newsletter. And I don't want my blogs to become a series of polished press releases. And I don't want to become an Adventist celebrity. I don't want to be anything else except 

 a person 

 following Jesus 

 in the world. 

I've come to realize that my discipling (formal and informal pastoring) has its source in my experience with Jesus. 

>>My experience

with Jesus

means that I'm not enough and never will be. Without Him, I'm a cistern, a broken cistern, and I have no water for the spiritually thirsty. But also


My experience

with Jesus means that my discipling comes through my personality, it is informed by my life, it is made up of the data of my senses, it is woven into my character, it comes out in my language. 

So when I counsel and pray and explain and defend and preach and confront and write and persuade and question: it's


doing it, not some Internet personality with a suit jacket on. Ask me about theodicy and I'll tell you a story. Offer me the pulpit and I'll preach to each person as intimately as possible. Give me your hurts and I'll be silent for a long time; like, an awkward amount of time. Invite me to dinner and I'll come with eyeliner on (not bells, for the record). Because that, my homies, is how I roll. 

*[I think this has to do with my fear of losing my identity in other people's expectations. Jeans at church. Eyeshadow. Feminist poetry. Post-hardcore praise. (Is that what makes me, me?) (What does it mean to be authentic?)]

** [It probably doesn't sound like it, but the intention of this post is not to judge "professional" ministers. These musings are just the outgrowth of my own reflection on how and why my personal style of ministry looks different from many other people's style. God uses those "professional" pastors in ways that are powerful and that, honestly, I don't even aspire to.]