My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Called Up

Stacy and John mentioned, almost in passing one day, "Do you want to be ordained as a pastor?"

It took me by surprise.

Titles don't mean a thing to me. In fact, I am someone who avoids things like this.

When I first began to lead worship in prayer gatherings in the States, I loved it because I could sit in the back of the room, lead, and usher others into the Presence. It didn't require me to be front and center. 

And when I moved here to Ghana, I was good for the first year because I taught my little class of students and I knew how to teach, so I was completely comfortable with that calling.

In those places, I felt confident. I felt in control. I felt equipped. I felt knowledgeable.

But, God never leaves us in places where we are comfortable. He desires us to grow. To be stretched. 

And before I knew it, I was the principal of this school in Ghana. I didn't know anything about school administration. I didn't know anything about teacher training. I definitely didn't know anything about running a school in Ghana! I felt completely out of my depth. 

But that was where I needed to be, because if I knew what I was doing, I would have been tempted to take the glory. But this school, it had nothing to do with me. God did it. 

And as I now operate as a director, I can still stand firm in that sentiment...God is doing it. If you only knew how many times a week I think to myself, "What am I doing?", "How will I do this?", "I have no idea what I am doing."...you would wonder why I am still here. But I am here because I know God called me to go, and I am here because I was obedient to His call on my life. I am here because God has gifted me with something that I have to pass along to my fellow teachers, to these students, to my kids.

And now, I lead a worship team on an almost weekly basis...and God is doing it. If you knew how many times I have thought to myself, "I am not as musically gifted as her.", "He sings and plays with such confidence.", "I can't lead with authority like her.". I cannot do it in my own strength. I have to push myself to get better on my guitar, get better vocally, be on the forefront of whatever worship is new out there now, and be willing to learn songs in new languages and lead them with confidence.

It is a constant state of growing. Of stretching.

I keep envisioning a lizard and how they grow, shedding their old skin and leaving it behind so they can stretch out even more.

When we walk with God, we are like that too. 

So, when Stacy asked me about being ordained as a pastor, my first response was surprise. My first reaction was uncertainty. Honestly, I felt like maybe it wasn't necessary, like I didn't fit the description.

The past two days, we have been undergoing teachings on pastoral ministry with Apostle Judy Shaw and Bishop McCargo, who came to Ghana to do our ordination ceremony. More than anything else, the overwhelming definition of a pastor is not just someone who preaches or evangelizes. A pastor is a servant-leader, someone who exemplifies Jesus, and loves people purely and wholly with the love of the Father and trains and equips those around them to walk out their own callings.

I'm not a preacher (though I would say I have grown in my ability to teach Biblical truth), and I'm not an evangelist (I love the one on one so much more than crowds of people), but I do get servant-leadership. I do get attempting to exemplify Jesus to the world. That, I understand and can try to walk in. I understand how to train and build up and equip.

And today, I realized, that this calling on my life, it is pastoral. I have been "pastoring" here for the past five years, whether I wanted the title or not. And there is something happening here at CORM, a spiritual "calling up", and I can't stay comfortable in what I have known. My skin is too tight. God wants me to break free and walk out the new authority He is placing on me.

So, this Sunday, I am being ordained as a Pastor.

And I am trusting that as I begin to walk out this new calling in my life, He will continue to expand me, stretch me, grow me. Call me up.

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