Serving beyond church walls
Jordan believes in what she calls “bi-vocational ministry.” A full-time seminary student, the humanities graduate splits her time between a crisis calling center and preaching at a rural congregation. After she becomes an ordained minister, Jordan plans to continue serving both within and beyond church walls—spreading the message of God’s unconditional love from the pulpit and in daily interactions with others.
Describe your current roles. What are some of your key tasks from day to day?
As a voucher support specialist at Helpline Center, I speak with individuals who have increased levels of stress and anxiety and refer them to a therapist for additional support. I also provide them with a state-funded voucher for complete coverage of mental health services. Additionally, I am trained to use de-escalation and coping skills with individuals who call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
On weekends, I serve as assistant minister at Messiah Lutheran Church in Trent, South Dakota—a congregation located in the middle of a cornfield that has claimed a special place in my heart. I share preaching responsibilities with the head pastor and help lead worship services.
Why did you decide to study humanities?
When I first came to Northwestern, I already knew I wanted to go to seminary. A pastor from my hometown encouraged me to pursue something other than a religion degree to prevent burnout by the time I completed seminary. He had graduated from NWC with a humanities major, which seemed like it would provide me with a well-rounded education while also preparing me for seminary. I studied religion as my primary emphasis and history as a secondary emphasis.
How did NWC impact your faith?
As a college student, I spent significant time discerning what my faith looked like apart from my home church community. Eventually I was able to discover my voice and really claim my faith as my own. Real-life conversations in the dorm were a huge source of growth for me. For example, after discussing the practice of infant baptism in one of my religion courses, my friends and I talked about our home churches’ views of baptism, helping me to realize that I didn’t even know why my church practiced infant baptism. That conversation encouraged me to delve into the theology behind baptism with my pastor so I could determine exactly what I think about baptism and why.
What would you like to be doing in the next 5 or 10 years?
I’m going to continue being a humanities nut! I learned to embrace the side of myself that wants to take in a bit of everything. As more churches begin to accept a minister’s call as something that extends beyond the walls of the church, I’d like to continue to serve in a dual capacity—preaching on Sundays and serving elsewhere during the work week.
How did Northwestern prepare you to lead a life of significance?
Academically, I stand out among my seminary classmates and have excelled in a master’s level program. My religion studies at NWC equipped me to study Scripture and draw upon dictionaries and commentaries in my writing. Northwestern also taught me to build community from wherever I’m at—something I’ve been able to continue in my life beyond campus.