Moving Her Feet
In the office where she works as senior tax manager, 45-year-old Sina Lackey has posted a sticky note that says, “Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet.”
This popular quote, from an anonymous source, reminds her why she enrolled in the M.Div. program on the Charlotte campus of Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2012. They keep her going on the many days when “lunch hour” means staying at her desk to write a theology paper.
It took a while before Lackey, a certified public accountant, was “willing to move her feet” and follow God’s call to ministry. Even now, she says, “This ministry-seminary thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I love it—and God will get me through it.”
Attending seminary did not seem like a practical decision at first. Lackey had a full-time job in Charlotte. Her husband, Keith, unable to work because of a disability, needed extra care and support. But as Lackey took on more and more responsibilities as a volunteer in her United Methodist congregation, she realized, “Church work was something I couldn’t get enough of. It was something I couldn’t not do.”
The turning point came at a Methodist conference in summer 2012, when a worship leader gave an altar call inviting anyone who felt called to ministry to come forward. Lackey and several others responded.
“I think my feet moved before my head stopped me,” she says. “And everything fell into place after that.”
Lackey applied to Union’s Charlotte program, she says, “because it was local and I could go part-time. I didn’t have to relocate or quit my job in order to attend.” She also was glad to learn that Union offers a special track for students preparing for ministry in the United Methodist Church (UMC) in cooperation with Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and a local Methodist college.
Among the things she values most about her seminary education, Lackey says, are “the real-life-experience tidbits that professors offer from their own involvement in parish ministry.”
She has found the supportive relationships among professors and students at UPSem to be a refreshing change from the secular and corporate worlds. “There’s not a feeling of competiveness. We’re a team. Nobody’s here to get anybody—we’re all here to build each other up.”
Lackey looks forward to serving someday as pastor of a Methodist congregation. In the meantime, she says, “I take things one deadline at a time.” And when life gets stressful, she reminds herself, “God wouldn’t have brought me this far to let me go.”