About Pastor Kellie Ann
Salvation and Calling
My process of becoming a woman pastor has been an unique experience. When I was just eight years old, the deep desire of being a leader in the church started to burn within. I attended the Baptist Church for a few years. My heart burned with a desire to preach like our pastor or even the amazing missionaries we met each month. Unfortunately during those early years, I also became a childhood survivor of sexual abuse. My parents were small business entrepreneurs: They worked long hours 7 days a week. The people who cared for me took advantage of my parents and abused me. Hence, I eventually lost hope that Jesus, whom I now call Yeshua, cared about me, and I left the church at age 12. The residual effects of the abuse caused me to develop childhood PTSD. It was a natural progression for me to become a teen mother at 16, and I married Paul at 17. My husband Paul was an abusive alcoholic; He enforced the mindset that women are to be submissive. At the age of 20, in July of 1986, I came back to Yeshua just months before my husband Paul died. I had just moved out of the homeless shelter with my two children and had a life-changing experience with God, whom I call Adonai. In this encounter, Adonai allowed me to see into my daughter’s soul. It was black, hollow, and empty. She was just under 3 years old. At that moment, I realized my daughter was a reflection of me. I immediately cried out to Adonai. Repenting, I said, “Forgive me. I have tried to do everything my way and it has failed, causing great pain for my children and me. I will do it your way, Adonai, for one year. I will obey Your Word 110%. At the end of that year, if You failed, I will return to my ways, and if You don’t fail, I will serve you for the rest of my Life.” (Hint, hint, Adonai did not fail :) ). The desire to be a pastor returned with a fervor. I knew I was at minimum supposed to be a leader in the church. What I did not know then was how much opposition I would receive from very well-intended Christians who would remind me that women were not allowed to be leaders in the church. At times, it felt similar to the forced submission I lived under with my late husband Paul. With great sorrow, I accepted this and submitted once again to this opinion. To compensate, I joined many different roles in the church. However, I still felt like something was missing. The Lifelong Marriage: At age 25, in 1991, I married Joshua, my beloved husband. He believed women could be in leadership in the church. This gave me hope, but unfortunately the churches we attended did not agree with Joshua. We found one small loophole: we could serve as a couple, which gave me some freedom as a woman. The Homeschooling Years: We raised the children and I homeschooled them. The homeschool environment also in many ways encouraged women to just stay home and serve their children and husband and not be leaders in the church. Although some were open to female church leadership, many were not. The College Years: So, I decided after the children grew up and moved out that I would go to school and become a counselor. I got a bachelor's degree in marriage and family therapy, which was written as a master's degree program because the license was new and they didn't know how else to write it, so I've got the best of the best education. Joshua and I did an internship with highly abused women for six months. These women had dissociative identity disorder DID/MPD, PTSD, CPTSD, schizophrenia, addiction, depression and more. Highly-traumatized women are of the most complicated population to work with, as they are often misdiagnosed and struggling with multiple layers of wounds that affect their identity, their self-confidence, and their ability to live healthy, engaging lives. I really enjoyed this time alongside these women. I also was working on my own PTSD issues as they surfaced over those six months and the years that followed. The Move to New Mexico and into Social Work: When we finished this internship, we moved to New Mexico (where we currently live) and I began working in the social work field with both male and female juvenile justice clients in a day-reporting system program. I then moved on to working with family reunification for family systems that had a history of incarceration and addiction. This was unique work, as I worked with the entire family in unique circumstances: helping grandparents who were raising the grandchildren while the parents were in jail, and every similar scenario you could imagine. This really tested my skills and multiplied my prayer life in the workplace. I found working in the prisons to be wonderful and rewarding. I found working with children to be wonderful and rewarding. I even began working with the state social services and met with many family systems. The Lord used me to help them get their children back home to lead successful lives. In many conversations between 2006 and 2009, I was frequently asked when I was getting my master's degree certification. I considered it, but was struggling with whether I should do a Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy or of Divinity so that I could become a pastor. Because I was very torn in my decision, I decided to delay it. Instead, I became a certified parent coach and a memory trainer. I traveled nationally around to both homeschool and church conferences. I spoke at many community colleges in their continuing education programs. I wrote a parenting curriculum, which I also used at the community college in New Mexico. I also wrote a book called Remember the Bible, teaching memory techniques for scripture memorization and personalizing the scriptures. During this time, I was doing pastoral counseling/parent coaching for a family. The mother had asked me if I would meet with her middle school daughter because she had been showing signs of distress. When I worked with children, I usually had the parent in the room at the same time; that way, the parent could witness these parenting/counseling type techniques and learn how to use them with their own children. In this situation, the middle schooler asked if I could just be alone with her. I said yes, and the mother decided she would just wait outside. The daughter drew a picture of a visitation with her father that was clearly depicting abuse and violence. I'd been trained in art therapy during my marriage and family training. I presented the picture to the mother with the daughter's permission, and the mother decided to go to court with the picture. The judge said that, because I did not have a master's degree and was not licensed, he would not accept the picture. He refused to even look at it. The combination of these things led me to really want to go back to school and get a master's degree. I again struggled with whether that master's degree should be in Marriage and Family Therapy or in Pastoral Counseling. When I looked at how the judge would consider evidence I may work with a client on, I realized that the marriage and family therapy could be considered non-evidence because it also had a strong religious component. For example, at the end of art therapy, I always ask the Lord to come and speak to the person doing the therapy and draw the Lord in their memory or issue. Then I considered the fact that pastoral counseling could also be considered non-evidence in the eyes of a judge because it would not make me a licensed therapist. However, as a pastor with a Master’s of Divinity, the judge could not throw out the evidence because pastors are mandated reporters and their testimonies are considered true evidence. The Calling and the Master’s Degree: I prayed and felt like the Lord showed me to do the Master’s of Divinity program at The King’s University. I went to school starting in the spring of 2013. In my heart, I really struggled because I was one of two women in the program. More women came in later, but everything seemed geared, once again, to a man in the role of Pastor. I enjoyed the biblical studies, but I did not enjoy the theology or the history of the church. Nonetheless, I continued to go out of obedience to what I felt the Lord was asking of me to do. The Challenges Begin: In January of 2015, I had a mini stroke. During the first 4-5 hours, I was unable to speak. My mind was clear, but I could neither speak nor move. While I was laying there, I had an incredible moment in which my heavenly father spoke to me and asked clearly: “are you done spinning your wheels?” I knew instantly what He meant. And I began to argue: “Yes Lord, I am willing to stop spinning my wheels and looking for reasons why women cannot be pastors. But You have to show me in Your scriptures where it says women can be pastors. Everything I've read or studied so far points to the interpretation that women cannot.” My loving Heavenly Father said He would prove it to me in His Word. The Proof’s in the Word: It was at this point, I began taking Biblical Hebrew as one of my course requirements. As I began to study scripture from the Jewish perspective and from Biblical Hebrew, it became apparent that the English translations often misunderstood the Biblical Hebrew or the Jewish culture, which clearly explain that women and men are equal. It explained that it is by the calling and the gifting of the heavenly father that people were called to be leaders in the body of the Lord. It was often interpreted in English that Deborah, who was a judge, was only so because no man would rise up to be the judge of Israel. In Biblical Hebrew, she met every requirement for a judge: one who was mature and raised children who were righteous. She is also the only judge that did not fall into sin during the time of her being a judge. For example, Samson fell into sin and had his eyes gouged out, and he was strapped to a millstone until the day of his death. As I studied the scriptures, I understood Biblical Hebrew and the Jewish culture around it all, and my heart began to be enlightened. I asked every professor from that point on to give me research projects that were related to women in scriptures. I wrote many papers on theology and Biblical interpretation of certain scriptures, and as each one spoke to my spirit, The Lord renewed my heart and passion for being a pastor. By the time I graduated, I had developed a strong understanding of the Lord's perspective on women in scriptures and their ability to be in full leadership roles, as long as he had called them to be there, anointed them for their work, and watched them lead a life of righteousness. These are the exact qualifications for men as well. In 2017 I started a home church which closed due to Covid 19. Then in 2020, I opened my church in an online interactive church. Currently, in September 2021, I will be starting a home church in Princeton TX. It is a true blessing to teach and serve each one of my congregants.