Each year the Free Methodist Church celebrates our incoming elders – leaders who have dedicated themselves to God’s work in the world. Lindsey Sinnott shares her story of how she first experienced God in her life, how she made the decision to enter into ministry, and why she chose to serve in the Free Methodist Church.
# How did you first experience God and choose to follow Christ?
I have grown up in a family that has always been a part of the church, so in some ways, it feels like I have always known Christ. My parents raised my brother and I in a home where we were taught the importance of the Christian story, and we both attended a Christian school growing up. In light of this, I was surrounded by people who were doing their best to point me toward God.
Despite this, it was not until I was in high school that I really felt like my faith was my own, and I still remember the day that I felt that God was actually talking to me. I was a teenager sitting in our youth service at my church. Instead of a normal service with music and a sermon etc. our pastor decided that we were just going to have a night of singing. I was sitting in the back and distinctly remember feeling that I needed to choose to follow Christ myself. Not because I always had or because my family did, but because his grace was extended to me, and I needed to respond. This was a turning point for me.
# How did the Spirit guide you to your current ministry and what has God called you to do through your ministry?
For years, I’ve felt called to be a part of theological education and the instruction of both undergrad and seminary students. In my role as an associate professor of theological research at Azusa Pacific, I have been able to work with and teach students, guiding them through how to properly study Scripture, theology, and the application of these in a tangible, practical form in their own lives and the life of the church. While not all students come from a Free Methodist background (or even a Wesleyan one), the very way we teach and what we teach helps to shape students who may continue on to become future pastors, ministers, and lay leaders.
While there are many ways that students are developed over the course of their studies, one of my core goals is to help develop students who are competent exegetes of Scripture, researchers in theology/church history, and who are equipped to apply these in practical ways. From the perspective of our own tradition, John Wesley demonstrated that theory/knowledge and practice always need to be linked. Knowing how to study Scripture or theology is not good enough on their own. They need to have a direct impact upon how we live our lives and how we operate as the Church. It’s my hope to help students navigate this process.
In addition to my work at Azusa Pacific, I also feel called to be engaged at the local church level. While I definitely see myself as primarily called to work with students as a part of their theological education, I strongly believe that there also needs to be a bridge between academia and the local church.
# How did you come to first be involved with the Free Methodist Church and why have you chosen to continue your ministry as an Elder in the Free Methodist Church?
I first became involved with the FMC 13 years ago, when I was a freshman in college. I had been visiting different local churches hoping to find a church home and from the moment I came to Foothill Community Church I knew that I had found a community that was dedicated to joining in on God’s work in the world, and I wanted to be a part of that! My time at FCC has further confirmed my desire to apply for a ministry appointment in the FMC, and I could not imagine a better place to do ministry. I greatly value the FMC’s view on women in leadership/ministry, service to the poor, work in/for justice, and our vast Wesleyan heritage that emphasizes our response to God’s grace in a way that leads to us acting on that grace by getting in on God’s work.
Wesleyan theology and the Free Methodist Church have also been foundational components to my own faith and understanding. They have shaped the way I view my relationship with God and with others, and they continue to influence the way I believe, live, and teach.