December 2022 News Perspective Online

Student Spotlight: Kristin Steed

Kristin Steed jokes that, the older she gets, the more pages it will take to chronicle the story of her call to ministry. The journey has been a bit circuitous, but she’s certain she’s on the right path.

Steed, 39, was raised in a non-denominational church but converted to Catholicism by the time she got to high school. After meeting her Southern Baptist husband in college, and marrying in 2009, they began attending Christ United Methodist Church in Plano.

“The Methodist church was good in-the-middle ground,” she said. “I liked the traditions; we both loved the sermons around grace.”

Steed earned an M.B.A. at the University of Texas at Dallas and worked in corporate marketing, handling social media for the Container Store. Her goal was to eventually work her way up to Chief Marketing Officer for a large company. Christ United was her after-hours passion; she and her husband joined an adult Sunday School class,

“That became our second family and our community,” she said.

Then her first child was born. Juggling work and family became too much. To have a more flexible schedule, Steed started freelancing, handling social media for small businesses. Soon the church asked her for help with social media posting. In 2018, she became the church’s Communications Director, and a few years later, Adult Ministry Coordinator.

“None of this was planned, at least not by our own admission,” she said. “But once I was on staff, I really embraced and loved it.”

A Clear Call

Steed remembers the date – September 8, 2019 – when she felt the first clear call to pastoral ministry. That was the day the church hosted a big event, called Belong, to engage members of the community in small groups. Steed volunteered to share her testimony and spoke during the service that day.

“Right after I sat down, sitting on the chancel, I heard a voice say, ‘You should do this,’” she recalled. “My initial response was, ‘Do what? You’re crazy.’”

She wasn’t ready to make a big change. She felt she could minister to others in other ways, by leading small groups or Bible studies.

“This call was in my heart, but I kept pushing it down — until the pandemic happened,” she said. “Once the outside world got quiet – I could not deny the call anymore.”

She confided these stirrings with her husband and her mom, but otherwise kept them to herself. But others sensed it. One day, she led a devotional at a staff meeting. Afterward, her pastor, the Rev. Chris Dowd (M.Div. ‘07) told her, “I keep wondering when you’re going to ask me about becoming a pastor.”

“That’s when I knew it was time to take the call seriously,” Steed said. “I talked to Perkins that following Friday.”

Courage over Comfort

Steed has a mantra, words from the author Brené Brown: “Choose courage over comfort. Choose whole hearts over armor. And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid. At the exact same time.”

She embraced the new adventure and answered the call to ministry. Today, Steed is a second-year M.Div. student and a certified candidate as an elder in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

She feels a strong desire to preach and teach, but also believes her corporate background enriches her ministry. She’s especially passionate about the administrative and strategic pieces of church ministry.

Perkins was a clear choice, given its proximity to her home in Plano.

“Chris Dowd talked a lot about Dr. Roy Heller and Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, and I’ve been intentional about taking their classes, which were incredible,” she said. “I’ve been in other master’s programs; at Perkins, I’m just amazed by the kindness and the humility of the faculty. That allows students to bring their curiosity and their vulnerabilities to this serious business we’re in.”

Family, work at the church and her studies fill Steed’s days. She and her husband, Trent, have been married 15 years, and have two children, Lyla and Nora.

“My daughters have both been extremely important in this process, as I’m studying,” she said. “They like to quiz me.”

Being a mom and a full-time student hasn’t been easy, but Steed has found support from a group of fellow students she met during orientation at Perkins. They’re all moms, and they’ve nicknamed themselves the “Seminary Sisters.” The women frequently share texts, photos and words of encouragement. They’ve even taken a day retreat together.

“These classmates have helped me get through seminary as a mom,” she said.

To recharge herself spiritually, Steed enjoys taking long walks with the family’s rescue dog, Lucy. “I try to do it without podcasts or music,” she said. “I just walk around the neighborhood and spend time with God.”