By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—Lindsey Shaffer, BCM/D’s newest missionary, knows her calling—to minister to those in poverty.
The recent graduate and young newlywed graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in special education, but halfway through her graduate studies she realized that teaching was not where God was calling her. She worked with schools where families were economically comfortable and with schools with children living in low-income housing. Her heart broke for the struggling families and she became aware that poverty ministry was where her passions lay. She also knew God was calling her to seminary.
“I didn’t want to go,” Lindsey said. The young woman said she told God she wasn’t going to be a statistic. She wasn’t going to be one of those women who go to seminary only to meet a man and get married. She wasn’t going for her “MRS” degree.
“I met my husband on the first day,” she laughed. “It was like God was laughing at me and saying ‘so, you think you’re going to tell me something!’”
In 2009 she graduated from Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., with a Master of Arts in Christian ministry and she married her husband, Brandon, one month after graduation.
As Lindsey pondered how God would use her various degrees and experience, her father, Mark Lydecker, a collegiate coordinator with the North American Mission Board, met with BCM/D Executive Director David Lee and Associate Executive Director Bob Simpson.
As the men discussed various ministry business, Lydecker mentioned his daughter and her recent graduation. The BCM/D had been seeking an associate missionary to come alongside BCM/D lay mobilization missionary, Ellen Udovich, to expand lay mobilization. They encouraged Lydecker to have Lindsey submit her resume. She did and the week after the young couple returned from their honeymoon they were in Maryland discussing the possibilities with Lee and Simpson.
“We weren’t sure what the explicit duties would be. We both felt that God was calling me to poverty ministry so we said, ‘If they offer me that, we’ll know it’s God’s will’,” she said.
The call came. “It was exactly what they wanted to bring me here to do,” Shaffer said.
Her new role is to make churches aware of the need for poverty ministry and to come alongside churches to help them develop ways to begin and develop those ministries. She will also supervise summer missionaries, oversee English as a Second Language programs and help with lay mobilization.
Shaffer made a confession of faith when she was four-years old. She heard Bible stories throughout her very young life. While in Connecticut, the family didn’t have television. Her parents ordered Uncle Charlie’s Bible hour tapes.
“I was listening to one about heaven. My mom came into the room and I asked her how I can get to heaven. I remember kneeling and praying. I was baptized several years later.”
Unlike many who become believers as small children, Shaffer didn’t fall away or feel a need to later recommit. She knew it was a sincere conversion. When she went to college, she was no longer under her parent’s authority and had to make her own decisions about her beliefs and her church attendance. In that respect, she said, she took responsibility for her own faith.
The Shaffers have been in a whirlwind of change, but they’re excited.
“We love living in Baltimore,” Shaffer said. “We love the culture and the sporting events.”
In their spare time, the energetic couple enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities. They’re busy exploring their new world and ready to channel their youth, energy and excitement into ministry in Maryland and Delaware.