Sarah Stansfield shares how one tragic moment changed her life course from becoming a band director to finding a calling in ministry. Sarah Stansfield has just finished her first year at WTS. She came to Wartburg directly from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she graduated with a double major in cultural music and religion, with a faith and leadership concentration.
Sarah felt a call to ministry about half way through her freshman year of college when she attended church a few days following a traumatic experience life experience and recalls, “I sang in the praise team at church and that Sunday there was a healing service. Towards the end of the last song we were singing, I realized that I should probably talk to someone about what had happened to me. I thought a pastor might be a good place to start. So I said a quick prayer in my head, ‘God, if you really want me to talk to Pastor Heather, you make it abundantly clear that this is what you want me to do.’ At that time, the song ended, and Pastor Heather walked to the front of the church and said, ‘If anyone needs to talk to me about anything I will be in the Fireside Room after the service.’”
Pastor Heather continued to walk Sarah through a difficult time in her life and helped her get the support she needed. A few months later, Sarah reached out to Pastor Heather through email and asked her to be a mentor. “My fiancé was looking over my shoulder while I put together the email and said, ‘Sarah, you know, she’s going to think that you want to be a pastor or something.’ My response, ‘yeah, she just might…’” It was at that point in Sarah’s life that everything in her life seemed to make sense. “I realized that I was being shaped as a leader, a pastor, my whole life, I just hadn’t realized it. I needed someone to voice it for me, and once it was said, there was no turning back.”
Sarah had many pastors throughout her life nurture her call to ministry. Sarah says, “I’m very lucky to have pastors and mentors in my life.” Sarah grew up always knowing Wartburg as she was surrounded by Wartburg Seminary graduates including her father, grandfather and godfather. During her junior year of college, Sarah came to a Considering Your Call weekend to explore Wartburg since she had never been to the campus. “From the moment that I stepped on campus, I just felt like I was home. It just felt right. I gave other seminaries a chance, I really wanted to like other ones. I didn’t want to go here just because everybody else had gone here, but in the end there was just no question in my mind that this was the place for me,” stated Sarah.
Currently, Sarah finds herself completing her first year at Wartburg Seminary and shares this message with others who might be discerning a call to ministry, “Be open minded. Don’t think you have all the answers because you don’t and you won’t. Don’t wait for all the answers because they’ll come one by one throughout this whole process. Just go with what you really feel in your heart.”