EU Alumni Perspective: Lisa Clements
Name: Lisa Clements
Graduation Year: MACM 2015 projected D.Min. 2022
Major: Psychology, BS 1988 from EU
Current Position: Lead Pastor North Dallas Assembly
City and State: Dallas, TX
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
After graduating from EU in 1988, I began a career in social work. Although called to ministry, I did not see a clear pathway forward as a female. In 2001, our family relocated from Oklahoma to Kansas City, Missouri. Until our move, I continued to work as a social worker part-time while also volunteering at our church, Evangel Church, where I taught an adult Sunday School class. I was also a speaker for women’s events. After our move, I decided to ask our pastor, Jason St. John, if the church needed a Christian education director. After a series of talks, I began to work part-time (for free) at the church. Pastor St. John opened the door for me to envision a future in full-time ministry. While at Evangel Church, I obtained my credentials and received ordination. During my almost thirteen-year tenure there, I progressed from a volunteer to a full-time associate pastor. It was at Evangel Church that I developed my leadership skills. The church grew from around 220 to over 1,100 in attendance on Sunday morning. Having a seat at the table through the transitions and growing pains the church experienced was a tremendous learning opportunity.
In 2014, my family moved to Dallas for my husband’s job. After several conversations with the Assemblies of God district office, they asked if I would consider planting a church in the area where we lived, a densely populated area in Dallas proper. There are few Anglo churches in this area. Many of the popular Dallas mega-churches are outside of the city limits of Dallas. In 2016, we committed to church planting. After two years of building a team and with much prayer, we launched our church in September of 2018. Planting a church is a wild ride! My experience in non-profit social work and as a staff pastor gave me the skills needed to pursue this endeavor.
It has not been easy. The July before we launched, I was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma. This diagnosis came out of left field. This is when you need your team, your faith, and the firmness of your call to complete the task. It has been a fantastic 18 months!
What is your favorite memory from AGTS?
I have so many great memories of my time at AGTS! Many memories include sitting around a table with other ministers, learning from one another. AGTS provided a safe atmosphere for colleagues to gather to learn and grow with and from one another.
How did AGTS help you identify/develop your calling?
I often say that my experience at AGTS made me brave. It’s hard to explain, but sitting in a room with other ministers sharing ideas together helped me realize that I have a place at the table. Dr. Mark Hausfeld’s church planting class included a trip to Chicago. While taking his course, I developed the confidence to say yes to church planting. The assigned reading, the experience outside of the classroom, and Dr. Hausfeld’s expertise helped me understand that I was not alone as I took the step of faith into the arena of church planting. AGTS connected me with other ministers who have since become dear friends.
How did your experience at AGTS prepare you for life after graduation?
The AGTS experience allowed me to see other women leaders in our field. These connections have allowed me to walk in the confidence of my call. Dr. Cheryl Taylor, Dr. Ava Oleson, and Dr. Lois Olena provided a place at the table for me. Their leadership, friendship, and encouragement have changed me. I am forever grateful for their investment as they persistently encouraged me to join the program.
The professors at AGTS are colleagues in ministry. Their practical training and availability to answer questions helped me gain confidence.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Build relationships with those around you. Make time to spend time with your professors. Learn from your books AND learn from every person sitting around you. Also, be willing to consider ministry in a way you could not imagine. If it were not for my time at AGTS, I would not have considered planting a church. It was the exposure to other students and professors who had experience in church planting that allowed me to see all of the options. While in the classroom, I was amazed at the creativity of ministry that was represented. People were pursuing ministry in ways and in places that I had never even considered.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from AGTS?
Enthusiasm for their call, coupled with the ability to communicate effectively. I look for people who are willing to learn, to work hard, and who will take risks. Those are the type of people who are welcomed to my team.