Retired fire Captain says, “Yes, Lord, send me”
By Kara Witherow, Editor
Rev. Lynn Martin is a living example of Isaiah 6:8 which states, “’Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
A second-career pastor, in April Rev. Martin retired as a Captain from the Columbus Department of Fire and EMS. After less than six weeks of not-very-relaxing retirement, a week of which was spent at “super intense” Local Pastors’ Licensing School at Emory University, in June Rev. Martin was appointed as a part-time local pastor serving Richland United Methodist Church.
“I am proof that God has a sense of humor and can and will use anyone who will say yes,” Rev. Martin said. “When He says, ‘your ways are not my ways’ He ain’t kidding!”
Raised and nurtured in her faith at Howard United Methodist Church, when Rev. Martin grew older and moved away from home she never thought or realized that she could go to church elsewhere.
After years of wandering and living life “on her own,” she finally returned to Howard UMC and began to attend worship services and Bible studies and renewed her walk with the Lord.
A spiritual fire had been lit inside Rev. Martin’s soul.
In 2008 Rev. Martin was promoted from Lieutenant to Administrative Captain within the Columbus Department of Fire and EMS. While she spent her days focused on logistics and budgets, God was stirring her to do something new.
It was after attending a Walk to Emmaus weekend that she earnestly began to seek and discern God’s will for her future. During the three-day experience she prayed that the Lord would fill her soul. It was the first time she had opened herself completely to Christ, she said.
“That weekend literally changed my life,” she said. “For several months after it I was kind of bombarded by a common message – through Facebook, texts, emails, Bible studies, songs, and scriptures – that I could sense God calling me to do something.”
Rev. Martin struggled with discerning what exactly God was calling her to, though.
“I said yes, but I had no clue what I was saying yes to except, ‘yes, Lord, here I am,’” Rev. Martin said. “I had no clue what for.”
For a while she thought she was being called into clown ministry. Things began to fall into place when a pastor suggested that she check out the South Georgia Conference’s website. There she saw an article about a certified lay minister’s training at Lake Junaluska. Interested, she registered for the training.
Once she received the lay minister’s training and returned to South Georgia she began to occasionally fill in and preach for sick or vacationing pastors.
“It felt very right in the pulpit,” Rev. Martin said. “But of course I had no thoughts that that’s where I would be or any desire to end up there.”
But as another verse in Isaiah states, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord,” God had other plans for her.
So after an almost 26-year career with the fire department, Rev. Martin retired on April 30, six months earlier than she had originally planned. And instead of waiting to receive an appointment until 2016 as intended, she received an appointment to serve Richland UMC at the close of the 2015 Annual Conference session.
Happy and grateful to be part of the Richland UMC faith community, Rev. Martin says the congregation has received her with love and acceptance.
“I am so thankful for God’s grace,” she said. “God was gracious that He let me move into this new phase of my life and this new area of service without overwhelming me that even as I was stepping out in faith not having a clue of what ground was underneath, God supplied that firmament. With each step I took I had no idea where my foot would land, but it landed in His firm hand. I haven’t fallen and I’m just doing my best to give Him my best.”