Jen Van Camp, Youth Pastor at Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco, tells how she first got involved in CBF life through a CBF partner organization. Perhaps her story can help to encourage you if you are looking to find ways to plug into CBF life, even in new places. Jen shares her story below as a part of a new series on CBF Young Baptists.
I first became aware of CBF when I was hired to be the worship leader for Passport, Inc. camps in the summer of 2001. Before that, I may have heard the organization’s name in passing, but my frame of reference was strictly Southern Baptist as that is how I grew up, and that was the organization through which I had done summer missions and started seminary.
Meeting people from Passport, both the staff and my fellow colleagues, really opened my mind to what it is to be Baptist and the freedom that comes with that. That summer, I heard a woman preach for the first time and had some incredible eye-opening conversations, and I’m not going to say it was an easy, quick, or painless journey, but I couldn’t be more thankful for eventually finding my Baptist home in CBF and for all of the encouragement and support I receive as a female minister.
I eventually transferred to McAfee School of Theology, which felt like home to me, and made my way out here to San Francisco, CA to serve as the youth pastor at Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church. In the past few years I have also served on the steering committee of Current, the young leaders’ network of CBF, as well as the National Coordinating Council as a representative from CBF West and am currently serving on the Executive Board of the CBF Youth Ministry Network. No organization or denomination is perfect by any stretch, but I’m thankful to be a part of CBF and have been proud to have had the opportunity to serve on these leadership groups to help shape and mold what CBF is and is becoming.