Leadership Scholars


By Crystal Ham

Crystal Ham

Equip. This is such an elegant sounding word that carries the weight of responsibility, diligence and care.

As I write this blog post, I am reminded of the ways that I’ve been equipped throughout my life, and of all the many people who poured into my life. When I think about the word equip, I am reminded that to be equipped one must be ready for the task at hand. This is possible through community.

Equip – When I think about how I’ve been equipped for ministry, there are several events and people that come to mind. My experience began with parents who love Jesus and did their best to raise me and my sisters in a Christian household. We did not just go to church once a week, but we were there Sunday mornings, Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. My parents took me and my sisters on family mission trips with our church every summer. The experiences that I had at children’s camps, youth camps and family mission trips where I believe I grew the most as a follower of Jesus. These events and people equipped me for ministry.

Equip – When I started at the University of South Carolina, I was involved with Baptist Collegiate Ministries. One of the most significant people in my life was our campus minister who was a woman. This was my first time meeting a female minister. I remember meeting her and thinking, “she has the coolest job in the world.” During some of my college years, I was also a nurse tech at Providence Hospital in Columbia, SC. Not only did I have the opportunity to serve or minister to others as a nurse tech, but I was also able to learn from the doctors, nurses and hospital chaplains. This initiated and confirmed my call to hospital chaplaincy. These events and people equipped me for ministry.

Equip – While working as a counselor through Prisma Health in Columbia, I stepped on an elevator with a hospital chaplain. He had no idea who I was, but he told me that I should come do Clinical Pastoral Education. That moment in my life equipped me with the confidence to begin seminary again. That was no coincidence, that was God. I applied to finish my seminary degree at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. The last two and a half years of classes have been the biggest blessing and growth for me. I am reminded and affirmed that God’s calling on my life is bigger than my questions, uncertainties and running. These events and people equipped me for ministry.

Equip – As I finish the last five months of my Master of Divinity, I’m applying and interviewing for hospital chaplain residencies. I know I may not, and never will, have all the answers, but I am equipped for the calling. I am thankful for all the events and people who I mentioned, and so many others that I don’t have the adequate space to thank. I am thankful for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for generously providing a scholarship to me to have the means to focus on my studies. I am thankful to be part of a CBF congregation who loves and supports me. These events and people equipped me for ministry. Community matters.

Crystal Ham is a third year Master of Divinity student at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and attends Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship in Columbia, SC.  Upon graduation in May, Crystal will complete a year-long hospital chaplain residency, on her way to become a hospital chaplain.

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