God calls everyone into ministry, but ministry means more than ordination. Here is Rev. Kori Lehrkamp's called story—how she explored how to listen for God’s voice, discerned what she heard, and responded faithfully.
The rural nature of the Dakotas and the innovative spirit of the conference drive Rev. Kori Lehrkamp, 38, to reach the next person for Jesus.
“I am truly thankful and to be a part of this great conference. It is like a large extended family, which truly does care for one another. We have our quirks, but what family doesn’t. We are forward thinkers here. We are innovative and risk takers. We have some of the most promising future leaders of our denomination amongst our ranks and I CANNOT wait to see how we will shape the future of the church in years to come.”
The Dakotas Conference has always been home to Kori. Her father was a United Methodist pastor, Rev. Gary Geiman, and so was her grandfather, Rev. Donald Geiman. Lehrkamp, a 2015 Sioux Falls seminary graduate, considers Hot Springs, South Dakota her home. Her family lived in several rural farming and ranching communities. “The Dakotas are my home and I am truly blessed.”
Lehrkamp is starting a new faith community in Box Elder, South Dakota. She is hoping people who are unchurched in this diverse community will open their hearts to the Lord.
“This area is probably one of the most diverse areas in state of South Dakota, culturally, economically, vocationally, socially. Church planting is definitely one of the most challenging things I have ever tried to do. But, it is exciting and I know that God has amazing things in store. I can’t wait to see what they are,” said Lehrkamp.
She fought with her call to ministry. Growing up as the child of pastor, she never really wanted to be a minister herself. “I thought never would I be a pastor. I used every excuse imaginable to deny the clear tug of God in my life.”
When her second child was born, she went from being a working mom to a stay-at-home mom of two. She felt like God was calling her to find a clearer purpose and place. “I kept thinking nothing beats loving and raising babies. But, I knew eventually they would grow up and go to school and then what?”
Bible study changed her thinking. After reading lots of self-help books to try to discover what her passion was, she decided God wanted her to get
involved in a Bible study. Kori asked the pastor at her church to lead a study so she could attend and he said no. “He told me if I wanted to go to Bible study, I would have to lead it myself. So I did. Not only did I start leading Bible study but I was also asked to preach from time to time. After leading my first service, several folks asked when I was going to be done with school. I said school for what? They said, school for becoming a pastor. I laughed uncontrollably. 'Never' was my response.”
Several months passed and she found herself sitting in the Bible study hearing the words, “If God is calling you, the time is now.” Lehrkamp thought, that she could not wait for her babies to grow up, or her spouse to get on board, or for a time when there was was enough money in the bank; the time is now.
“I left Bible study completely shaken to the core. The time totally was now. I said “yes” that day. I have continued to say yes. I am trusting that when I hear the undeniable call of God, whatever happens next, will be the absolute next best thing.”
Kori is married to Micheal, a cattle rancher. They have three children – Paige, Grady and Maddie. She is a coffeeholic and likes to reading good books, knitting and crafting. She also likes to cook and states, “I am an amazing cook and love to experiment when I have time. I love football, basketball and wrestling, especially if my children are playing. I thoroughly enjoy cattle shows and rodeos. I love a good street dance with friends.”