Metro Kingdom Builders: Taisha Penn

Introducing ‘Metro Kingdom Builders’ - a series highlighting the partners and people that make up, and serve, at Metro Community Church! We kick off our series with Metro Kingdom Builder: Taisha Penn who serves at MetroKids, MetroLIFE, the EHS Discipleship Team, Women's Ministry, and is also the newest member of Metro’s elder board.

When and why did you start attending Metro?
I started attending Metro in September 2016 after being invited by a friend. We had been trying to find a church to attend and sometimes we would attend churches together and other times we would use the "divide and conquer" approach. When I attended for the first time, I immediately decided I would not come back because I saw a largely homogeneous group of people and I figured I did not really belong; however, Pastor Josh spoke that Sunday and said that a second part of the message on truth and faith would be given next Sunday. So I toyed with the idea of coming back the following week to hear the second part. I stopped by the “Next Table” on my way out and met with someone who introduced himself as, "David." We had an in-depth discussion about how I'd like to be involved in a church, not necessarily Metro. I attended again the following Sunday JUST to hear the second part of the message and this David person remembered me and even said my name correctly (which rarely happens!) We had another great discussion and he said he hoped to see me again at Metro. Feeling as though one person genuinely wanted me at Metro gave me the courage to come back the following week and the week after that. I had no idea this David person was “Pastor David” until a couple of months later.

What stood out to you about Metro and what did you like about Metro?
What stood out to me most was the relaxed environment (I showed up my first time probably looking as though I was going to the prom because I was used to dressing up for church in "Sunday Best") and the engaging sermons. I appreciate that the messages are not sugar-coated to make it more comfortable for us to receive. Instead, they challenge us to live up to the standard of Jesus.

What ministries are you involved with? What about these ministries made you want to serve?
MetroKids!: I always naturally seem to become involved with children. While attending a Connection Dinner, I learned that the ministry was short on summer volunteers, so I stepped forward. The children have blessed me in countless ways in the last 2 years. The kids challenge me to see life and God more simply. It’s actually quite simple to accept love and to show it to others yet, somehow, we adults struggle in this area.

MetroLIFE: I love that MetroLIFE seeks to truly serve the Englewood community and to cultivate self-sustaining young adults who know their value.

Women's Ministry: I was so honored to be asked to join the Core Team late 2018! Over the last year or so, I feel God has encouraged me to develop deeper relationships with women in different stages of life. This ministry has already allowed me to learn from and grow with these "ezer" women and I see this happening in the lives of other women as well.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality/Relationships (EHS/EHR) Discipleship Team: As Pete Scazzero says, "It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature." When asked to join this discipleship group it was a no-brainer because I, too, benefited from having my "blinders" removed so that I could allow Christ to grow in me.

What do you do outside of Metro?
I work as a Sales Consultant in the vertical transportation industry in midtown Manhattan. I spend a good portion of my free time at the gym because I enjoy challenging myself physically and the endorphins work wonders! I have amazing parents who support me and who believe that I can do anything. I love baking and trying out new recipes.

What does transformation mean to you? Have you seen or experienced transformation through Metro?
To me, transformation happens when our desires change from worldly to Godly. Some parts of transformation happen in an instant and others take a lifetime. When we become believers, it is my belief that we are instantly transformed in that we are immediately washed in Jesus' blood and made righteous. How we become new creations and how we live out that righteous life often requires more time and definitely requires personal diligence.

I experienced transformation while taking EHS at Metro. I was a Christian when I signed up for the class... I was also vindictive, petty, incapable of distinguishing feedback from criticism, and afraid of virtually any kind of commitment. When my blinders were removed through the course, I was able to see how my emotional unhealthiness was keeping me from being able to truly live as a new creation. While finishing out the class and over the following 6 months, I journaled, confided in those closest to me while allowing them to provide me with the gift of feedback, and I took part in therapy. I truly experienced transformation that started with EHS, hit its peak through deep prayer and self-reflection, and continues every day of my life. I lost a lot of friends and activities during this transformation and, while painful, it was a necessary part of being pruned by our Father.

What is one thing you want people to know about you?
I can be very good at pretending not to be, but I am a hardcore introvert! I tend to stay to myself in large groups or just avoid them altogether. Although I am working on this, it is a process and really hope no one takes my aversion to large group settings personally. That said, I do enjoy talking with and getting to know people.

What brings you the most joy?
I get the most joy when I feel safe to truly be my true, vulnerable, healing self and not be judged for it. This is usually when I am with my small family and when I am with close friends. My Mom, specifically, brings me a lot of joy because she is the sweetest, funniest, most kind, and most unguarded person I know and our relationship makes me feel blessed to be her daughter.