Michelle Rompel is a Christ follower, sister, daughter and ministry leader. Michelle grew up in Napa, CA and currently serves in Foster City, CA. Michelle is the Middle School Director at Central Peninsula Church. Michelle has a passion to see young people live their lives fully for Jesus. I've often called her a firecracker of energy and passion!
Michelle and I met in the summer of 2016 when she interviewed for our middle school director role. She had just finished her BA at William Jessup University near Sacramento. When I saw her resume and picture she sent it, I knew she was the one we needed to hire. We served on the same staff for about a year before God called us to Ventura. We have kept in close contact and I'm stoked to call her a friend and partner in ministry!
1. About two years ago you accepted your first role to serve as Middle School Ministry Director at a great church, what has been your biggest learning experience serving full-time in the local church?
Working in ministry is hard. Nobody really tells you that. I think this was something I needed to experience though, not just get told. We are people, and we are messy. Behind the scenes of the Sunday morning church experience is very different from what someone might see on stage. Along with that though, I’m learning that there is no other place I would rather be right now than working in ministry.
2. As a college graduate who is now working on a masters degree, how has higher education changed the way you view the world?
Growing up in a town where everyone held a pretty similar mindset and view on life, it was refreshing to get to college and be challenged. I took a class in undergrad called “God’s Kingdom in the World” and it was a class all about missions. Each week we would study a different unreached people group and pray for them. This opened my eyes to so many different cultures and a longing to know people’s stories.
3. What is the best book you’ve read in the last year and how has it shaped your life?
Probably Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. He writes with a lot of vulnerability and authenticity, something I wasn’t really shown growing up. Being able to understand emotions and the way that plays into all aspects of life has really helped me develop a way that I want to interact with people and with God. It was so relieving to understand that emotions are a part of who God created us to be, and a way for us to really connect with Him.
4. You are one of the most passionate people I’ve been around. Where does this passion for life and optimism come from?
As cheesy and christianese as it sounds, I have to say Jesus. Passion wasn’t apart of my vocabulary growing up, it wasn’t encouraged or really demonstrated. It wasn’t until college when I came to know Jesus and started really healing in places that I found passion for life and wanting to live it to the fullest. It also helps that I’m a 7 on the Enneagram and we are naturally more enthusiastic and optimistic in our healthiest state. I’m recognizing that passion can be both really good but also really challenging, passion and rebellion can often go hand in hand, so I have to make sure I have people keeping me accountable.
5. What is it like to be a young, single, woman working in a sector that seems to be primarily men?
It’s interesting. I think because I didn’t grow up in the church, I never really saw the differences in men and women leading. I went to a conference one time and out of the 100 people that were there, only 11 were female. That was when it really hit me that being a young women in ministry is still a bit taboo. Overall, I love what I get to do and know that this is where God has called me to be.
6. There are many people in ministry who don’t have a life outside their work. What is one hobby you enjoy and that fills you?
Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I love arcades. Pinball machines, racing, basketball shooting, air hockey, skeeball, I love all of it! I love to travel as well, and when I go to different places I try and find old arcades that are still up and running. One of my dreams is to actually restore an old pinball machine for my house one day.
7. If you could give your 17 year old self one piece of advice what would if be?
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. As someone who struggled a ton with depression and anxiety in high school and currently, I wish someone would have told me that I didn’t have to have everything all together.
I really appreciate Michelle serving in the trenches of student ministries and helping more students know Jesus.