Jamee Miller asked me about being a woman in ministry. Recently I wrote a blog post about my biggest challenge. Today I answer the second part of her question: What is the biggest blessing of being a woman in ministry? My biggest blessing, as a woman in ministry, is all the encouragement that I receive.
Organizations such as Baptist Women in Ministry of North Carolina and Baptist Women in Ministry help women to follow God’s call to preach and to offer pastoral care. These organizations allow women to network together and support one another. Also, Campbell Divinity School is an encouraging place for me. I have taken two preaching courses. Just a few years a go, I was so opposed to women preaching, and now women preaching seems normal.
Calvary Baptist, my home church, taught me the importance of missions, studying scripture, holding one another accountable, and serving others. The encouragement of this congregation was especially vital to me, and my family, while I was in Asia for seven months. To this day, I am so thankful for their prayers.
While in college I attended Buies Creek First Baptist Church. This church gave me the opportunity to teach children and grow so much in my faith. This congregation ordained me into the gospel ministry in the summer of 2011. I vividly remember this worship service. I left this experience feeling both humbled and empowered.
Forest Hills Baptist, First Baptist in Kernersville, and now Saint Andrews United Methodist have allowed me the opportunity to serve them and their surrounding communities. Thank you for being congregations that affirm women and their giftedness.
My family and friends are amazing! Some, at times, have wrestled with the issue of women in ministry. Nonetheless, they honestly shared their concerns with me, and we have been able to dialogue about this in a way that made us even closer to one another. My dad prayed the invocation at my ordination, and my family and several friends drove hours to hear my first official sermon. My family and friends encourage me by praying, listening, celebrating with me, and at times, even crying me.
Since I do not want to leave anyone out, I will not mention names. However, I will mention one person: Adam! I am so blessed to have a very supportive husband. He set up tables, ran last minute errands before events, helped international students move because I asked, and listened to me vent, and this was all before we even started dating. On the day I served my first communion, Adam drove 1 1/2 to surprise me at church. He has given me constructive criticism on sermons, and he has listened for hours while I have ranted and raved about ministry. He prays for me and with me, and he believes in me. I am thankful that together the two of us walk the journey of life, love, and ministry.
Indeed the greatest blessing as a woman in ministry is that I receive encouragement. I am not alone, and for that I give thanks! Tonight my prayer is for all the women who feel God’s call to ministry and still have not received significant encouragement.
God, thank you for giving each one of us gifts to serve You by serving others. I pray for the women who feel called to teach, to preach, and to show pastoral care, and yet they still have not been encouraged and affirmed. Lord, send these women encouragers to surround them. God, please place peace within their hearts, calmness within their minds, courage within their spirits, boldness within their words, and discernment within their actions. And remind each one of us that we are called to minister to one another in love. In Your name we pray Jesus, Amen.