In This Issue...
- A Theology of Humor by Cheryl Taylor
- Ministering With Humor by Stephanie Nance
- Christian Leaders Having Fun? by Pam Morton with Kathy Jingling
- The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter by Dwenda Gjerdingen, MD, MS
Women in Ministry Mobilized E-Newsletter Articles
WIM - Subcriber Articles
The Reality of Process
Wed, 11 Mar 2009 - 3:09 PM CST
By Deanna Shrodes
It happens to me all the time. In fact, it happened again the other day.
I met some young female Bible college students, and we talked about their ministry aspirations. One said that immediately following graduation she planned to become a conference speaker, "like Joyce Meyer." Another chimed in with her plan to become the next Darlene Zschech. I was quietly amused that they thought they could achieve such ministries with ease.
Last week, I received a call from another young woman who recently moved to Florida and wanted to know if I could set up some meetings in the area for her to speak. She had been given my name as someone in local leadership who hosts conferences. When I asked how long she had been in ministry, I found out that she was just starting and hadn't served in a church in any capacity.
Having big dreams is great. God wants us to have big dreams. But we must realize there is a process that we must go through to accomplish those dreams. I explained this to these three young women. Joyce Meyer did not become the Joyce Meyer we know today overnight. For that matter, a local pastor or evangelist with considerable ministry opportunities did not rise up overnight. It is not only unrealistic, but unwise to think that one will come out of Bible college and in a year or two be the next Joyce Meyer, or for us Assemblies of God women, the next Beth Grant. Those who are starting in ministry often have no idea what price the women of God who have come before them have paid. I've heard it said that, "They want the glory, but they don't know the story."
Every person mightily used of God in the Bible went through a process. Consider Joseph in the Old Testament. The anointing of God was upon his life and he was highly favored, yet what an intense process he went through from the pit to the palace. I have heard that "pit" stands for "preacher in training." Joseph was a dreamer who went on to become ruler over Egypt, yet he went through a process. He almost messed it up by bragging about his dream too soon.
The first key to seeing your dreams realized is to have great appreciation for the opportunities given to you right now. When we read Genesis 39, we see that Joseph gave the utmost care to what was entrusted to him. Let's look at verses 2-6:
The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So he left in Joseph's care everything he had.
Joseph was faithful with what was placed in his hands and waited until such a time that God raised him to the next level.
My closest women in ministry friends are likeminded. After many years in ministry, we still look at any opportunity as a big deal. I believe this is one reason the blessing of God is upon the lives of those in my circle of friendship. May we never lose the joy that even a handful of people have shown up to listen to what we have to say. Let's remember, none of us deserve anything - yet by God's grace, we are blessed. Our gifts have made room for us (Proverbs 18:16).
Today there seems to be a lack of appreciation or even resistance among many young people to start at the beginning and go through a process. Back when I started in ministry, my pastor gave me the opportunity to teach a few children in the primary Sunday School class at my home church. I was so excited! Then an opportunity came to speak in a prison several times a week. It was better than anything I could have dreamed. If my pastor and his wife said, "I'm going to take you to lunch," it was amazing to me. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. Some now starting out in ministry believe it is beneath them to perform certain church ministries, or that it should be expected that their leader would do special things for them.
We have to give time to the process and let our roots grow deep. The Bible has high praise for steadiness, reliability, and faithfulness. Jeremiah 17:7,8 says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." We must be rooted before we can flourish into all God wants us to be.
One day, if Jesus tarries, I believe many of you reading this will go beyond those who are currently high profile women of God, and beyond your mentors. After all, the greatest legacy for a leader is that someone not only rises to their level, but soars above. However, it takes a process to get there, and that process is not a curse, it's a blessing. God created the ministry journey as a marathon, not a sprint, and for good reason.
"Do not despise the day of small beginnings," (Zechariah 4:10).
Deanna Shrodes serves as copastor at Celebration Church in Tampa, Florida (www.celebrationchurchtampa.com) alongside her husband Larry. They have been partners in fulltime ministry for 25 years. She is also a certified coach and blogs daily at www.deannashrodes.net