by Bonnie Bradshaw
Hello everyone! And what a blessing to have so many women today wanting to read, study and know God’s word. Thank you all so much for having the desire to know more, for taking the time out of your busy lives to join in supporting WE Connect.
Ronald Reagan said, “There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and… wonder.”
No great limits to growth.
That is a beautiful thought. But I wish to tell you that there are limits to growth, or there seem to be. Why do some churches stay small? Why do some pastors struggle with getting the help they need to succeed in delivering God’s message to large numbers of people, delivering them from a life of sin and misery into a new and better life with the Lord?
I’d like to give you some sobering statistics. 70% of pastors are so stressed and burned out that they regularly consider leaving the ministry. 80% of seminary and bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave within 5 years. About 50% of pastor’s marriages will end in divorce.
That’s a far worse statistic than test pilots. I looked it up.
So why would anyone ever consider joining the ministry? Since the topic of this article is “Why Ministry Workers Are So Important”, I’d better come up with some reasons pretty quick.
We don’t usually hear that someone wants to enter the ministry. We usually say they are “called” to it. And that’s quite an important difference. I don’t know if God speaks to anyone, in a loud booming voice, in English. And most people who literally hear voices wouldn’t be able to pass a psychological exam, if one is required.
But, without an actual voice, God does speak to us. He speaks more loudly to some than to others. I need to clarify what I mean by “ministry workers”. I certainly don’t mean only pastors and pastor’s wives. Certainly pastors are needed. But look around your church and your community sometime and think about how much work is needed to really make a difference, to really deliver God’s message, and to really bring people to a new life. It’s a staggering proposition.
Each of us is called. I’m sorry to tell you that. I don’t mean you have to give up your life and your children and work full time. But I do mean there is something you can do, something you are called to do and something God expects you to do.
The late Vince Havner said, “Jesus Christ demands more complete allegiance than any dictator who ever lived. The difference is, He has a right to it.”
And once again, I’d like to call attention to Reagan’s quote, “… there are no limits to human intelligence, imagination and wonder…”
Each of us is created in God’s image. If you think you aren’t so intelligent, imaginative, or you’ve lost some of your sense of wonder, you’ve lost touch with YOU– the YOU that God created. And, to some degree, you’ve let the thoughts of the world–placed there quietly and carefully by the devil–put those limits on you.
So there may be no limit to intelligence, imagination and wonder, but some of us put limits on how we use it.
For many years, there was real discrimination in the ministry, and most everywhere else. Women were not allowed to be publicly in ministry, certainly not in the pulpit. Oh, we were expected to minister – to cook and clean and keep the household together, to be the unwavering support for a minister, a male. I think it was generally known and quietly accepted for a very long time that women contributed to and wrote their husband’s sermons sometimes. But women were kept out of the public eye, discriminated against.
And now women are seen as more than just a Sunday School Teacher, we can do more in the church than change diapers and wipe noses. Are we trying to take the place of men, certainly not, we are only doing what we feel called to do by the Lord God himself. Are we trying to get even with men? No, I don’t think they’re feeling left out. God has made us differently than men–and that’s a beautiful thing. I think you’ll agree. But I’m not talking about physical make up and appearance, I’m talking about the fact that we think differently, behave differently, we express emotions differently. Sometimes, a woman needs to talk with another woman. Two women can solve many a problem over tea by the garden. Well, expanded out onto a larger scale, women getting together for conferences to unite, build and renew is always a great empowering thing to keep us fresh for the weeks, months and years to come until Christ return.
It’s a celebration of women, yes, but more than that, it’s an opportunity to share our experiences, put our minds together, and emerge from the conference with a renewed vigor and passion to serve God and truly bring forth the plan that he has for us. I thank God that in this year, 2015 we are not limited in our abilities to do this. We’re not banned by law or custom from freely expressing ourselves or from gathering together as we are. I thank God for that. In earlier times, perhaps we could not have done this. But I assure you, God made other provisions for carrying out his plan successfully.
I have personally spent my life reaching out to others, hurting and wondering why they were even born. Going through life hating the morning ritual of waking up knowing they had to live out another day in the life that they had. Let me share a bit here. Growing up, I knew this little girl. She was full of life and had a heart of passion for others. She was always the first one if someone got hurt on the playground or the first to befriend the new kid to make them feel accepted. Little did the world around her know this little girl with a full heart for servant hood was living everyday with agonizing pain. Her father was hurting her every night and her mother never protected her, fully knowing what was going on she elected to hit the bars and kick her little girl off her leg at the door while this child was crying and begging her not to leave here there. Many horrible things happened to this little girl, but the funny thing she shares is she thanks God everyday for keeping her safe from death so that she could travel the world helping others who have lived or is living the pain she experienced throughout her childhood. This tragedy was turned into a ministry that is helping others all over the world to not only love them and turn their shame into pride in themselves, but she opens doors and hearts to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lives are going to live eternally with the Father because she was determined to help as many other people know that they are loved, protected and wonderfully created with powers and abilities given to them.
You see through all the pain, emptiness and uncertainty of my childhood, I always knew Christ was with me and I was to be a light unto this world in whatever way He wanted me to. This is why I serve others through my ministry that God granted me for His will and their eternal life.
Now he has made it possible for us to be here, in this time for this season. Each of us has our own personal reason and ministry to uphold. All I’m asking is that you open your mind and your heart to the message God has for you, and when you have that certainty and conviction of where God is leading you, that you simply follow, and do the work.