Are you looking for a great door of effective work (1 Corinthians 16:9) to be opened up to you in women’s ministry? My door swung wide open in 2007, and this is my story of how God prepared me –
I had felt called to minister to women since 1994; I was 27 years old. It wasn’t until 1998 that I actually began receiving invitations to speak at conferences and they were few and far between.
In 1999 we joined a new church, and I was eager to get involved. I facilitated several Beth Moore studies, and love her, but felt that God was leading me to share my messages that He was giving me. At that time, my minister of education and administration would not allow me to “freelance” because I had not been to seminary.
I then hoped to teach a women’s Sunday School class, but the rule at the time was that you had to be a member of our church for two years before you could teach a class. So, I waited…patiently.
Just as my two years were coming up we hired a new minister of education and administration named Steve. I gave Steve a little time to settle in before I scheduled a meeting with him. At that particular time, his office was next to the choir loft. Unfortunately, I had set up a time to meet with Steve when the choir was practicing. There I was, literally yelling my heart’s passion for women’s ministry over the music and singing to Steve. Almost immediately I could tell that he was NOT getting me.
Right away Steve saw a need for a women’s Sunday School class, and he immediately appointed a woman who had only been attending our church for about 6 months to lead it. WHAAATTT? What happened to the 2 year vetting process??? I wondered. Apparently, Steve had his own rules.
In no time, that new girl was gone, and I seized the opportunity to slide into her spot. Right after church I went up to let Steve know that I was interested. Still, no interest in me. As a matter of fact, he let me know that Ms. Betty Brown would be taking over that class. Betty Brown? Who is Betty Brown? I had to go home and look her up in our church directory. It turns out that Ms. Betty Brown was about 75 years old.
I showed my husband her picture and tearfully said, “I am happy for Ms. Betty Brown because she has probably waited 50 years to finally get an opportunity to teach a women’s Sunday School class!”
At this point, I lunged into a long season of discouragement. I think this is common when we have gifts and a calling, but nowhere to utilize them. God continued to give me messages to study and share, and I would periodically remind Him that I had NO ONE to share these messages with, but thanks anyway! I would prepare them and archive them…frustration building…
A person’s gift opens doors for him, bringing him access to important people. Proverbs 18:16 ISV
I didn’t care if I went to church half of the time or not because what was the use? I wasn’t being used. As the New Year of 2007 rolled around and I spent time in prayer and reflection, I made a decision. I knew that if I was not a faithful lay member, I would never be asked to teach a class. As such, I recommitted to being a steadfast and faithful church member.
Later that year, out of the blue, Steve asked to meet with me. It was then that he said to me that he believed God has called me to minister to women; therefore, he would be giving me a women’s Sunday School class to teach on Sundays and an opportunity to start a Wednesday class for women where I could teach my own material. I couldn’t believe it!!!
This is when my great door of effective work swung wide open, and had I not prepared all those messages that God had given me over the years I would not have been prepared for this opportunity. In a moment’s notice, I was on! Because I had all of these prepared messages I knew just where to start, and off I went.
That was 7 years ago. Today, I am still leading my Wednesday night women’s service and have since handed off my thriving women’s Sunday School class to another wonderful lady at church. In 2009, I was asked to assume the role of the women’s ministry leader and in 2012 I became a church staff member as the Director of Women’s Ministry. Later in 2012, Steve went home to be with the Lord; I will always treasure our time together. He turned out to be one my biggest supporters in ministry.
God has truly done a wonderful work in our women’s ministry over the years.
Here is what I learned from that experience: It is God Who opens the doors of ministry for us. My timing had nothing to do with any of my ministers of education and administration giving me an opportunity, but everything to do with God preparing me for the right time.
If you are in a place where you have a God-given desire to serve, but no opportunity, I encourage you to wait patiently for your great door of effective work to open up, and in the meantime, prepare as He directs.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT
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Award-winning Author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more information. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.
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