In 2009 shortly after giving my life to Christ, I had a deep desire to mentor and minister to teenage girls – so I started a bible study and titled it “Daughters of Destiny.” I gathered a handful of girls between the ages of thirteen and sixteen at the time and mentored them weekly for over two years. When most of them dispersed for college and adulthood, it felt like my work was done. But the desire to continue to get in the trenches with young people and offer them this level of intensive one-on-one discipleship never went away. As I grew, my desire to minister to young people began to focus more on college aged and post-graduate women between the ages of 18 and 25. And as I have grown in the place of marriage, that desire to “do life” with other women has grown once again to include young wives, newlyweds and engaged women.
Over the last eleven years of my life, the unrelenting desire that I am supposed to be partnering with women in a way that eases the pain points in their life has never left me. I did not always understand that this was what people meant by a “calling.” I just knew that I enjoyed this work, I was good at it, and having hours long exchanges with younger women where I literally pour out everything God gives me to share with them did not leave me drained, they left me energized and ready to do it again as soon as my body was physically able.
I always thought it would take money to do this kind of work on a regular basis. If I wanted to meet with women, I needed money to travel to them or gather them together in some sort of meeting, right? I did not immediately realized that I was already doing the work that I felt called to do – by speaking one on one with young women around me, making myself available for phone calls that sometimes stretch into the night as I try my best to get them to understand how God sees them and their situation.
I was already hosting sleepovers for college-aged women in my home. I was already spending hours on college campuses in dorm rooms teaching and fellowshipping with other women. I was already joined in sisterhood with women younger than me whom I have taken into my heart as little sisters. I was already sharing whatever felt pertinent and necessary about my journey with women who connected with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I was already living the vision I had in my heart of ministering to, encouraging and mentoring other women.
But because it did not look like big stages, conference invitations, and perfectly branded flyers and headshots, I thought I was being left behind while other women – those whose platforms were visible and identifiable – did the real work. I know better now. God did not call me to have the most amount of engagement on social media (although, I am still doing my best to do better with those numbers lol). God never asked me to get the best and most updated headshots. He certainly did not tell me that I needed a certain amount of money in the bank to qualify to minister to others. Those were restrictions I placed on myself because I was too afraid to call myself a minister of the gospel without all the trappings that often comes with public ministry.
My life is ministry. My obedience to God is ministry. My authenticity in Christ is ministry. And it is well past time to embrace it as such. I do not need to “do ministry” by having a following, a tour calendar and assistants galore. I needed to minister by recognizing those around me who are in need of what God has graced me to carry.
I get joy out of holding another wife’s hands and declaring her worth in her home and in the marketplace and letting her know that her paycheck or lack thereof do not determine her worth in her marriage or to God.
I get joy out of speaking words of life over a young person who is at a crossroads in their growth towards adulthood and letting them know that God is literally interested in the details of their life and their obedience to Him is the only determining factor by which they should measure their success.
There are things that come naturally to me, that give me joy and glorify God that I have minimized in their importance because I was not being paid or asked to do them. But that way of thinking is insulting to the God we serve. Is God only required to answer prayers when honorariums are given? Or does He hold back breakthrough and deliverance if there’s nobody there to introduce the guest preacher?
Many of the things I counted as “doing ministry” are just the practical necessities and sometimes the outer trappings of someone who operates on a worldwide stage. The size of the platform is not what qualifies a minister before God. Clean hands and pure hearts are what God looks for in those who call His name. Regardless of how I earn my bread and butter (currently as a consultant), I do not need to be paid for anything I do as a follower of Christ before I should call myself a minister of the Gospel. Jesus Himself called me to spread the gospel. I have no greater allegiance than to answer His call and steward the vision He placed of my heart – that every daughter of God who calls the name of Christ will live a full and authentic life, free of the bondage of the enemy and brimming over with the promises of God.