It feels like a lifetime ago that I was on a uni campus each day, working with the students to reach the campus with the gospel. Now, amidst the nappies and mashed banana and walks in the park, it’s wonderful for me to take some time to reflect and share about what ministry-life was like for me. Before having baby Annabelle last year, I was serving Christ as a staff-worker with AFES, and serving alongside my husband as he was a student-minister of a Presbyterian Church.
I worked three days a week at Deakin Uni. This wasn’t because there wasn’t enough work for a full-time load, but because I wanted some extra days in the week to be available to help my husband in his work in the church. Genesis 2 and 1Corinthians 11:8-9 compel and inspire me to share my life in a special way with my husband.
The stereotype for part-time women’s ministry is that you’ll work full-time and get paid part-time, but this was never my experience.
Given the nature of the ministry on campus, my hours were not like a standard work-day, because two of those days I worked into the night. Even with these long days, my boss and colleagues were careful to encourage me to work hard as well as rest hard. I felt protected from the temptations to over-work and encouraged to manage my hours well. The stereotype for part-time women’s ministry is that you’ll work full-time and get paid part-time, but this was never my experience. I was encouraged to be godly in accounting for my hours, as well as ensuring I had sufficient time in the week for a day-off and for my family.
The opportunities to serve in ministry on campus sometimes seemed endless. There was always more I could be doing! I spent a lot of the week studying the Bible with women, some Christians and some not. My desire for all these women was to see them worship the Lord Jesus and find their joy in living for Him. We were encouraged by these weekly times in God’s Word, to live out the gospel in our lives, to take our sin seriously, and to rejoice in the work the Lord has done for us. As God chose to save some of these women, it reminded me time and again that He works powerfully through His Word, and this one-on-one ministry was incredibly valuable in the lives of these women.
As God chose to save some of these women, it reminded me time and again that He works powerfully through His Word.
I was also involved in training young leaders, both men and women as they learned how to lead small group Bible studies. My first goal for both was to inspire in them a love and dependence on God’s Word. And then for the men, to encourage their leadership gifts and help train them to use those gifts in service and leadership of the group. And for the women, to identify their ministry gifts, and create opportunities for them to use those gifts in the group, as well as to model to them all how good it was to help and support the men in their leadership. It’s especially exciting to see young leaders start out in ministry, and to see them develop and grow in their skills and passions.
Within our staff team, I was blessed to serve alongside men who were keen to take the initiative in loving leadership, whilst maintaining a deep and genuine interest in my opinions and passions. In our own staff meetings, my ideas were heard, and in our discussions over Scripture, I knew my thoughts would be equally weighed against God’s Word. I was encouraged in my theological thinking and treated with respect and dignity. Our campus director worked hard to find avenues for my gifts to grow, and I was given many opportunities to explore new evangelistic ministries and teach the Bible. I can honestly say that I flourished in my ministry as I submitted myself to the leadership of the men in our team. It was such a privilege to see that when men and women minister together in a way that honours God’s order and design, in humility and love, with Christ-like leadership and submission, ministry is a delight.
This has been especially important for me now, as I’ve stepped out of paid ministry and into family and home ministry. As my husband has just begun full-time work as a Pastor, I have many opportunities to be his helper as he serves the church. It is a delight to see him lead and pastor God’s people, and to be alongside him in that ministry. Since having Annabelle, I’ve become convinced of the privilege of being involved in her life and being a dedicated influence and carer. While this means saying a very sad ‘No’ to some other ministry opportunities, it is a delight (most days!) to remind myself again and again of the opportunity to disciple her and pray for her, that she might worship the Lord Jesus all her days. Even though it’s costly, and I do often miss ministry on campus, it’s wonderful to be in a position where I am able to raise Annabelle in the Lord.