Introduction by Dr. Judi Jackson
Associate Dean of Students
Coordinator of Women’s Programs
During Red Carpet Week, I was privileged to co-teach a two-and-half-day academic workshop called “Expanding Your Women’s Ministry through Writing.” We talked about topics and testimonies and expanding both to fill the space allotted. We talked about publishers and query letters and crafting words in such a way that one made sense to the other. But mostly we talked about call: the call to write about what God has placed on our hearts that can no longer stay tucked away in the recesses of our brains but must flow through our fingers and onto computer screens and composition notebooks.
The main assignment for this course involved the students writing a submission for this blog space. They had permission to write about anything they wanted; it just had to be appropriate for the intended audience, NOBTS Women!
Through the weeks to follow, I will be posting their articles and hope you enjoy reading their stories. Some have written of their personal journeys to pursue a seminary education; others of scripture passages that guide them; and still another wrote to encourage readers to consider their ministry direction and how they can best train for it. We’ll start the series with the submission of undergrad student Martina Boquet. – Dr. Judi Jackson
by Martina Boquet
I felt God’s call to women’s ministry for several years, but fear made me resist Him. I never felt smart, eloquent, or organized enough. I was afraid of speaking in front of groups of people. It didn’t matter if the groups were large or small; I was fearful and tongue-tied. I thought, “Perhaps, someday, when I’m older. I’ll be ready someday.” I yearned for a day when I would no longer be afraid, and I would be perfectly prepared for ministry. I kept waiting for the picture perfect time, place, and plan. I guess we can agree that I craved something that doesn’t exist!
In Exodus 3 and 4:1-16, we read about Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush. Moses was living in Midian and working for his father-in-law Jethro, tending sheep. God told Moses He was sending him to Pharaoh, and His purpose was to free the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. Even after God helped him perform miracles which would prove to the Egyptians and Hebrews that God sent him, Moses repeatedly said, “Please send someone else.”
We pick up the story in Exodus 4:10-12 where Moses continued to plead with God:
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Moses argued, “I’m not eloquent. I’m slow of speech and tongue.” God countered, “I made your mouth. Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
I wish I could say this promise was enough to convince Moses. It wasn’t. He argued until God said Aaron could be the spokesman, but He would help teach them both what to say.
Moses struggled with fear. To my relief, I discovered that many potential ministers faced some of my same fears and worries while contemplating their call to ministry. In each case, God gave them the courage to plunge ahead. Three NOBTS and Leavell College students shared their thoughts with me.
Leavell College student, Kenton Hamilton serves in the music and media ministries of Selma Baptist Church in Dothan, Alabama. He commented, “Moses was SENT! God used him in spite of his inadequacies… If God sends, He will empower. We must be obedient when God sends us!”
Joshua Merrifield, a Leavell College student who teaches Sunday school and children’s church at Nicholson First Baptist Church in Nicholson, Mississippi, shared, “I was fearful that I wasn’t cut out for ministry, or that it wasn’t really my calling… The Lord gracefully gave me a spirit of conviction and confidence; a spirit of excitement and faith… I overcame my fears slowly through prayer, divine circumstances, moderate faith, and a little bit of blind courage. It was all overcome by the grace of God!”
For me, Exodus 4:12 was a life-changer. While I felt unworthy and unable, God used Scripture to encourage me. Just like Moses, I didn’t think I was the best person for the job. I still don’t feel smart, eloquent, or organized enough, but I can’t wait until “someday.” The important thing I remember is that when God calls me to something, He will equip me and enable me to accomplish His purposes. As He promised, God will help us to speak and teach us what to say, but it’s our responsibility to go.
Lord, I pray for those Christian brothers and sisters who fear they cannot do what you’ve called them to do. Help us to surrender to your will, and trust you to complete the work you’ve begun in us. You are greater than any challenge we face. Please help us to speak, teach us what to say, and spur us to go. In Jesus’ name, Amen