What would your ministry look like if you…
- Took a leap without knowing where you’d land.
- Built the plane as you were flying it.
- Experimented with new ideas, even the ones that sound too crazy to speak out loud.
- Pushed beyond your fears and insecurities.
From 2002-2007 I was wrestling with a call to launch a women’s ministry. The Lord gave me the name for the ministry, but that was it. For five years I carried this name around while questioning God on next steps. I never received any direction. In fact, I had just about given up. After-all, I had a great ministry job working for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association at The Cove in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC. It was like breakfast at Shoney’s buffet every day as I feasted from the table of incredibly gifted speakers and worship leaders who came there to minister. What more could a girl want?!
One morning in my prayer time as I was praying about the day ahead, not seeking anything specific, one word popped into my head and overwhelmed my spirit.
Yep…you read that correctly!
I jumped up with excitement and told my husband “I finally know what I’m supposed to do! I have a ministry to strippers.”
Hubby, with the deer in the headlight look says… “ummm ok????”
I went to work that morning and ran downstairs to my friend Kim’s cubicle. I was so excited to invite her to come to the strip club with me! We devised a master plan to take gift bags to the dancers at a local club in Asheville, NC. On New Year’s Eve we delivered 14 goody bags. It was so exciting! We put a business card with the ministry name on it and my cell phone number. The bouncer at the door told us he’d put them in the dressing room. We left hoping and praying each young lady received a bag.
About two weeks later my phone rings with an unknown number. I answer and there’s a sweet voice on the line. Her name was Brandy. She said she was calling to say thank you for the gift bag. She said there were 14 dancers working that night and they each received one.
She asked me: “Why would you do something like this? Don’t you think I’m nasty?”
My response: “Girl…please!! Do you like Mexican food? Let’s do lunch.”
Brandy from the Treasure Club became the first sexually exploited young lady to receive services from a ministry that was not even formalized (but it was totally official because we had business cards). :)
Opening the first Christ-centered, accredited and licensed home for sex trafficked teens in the U.S. just two years after meeting Brandy was NOT something on my radar, however, I know that it was planned for me in advance (Eph. 2:10). In fact, God led me to a rental home on Craigslist that I had seen in prayer. It was a big white home with white pillars…identical to the vision I had. When I called to inquire if it was still available, the owner said, “we’ve been waiting for you.” The Lord had given her a vision for a ministry that was supposed to come rent the home. However, the Lord did not tell her to give it to us for free. I certainly tried!!
I told her we were a new ministry with very little money, and I was not sure we could pay the monthly rent. She assured me God would provide. We signed the lease, emptied our bank account with the deposit and first month’s rent, shared communion and prayed for God’s provision.
The week before the second month’s rent payment was due, we did not have it. My board was beginning to panic. My husband was certainly panicking. I was freaking out on the inside but trying to remain calm for the sake of everyone involved. I just kept telling them to pray. I kept reminding them of God’s promises and how He led us to this house.
Two days before rent was due, we received a $10,000 check from Natalie Grant (Christian music artist). Her check came with a note that $5,000 more was coming. Isn’t that just like God? He moved at the last minute so He could get all the glory!
For a decade, I met and ministered to over 300 "Brandy’s" (ages 12-25). Each with their own story of brokenness. An incredible ministry was formed, despite my own brokenness and inabilities. I had never led a nonprofit. I had no social work degree. I had no experience with PTSD or traumatized teens. I had no clue how to fundraise. I had no rich friends who could write big checks.
Was it scary? HECK YES!!
But… guess what?
- I took a leap without know where I’d land.
- I built the plane as I was flying it.
- I experimented with new ideas, even the ones that sounded too crazy to speak out loud.
- I pushed beyond my fears and insecurities ( I did it scared many days).
Dr. Michaela O’Donnell Long said in a blog on Faith Driven Entrepreneur: “Trying things, iterating, and reflecting are some of our greatest tools for learning about how God is forming us and fitting us for this world. In this, we are reminded that vocation is formed, not found through an ongoing—and often complicated—process of discernment rooted in context, convictions, and community. In other words, action precedes reflection. Thus, experimentation precedes formation.”
I pray this year brings you new experiments, adventures and opportunities to do it scared.
THAT is when you really get to see how BIG God is.
Hope House 2008