What is your ministry?
I am a singer / songwriter, called to prophesy and lead congregations in worship
I am 28years old and currently working on my debut worship album. After years ministering in gospel music in concerts, festivals and church events, I am very excited about being able to share my testimony and love for the Lord with more audiences. God has also led me to start a development programme for worship leaders through a brand new ministry called the Artist Connection Agency. Through the programme I am able to share, teach and encourage worshippers. You can read more about my ministry and upcoming events at www.myspace.com/andrealouiseonline
At what age did you feel the Lord's calling in your life to go into ministry?
Although I was baptized at the age of 7 it wasn't until about the age of about 14 that I really began to understand the power of the gifts and callings of God on my life. It was around this age that I felt a real pull to ministry and making the Lord's business a priority in my life. A little while after this a group of four friends at my school asked me to start a gospel choir. As the choir's popularity grew almost overnight to 60 members, I quickly realized that being at school wasn't just about a secular education. Ministry began for me as I encouraged, taught and witnessed to my peers on that choir, some of whom went on to attend churches for themselves!
Has there been a time where you have felt discourage or intimidated as a young woman in ministry?
When I first started leading worship at my home church I used to get very frustrated when others didn't sing, or clap our shout or express themselves as enthusiastically as me. I'm sure you've seen the scenario before an overzealous worship leader shouting and jumping all over the place up on the podium and a less than enthusiastic congregation half heartedly singing, but more focused on the acrobatics of the worship leader! Over the years I've learnt that you have to love the congregation you're serving before you can truly minister to them. A friend of mine once shared this saying with me: "They have to know that you care, before they care what you know". I have found this to be very true for me as a worship leader. At times a cold faced congregation can feel intimidating, and even make you discouraged, but I've learnt that sometimes behind those cold expressions are hungry hearts just waiting for the right compassionate encouragement to lead them into the presence of God.
Do you think that there is a great gender gap between men and women in ministry?
Society's perception of women has had a bearing on the church throughout the years. So as each generation has passed and the roles of women have changed and so have their roles within the church. However in my personal experience and my understanding of scripture God has never made allowances for a gender gap in His Kingdom. 1 Corinthians 12:6 explains that although there are diversities of operations of gifs in the body of Christ "it is the same God which worketh all in all". In the Kingdom of God we are all called to minister and serve his people whether man or woman. What empowers us for service is His spirit which is the same in all of us. I'm not ignoring the fact that women often face challenges when entering or pursuing their ministries, whether they be misperceptions from family, or traditions upheld by leadership or even personal battles of esteem and self worth. While this may have produced 'gaps' in terms of the ratio of women to men in certain ministries e.g. Pastorships. I believe that God calls and equips who he chooses to do his work whether man or woman, but it is up to us to answer that call, and allow His spirit to stir up the gifts within us. My point is that although 'gaps' may exist provision has already been made by the spirit of God for them to be closed, and the Lord always makes a way for his women to do his work despite any challenges they may face. For example when Jesus met the woman at the well in St John 4, the traditions of the time meant that her gender should have been a barrier to even talking to Jesus. BUT, this lady's ministry was kick started into action in one conversation with the master. God made allowances for this woman to have a revelation of the Messiah and answer his call. Verse 29 shows that the Samaritan woman became an evangelist to her whole city. This example shows that although woman may face different challenges to men in entering ministry, God always makes provisions for them to answer his call and fulfil their assignment, His power and spirit will always close any potential gender 'gaps'.
What advice would you give to young women who God is calling but may feel intimidated to go into ministry?
Intimidation comes from a spirit of fear, and the reality is that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. However you feel the call of God on your life the best thing to do is to respond positively like Samuel did. You have to bear in mind that if God is calling you, he has already equipped you with what it takes to answer that call. The power and love and clarity of mind is already there, yes it may need development but the potential is already there, that's why God is calling you. And remember that even if you stumble along the way God's grace is sufficient to keep you, and His strength will be made perfect in your weakness. What helped me over the years was to remember that Josiah, David, and even Jesus heard and responded to the call of God on their lives at a young age. To overcome intimidation we have to walk by faith like peter did on the water. Peter stepped out of the boat because he trusted who was calling him onto the water. It wasn't so much the call or the challenge that moved peter, but it was because Jesus was calling him that he went.
I would encourage any young woman to be themselves in ministry, don't try to be like anyone else, remember that God is calling you to be YOU. Stay focused on what he's saying to you, get connected positive influences and mentors that can edify you and tell you the truth about yourself.
Marie Grossett aka Vanessa Grossett is a published Author, and has interviewed best selling and award winning Christian Authors.
She is a Literary Agent at The Authors Care Services ltd. www.theauthorscare.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
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