When we celebrate a new year, we often think of new beginnings, new transitions, or new goals. What is on the horizon for your new year? Could it be that this is the year you begin to pursue further training to be equipped for ministry to women? We have been in celebration mode this year at NOBTS as we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of our school and the 20th anniversary of our women’s ministry program! At NOBTS, many changes have occurred in our 100-year history. (I’m sure the founders of our institution could not have foreseen online education!) However, what remains the same is God’s faithfulness to equip God called men and women for whatever calling He may give them. In our women’s ministry program, this year brings a new transition, as Courtney Veasey has felt led to focus on her doctoral work and itinerant ministry. Please join us in praying for her as she continues to pursue God’s call on her life and pray for our women’s ministry program as God leads us to another 20 years and beyond!
With that transition, God has given me the privilege of giving leadership to both our women’s academic program and our women’s organizations on campus. In the fall, I shared with you a little bit about how God led me to be equipped for ministry to women through NOBTS that I will share again as a reminder that you never know where God’s calling may take you. Taking my first women’s ministry class, I certainly would not have foreseen that one day God would direct me to give leadership to the program!
Perhaps you have received a clear call from the Lord for ministry to women, or maybe you’re like me, and the Lord’s will for your life seems to be unfolding one step at a time. As a young seminary student, I wasn’t really thinking about ministry to women. At the time my focus of training was on adolescents because I had a heart for ministering to that age group. In my mind, at 22 I barely considered myself old enough to be an adult woman, much less be able to minister to them! However, God impressed upon my heart the need to be prepared for whatever type of ministry He may have for me. So during my course of study, I took several women’s ministry classes so that I would be prepared for any calling God may have for me. Fifteen years later, I am so grateful that I took advantage of the opportunity I had to be equipped to minister to women. What I found is that as I got older, so did the young women to whom I was ministering! What I also found is that women ministering to younger women is a very biblical model! Naturally over the course of time, God continued to place me in more and more settings where I had the opportunity to minister to women of all ages.
Maybe you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know exactly what kind of calling God has placed before you. Perhaps you feel burdened to minister to children or adolescents through the local church or through social work or counseling. One thing to consider is that wherever there are children and adolescents, there are moms! You will likely find yourself ministering to women in some way, shape, or form. My encouragement to all of my God called sisters in ministry is this, equip yourself for being able to minister to whomever, whenever God may call you. As a woman, naturally you will find yourself in many situations where you will be ministering to other women. Thankfully, since 1997 God has given us the opportunity at NOBTS to train and equip women for ministry to other women. Take advantage of that blessing! Women have come for the last 20 years from all different backgrounds with different callings but united in purpose to be equipped for ministering to women. Now we are looking forward to the next 20 and beyond!
So my question for you is this: Where will your calling take you this year?
--Dr. Emily Dean serves as Adjunct Faculty and Director of Women’s Academic Programs & Organizations at NOBTS. You can follow her @emilywdean or emilywdean.com.