From the Children’s Ministry….

I Timothy 4:14 states, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to your gift, so that others may see your progress.”

I have heard Patsy Brock say that when she was a young girl in church, she was afraid to be called by God because she didn’t want to be a missionary sent to some faraway land.  I have to confess that I had the same fear as a young girl in Girl’s Auxiliary. The belief at that time was that the only calling a female could receive from God was to the mission field.  Women could not be called to the ministry or even to serve as a deacon.

Hartwell First Baptist had our very own missionary to hold up as an example.  Miss Helen Merridith felt God’s call and served as a Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary for thirty seven years, mainly in Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia. When she arrived the first time there was no airport runway. They landed in the water! She never married and seldom returned home to visit with her family. Every little girl in our church knew her name and her story.  We were all told that we, too, may one day receive God’s calling to serve as a missionary. Helen Merridith was held in high esteem. Her calling was real and she served God faithfully. There is no doubt that her ministry fulfilled a great need in God’s kingdom and both she and those with whom she ministered were blessed. However, to young girls who did not fully understand what being called felt like, the idea of leaving family and working alone on a mission field was unsettling, especially when that was the only acceptable calling.

That way of thinking seems so archaic to those of us who attend a church that encourages everyone to follow God’s calling, no matter what that calling may be. The fact that churches that encourage and welcome all to ministry is more an exception than rule is troubling, but I am not going to spend another minute of my life giving credence to those who refuse to see the light on an issue that in my mind and heart has already been decided by the only one that matters.  God calls whom God chooses to call to whatever ministry He wants them to serve. Period. No discussion.

 I am so thankful that as I work with the children of this congregation, I can help them understand that being called by God is nothing to fear.  It is a blessing that should be embraced and treasured. There is no need to dread or fear that call. Our Parkway children have so many wonderful gifts!  I can see God working in each of them. Some may become ministers, some may be missionaries, some will no doubt be deacons, and hopefully each of them will be an active participant in whatever church they belong.  As they grow up and plant their lives here or in other places, we can only hope that they will help spread the message that everyone, male or female, has a place in God’s work and that when they receive God’s call, they respond with a heart-felt, enthusiastic YES!