Trailblazing {Devotion by Jenny Andrews}

trailblazing

I became the director of a mentoring ministry in my local church at the age of 28. To say that I was scared would be an understatement. I don’t know how many times I questioned God and His calling in my life at that moment. I thought to myself, often, surely this is a mistake.  Who am I to lead in this area?  But, the Lord knew just what to do with me. He gave me the strength and courage to persevere through the unknown many times.

I didn’t grow up in the church or how to start a ministry. I started to read books and educate myself on ministry; meanwhile I was in college going to school for a degree in accounting. It then hit me one day that I could use the tools I was learning in my business school to apply them to my new ministry. I became organized and started to see the tools the Lord was giving me in the business world as blessing for His kingdom. After 6 years in the ministry I had everything down pat. The ministry grew, and I am now teaching others how to start their own ministry in mentoring. What I also came to understand was that I was a trailblazer in this type of ministry for my church.

The word trailblazer is defined as:

1.a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness; pathfinder.

2.a pioneer in any field of endeavor:

Isn’t that what leadership is? We are all leading in new areas of our life whether in ministry, at home, in the work place, or other areas. We are all trailblazing in leadership. I think it is amazing that there are no two people alike in this world and that the Lord has a specific call on our individual lives.

Most recently I was speaking at a Native American Women’s Conference and I met a woman who said to me, “Jenny you are pioneer for your people the Lakota.” Her statement impacted me in a positive way and made me reflect on all the Lord was doing in my life at that moment. He used her to remind me that He is the leader of my trailblaze and that He will be the one to set the path before me. I now trailblazing in a new area with a new season of calling in life, but I am embracing it thanks to that one sentence said to me.

We all get to be trailblazers. I know it comes with unchartered territory, but can I remind you that the Lord has already equipped you. I leave you with this passage in the Bible because it assures me that although this may be new area of leadership to you or me it isn’t to the Lord.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Introducing the LeadHer Conference!

69REGISTRATION

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Call to Leadership – Devotion

stonewall

The Call to Leadership

By Jenny Andrews

I sat in a bible study as I heard a woman ask a question that was foundational to our Christian faith.  She had been a believer for over 10 years and I thought to myself, why doesn’t she know that answer? I was a newer believer and knew the answer to her question. In that moment my heart was burdened because it seemed to me that no one had really taken the time to teach her.  This scene played over in my mind as I went home that night to pray and ask God what could I do.

It was that day I felt weeping in my heart for women to know who Jesus is and for women to see who they are in Christ. That day challenged me.  I recalled a bible study that I had went through, at my last church with an older woman, so I pulled it out and thought to myself: this is it! I want to do this bible study with her so she will know how much Jesus wants her to know him.

I spent several weeks in prayer and then went before Pastor of Ministries to share my heart and burden for this woman. I asked him if I could do the bible study with her, and he took the study to review. A short while later I was invited into a women’s ministry team meeting and was asked to lead a discipleship ministry. God had heard my prayers (and I was not quite ready for that) but I found favor with the pastor. I took the material and begin to use the study to influence other women in my church, and I asked other women to help me in the process of building up women too.

That was over 6 years ago, and during that time I had many challenges and obstacles. Yet, through it all the Lord helped me each step of the way.  He got me through the darkest times in my life.  During that same time frame of building this ministry I lost both of my parents to illnesses, and those days seemed the hardest, but God is getting me through that as well.

I am reminded of a great leader in the Bible his name is Nehemiah. Nehemiah had a burden for God’s people and the Lord used him greatly. He wept for his people and prayed for the God of Israel to help them. (Neh 1:3-4) Nehemiah didn’t just pray though, he went into action. (Neh 2:11) He then went before the king and asked for help, and he found favor with the king (Neh 2:4-6). He was a man of influence before his people and called them to help with the building of the wall (Neh 2:18). He not only leads the people he encouraged them in the work they did even when other opposed them (Neh 2:20).

As leaders, we must remember the call to leadership and why we do what we do. We do it, because we know that is what we are called to do. We will have opposition along the way, but remember the favor we have in Christ. We don’t give up, but we persevere through trials and tests; because we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. When all is said and done, we will one day hear our Savior say,

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!'” (Matt 25:23)

Leading Ladies Series: Introducing Jenny

introjenny

My name is Jenny Andrews (Big Crow), I have heard the saying that to understand a person and what they do you should first understand where they came from and their past so I will start there.

When I was 13 years old growing up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation I encountered a heartbreaking situation that gave me the desire to help others. It was in the middle of winter when my family and I drove past an unconscious man on the side of the road. He was in, White Clay, Nebraska a small town next to my reservation that sells mostly alcohol and groceries. I begged my step father and mother to turn around and go back to check on the man. They did and the man seemed frozen. I got out of the car and went to cover him with my coat. I called 911 and they came with an ambulance to rescue this man. The paramedics told me that the man shows signs of hypothermia and that they were grateful I called them. As I stood by the ambulance, and watched them load the man, he stopped and looked me in the eyes with tears, he said, “Thank you! If you didn’t stop I would be dead.” I will never forget that look in the man’s eyes and how I made a difference in his life. At that moment in my life I knew I wanted to help people.

My experiences growing up on the poorest reservation in American exposed me to alcohol, drugs, and violence at a young age which was very challenging. However, in the spring of 2006, I had a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, which changed me from the inside out, and I knew that I wanted to help people the same way I helped that man so many years ago. Although, I want to help people physically, my uttermost desire is to provide an eternal impact on people’s lives. I begin college and ministry work as a result.

I graduated with my BBA in accounting in hopes that my education will help me make an impact for those around me through my knowledge and gifts of accounting. I am pursued this degree to gain knowledge in business and finance to prepare myself for ministry in nonprofit organizations. Currently, I work part-time at my church as the Financial Administrator. I also trained under a one-year discipleship program that provided me with a solid base of practical and theological training in biblical studies and church planting. Through this program I earned a Certification in Practical Theology which I use to help others grow.

I started a women’s discipleship ministry over 6 years ago that has grown into a great mentoring ministry within our church body.  The ministry had such a profound impact that the men started the ministry as well. I equip women in the ministry to fulfill their callings as disciple-makers and to encourage other women to embrace their callings in discipleship.  This ministry has taught me a lot about myself and others. I do training meeting with other churches who would like to begin a One to One mentoring program in their churches.  

I have taught others to study the bible for over 10 years. I enjoy teaching women how to study the word of God thus a passion to see women grow has been my life calling. I encourage and equip women to study the word so they can see who they are in Christ and rightly divide truth. I love teaching but I also love learning and growing in my relationship with Christ.

 I am a public speaker and use my gifts to bless others with the wisdom and knowledge that the Lord has given me. I spoke on the radio, at conferences and just about anywhere the Lord will open a door for me to use my gift. I also do mission work to Native American reservations across America teaching women and children about Jesus. I desire to see my people be set free in Christ and for them to know they are created for a reason.

The role that is most important to me is being the wife to Neil Sr and the mother to 3 handsome boys, Elijah, Neil Jr and Malachi. I love my family and strive to live godly as a wife and mother.  I am blessed daily to be with my children. They make me proud.

While all of this is great I consistently strive to stay humble because I know where I can from and the brokenness I had before I met Jesus. I am a work in progress but I am Jesus’ work in progress and He is doing a great job at refining me into the woman He has called me to be. It is an ugly process at times and can even make me want to give up some days but He is faithful to me through it all.  My prayer is that over the next few months you will see that I am just your average woman wanting to walk out my faith the best way I know how to. I am looking forward to sharing my heart with you women.

Eat, Drink, and Remember.

eatdrinkremember

Women are inherently emotional creation, emotional in how we connect with others and respond to the situations we are in.  Men work on a different level, entirely.  It’s why you can meet for your women’s study group every week and wish you could meet more often; yet your husband might be content with meeting once a month to check in with the guys.  It is for this reason, emotional connection, the Women’s Ministry Council has a heart for building up a broad view of Women’s Ministry.

Brunches are great, as they fulfil our need to connect personally with others.  Yet, they often lack deep instruction.  Bible Studies are a great way to find instruction and wisdom.  Yet, they often have a changing of attendees that prevents real relationships from forming.  Small Groups, of set members who change study materials, may create a community;  but too often those community groups can close out new people who bring their own wisdom and value.

A Women’s Ministry that solely relies on monthly brunches is not going to a have a long term deep impact on the spiritual growth of women in their church.

A Women’s Ministry that solely relies on Bible Studies and Small Groups is not going to connect the women in corporate worship and instruction.

We must strike balance.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

~ Hebrews 10:23-25

The same can be said about how diverse our ministries are.  A Women’s Ministry that sits in the safety of the programs and offerings it has always provided is going to continue bringing like minded women.  However, it will be a near impossibility to diversify that ministry program to include a broader representation of your church or community.

During the last WMC meeting, one point that both Aimee Nelson and Jenny Andrews was made is our common identity.  Before all things we are Christian women, daughters of the King.  This is our common unity.

I can eat, drink, and remember how Christ changed my life… regardless of what food is on my plate or drink fills my cup.  I can do this at a table in a local café, or the home of a new friend.  To sit and break bread with a fellow believer sharing our testimonies with one another is a blessing beyond measure.  Regardless of our skin color or backgrounds, we love the same God.

It can be difficult to facilitate change in a ministry where many area already accustomed to certain events. We cannot facilitate change if we do things the same way we have always done.  Yet, if you change everything you may bring in new faces and your women already invested may leave, which doesn’t help bring people together either.  Change is hard.   However we can begin to implement change in smaller measures.

What if…

What if I invited a worship singer from a local African American church to sing for the worship portion of our brunch?

What if I went to a local, family owned, ethnic restaurant and catered in dinner for our next guest speaker?

What if our next speaker was born in another country?

What if our next keynote speaker at our retreat was a woman rescued from sex trafficking?

What if our next Bible Study was written by an African American author or a woman from another country?

What if we began a series of events where we brought in women from various ethnic churches in our community to learn more about who they are, what their ministry goals are, and how we can help?

You don’t have to dismantle and rebuild a ministry to bring change via a total overhaul.  You can begin to take small steps, over time.

Eat, drink, and remember…

we are all precious in His sight.

The Panel Recording

DUpanelpic

Panel Moderator:  Gena McCown      Panel Contributors:  Jenny Andrews, Aimee Nelson

Click Here To Listen to the Audio Recording of the Panel Session

PLEASE NOTE:  We allowed questions to be submitted anonymously.  We made the decision to read the question as it was written, we were not going to adjust the questions at all.  This kept our session authentic.  We all agreed to receive the questions with grace, and good intentions.  However, the answers may have been adjusted as this is a learning opportunity.

The first question was missed, which was what is the correct terms to refer to people of other races/ethnicities.  The answer begins with the uniqueness we have in S. FL as we are an entry point and home to many first generation immigrants.  In S. FL.  African American does not apply to everyone who has dark skin.  The audio carries on the answer defining the various ethnicities we encounter in S. FL and the rest of the questions.

Unfortunately we were moved outside for the meeting, which inhibited our ability to video the panel, and hit the audio with some unexpected noises.  Praise God we have this to share with those who couldn’t attend.

We have decided that this subject is going to be continued in future discussions.