I was not privileged to grow up in a Bible teaching church. My religion only gave a cursory mention of God’s Word during one part of the Sunday service. As a child I never learned the Bible stories of God’s Saints who walked in God’s ways. I had no mentors or Sunday school teachers, Bible study teachers, or preachers from which to learn God’s Word. I did not even have people around me who were walking in the ways of the Lord.
To say that I experienced spiritual deprivation is an understatement. However, at age 18, I was invited by Jane, my co-worker in the yearbook staff on our local Junior College campus, to a Baptist Student Union meeting. In preparation for my first meeting, I studied the catechism that I learned as a child, and I went prepared to defend my religion to the room full of Baptists.
There was no need. At the door, people greeted me whom I knew from high school, and they warmly welcomed me to the meeting. I continued to attend these meetings throughout my Junior College days. I felt like a dry sponge soaking up all the truth from God’s Word that I could receive. The people were just as friendly to me every week as they were at that first meeting I attended.
Also, my co-worker in yearbook class decided to mentor me all through the week. She purchased for me an inexpensive paperback New Testament written in a more modern vernacular, and she wrote in it the references of the verses for the “Roman’s Road of Salvation.” As I followed the verses one by one, I experienced a treasure hunt through the Bible.
After reading all the verses, I went back and pondered each one. I read the verses in the context of these verses before and after the highlighted scriptures. Gradually, the need for my own conversion through repentance and belief in Jesus’ saving work on Calvary’s cross penetrated my soul (John 3:16-18).
I prayed the prayer that Jane inscribed in the front of her gift of my chunky New Testament, and I entered a whole new spiritual experience as I submitted my life over to the Lord. I felt like a brand-new person (2 Corinthians 5:17). My melancholy personality had hope for the first time in my life. I knew for certain that the proverbial “glass” was now half full instead of half empty.
A very handsome young man started attending the Baptist Student Union soon after I did, and we started dating. He too was a new Believer, so we experienced a similar walk with the Lord. We enjoyed the same activities and made a deep commitment to each other and to God to pursue spiritual endeavors with our life. We were amazed at how God used us in His service individually and as a couple. About a year later, we were married.
He surrendered to the ministry as a Pastor, and I served as the Children’s Sunday School director in his first church and taught the preschool class. I learned so much during my service in this area. The children, many who attended a Bible believing church longer than I did, taught me insights into the Bible stories which I read to them each week. They mentored me as I attempted to mentor them.
This was, and still is as I assist in a preschool class even now, the most rewarding service I have ever been privileged to endeavor for the Lord. As a Pastor’s wife, I experienced great grace and love from the congregations in which we served, as well as some criticism and thinly veiled, sarcastic “suggestions” from other people.
I want to inspire you to realize that your Pastor and his family are human too. They need encouragement, acceptance, mercy, and love just as you do. October is one month commonly chosen to honor our Pastor. As hard-working, dedicated people they need your understanding, consideration, and grace throughout the year.
Do not require that they do all the outreach for your congregation without your help. God calls us all to go out into our community, city, state, and the uttermost parts of the world as a testimony to the goodness of God, and as a witness of our human need for repentance and belief in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18). As we all work together, the Kingdom of God will grow both now and for eternity (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Acts 28:31).
There is no other activity in life that is more fulfilling than serving God right where He plants us. There are many opportunities to fill up our schedule with busyness, but assisting in God’s work through our community, vocation, and church family is paramount in the rewards we reap with our efforts both now and throughout eternity.
Written by: Kathleen Bradley Kathleen was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and her parents transplanted her at age five to Pensacola, FL. At 18, she met Jesus Christ at Pensacola Junior College in the Baptist Student Union. At twenty, she married a pastor; and, since then, has enjoyed over 50 years of ministry with the Lord. You can find her ministering with her husband in the Pastoral ministry at Valier First Baptist and online on her nightly devotional blog.
Photo by Esther Trantham.