Read our question and answer session with Denise on her journey into the ministry.
How did you get started in the ministry?
Well, actually, it was a developmental thing.
One favorite minister shares, "The life of the ministry is the LIFE OF THE MINISTER." I believe that is very true.
Over the years of serving in a church through the motivational gifts (my motivation being- caring for people), many things landed in my lap. We hosted a home group for many years out of a large church. We did that because of being hospitable and liking people. Before I was a Christian, I liked to party. That transferred over.
I have always seen potential in people, and I think that I can relate well to others. Overcoming childhood hardships can often cause you to be sensitive to how other people feel. Couple that with God's grace and delivering power- and you know, "Hey- If He did it for me – He can do it for you."
I'd see a new person in the church, and I would feel compelled to link them with their area of interest. I'd want to make sure they had heard the message of God's grace.
Had they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? It was an important thing. The more I grew in a revelation of How MUCH GOD loved me…the more I was compelled in ministry-minded ways.
It seemed like it took a sledgehammer to the head to finally get what God was trying to do in our lives, of answering a call to ministry by starting a local church as pastors. We just didn't see ourselves fitting the mold.
Now, of course, we understand that we didn't need to fit a mold!
God didn't want us to fit a mold.
We began a church in 1994…or began meeting weekly in a rented facility. I understand that WE ARE THE CHURCH.
That weekly meeting really evolved out of tape duplicating, distributing them, and witnessing to people. We had led teams on street witnessing outreaches as we told others about knowing Jesus and His gospel. We had hosted home groups for ten years. All of that gave us a good foundation for working with people.
The church beginning in 1994, was a culmination of some essential life appointments and God's Divine timing and speaking.
We were saturating ourselves in the Word and new understanding and revelation beyond our just religious tradition. We were very passionate and excited about sharing it too.
What obstacles did you overcome getting started?
I'd say even getting started was a significant obstacle. We always felt 'not qualified.' But through some good bible teaching- we knew we couldn't go by our feelings. God called us, and God qualified us.
Then feeling an invisible rejection from the religious community was another block in the road. We just went around it. We settled in our hearts that although it is good to have other ministry leaders recognize what God is doing, it will not always happen that way.
We didn't need anyone's permission to obey God's calling and directives to us. We really had to get new definitions written in our hearts. God was so faithful to give us supernatural confirmations and new relationships. It was amazing how things began to unfold with repetitious encounters with other Christians that God wanted us involved with.
Did you experience any limitations put upon your ministry by others because you are a woman?
Yes, there were some. Many of the limitations were self-imposed. I was blessed with a husband who has a strong personality who didn't try and hinder any gifts I exercised.
Even though we had been indoctrinated strongly against women preachers, etc. I honestly think we just never quite believed it anyway. It didn't seem consistent with the way Jesus treated people.
It was a contradictory mode of conduct.
How can women be good enough to go on the mission field but not preach behind an American church pulpit?
I remember wondering to myself, "Why? Why do I do the things I do?" I functioned very naturally in some areas. To deny those unctions would be very repressive. I was really questioning my own motivations. God spoke to me along the way and revealed that it was His calling for me. He confirmed it through His Word. When God speaks- it clears up all the scuttle-butt.
There are definitely encounters along the way with resistance to a 'woman' minister. Most often by other ministry leaders. I really look at it as though it is someone else's personal issue to sort out. I don't feel like I have to prove anything.
Just as we host guest ministers in our church- we know they will be received better by some rather than others. There can be preferences involved. The body of Christ will be ministered to on an individual basis by particular giftings. It doesn't matter who does the ministering; whoever receives and gets blessed is the important thing. That is the beauty of Christ's body.