I grew up in a culturally Christian home. We were the kind who said a blessing at meals but never talked about God at home. My mother went to church most Sundays and I usually went with her, but other than those hours in a church building, God had little power in my life.
At the age of twelve, I had a personal encounter and gave my life to Jesus. At thirteen, I heard his call into ministry, and knew it was a very specific call to preach. That was not a normal thing for a girl living in the South in 1975, so it took years for me to turn that call into reality.
It wasn’t until I was thirty (a wife and mother) that I was willing to completely surrender my life and will to God. That’s when God asked me to “wake the people sitting in the pews.” I believe it was a call to awaken the Body of Christ to the reality of the Father, to call to life those who are spiritually deadened by “church as usual.” The heart of the Father is for his children to come into an intimate encounter with the Holy Spirit as they surrender to the worked of Christ.
To live out that call, God has given me opportunities to form new expressions of “church.” I started and led a new worship service in downtown Athens, Georgia, where I learned (mostly through my own mistakes!) how to build a sustainable community of faith. It was there that I discovered my gift for speaking especially to those in the margins, who may have been raised in families much like mine, and who have never had the chance to become alive to Christ.