The moment you hear Trillia Newbell’s voice, one feature sticks out: her infectious joy. Although her books and articles have addressed such difficult topics as fear, sexual brokenness, and the need for diversity in the church, Newbell has a reputation for facing down darkness with an unshakable buoyancy. As she herself writes, “I’m not optimistic because I’m naïve (at least not completely) or because I think there isn’t evil in the world (my heart often proves otherwise) but because of the gospel.”
Despite Newbell’s successes as a writer and women’s ministry leader, however, her hope hasn’t been won easily. Like many whose day-to-day lives are shaped by ministry’s demands, she still struggles to balance her vocational service to the body of Christ with involvement in her local church:
I serve at the local church. My problem is that sometimes I’m at things like [this conference], and it takes me away from the local church. So, I don’t have trouble serving as long as I’m there, or home. . . . This is actually one of the things I asked my pastor before I joined—I was like, “I just need a safe place, because I’m ministering all the time. I don’t want to be ministering all the time. There are times where I just need to be able to cry, and weep, or ask for prayer. . . .”There has to be space where everything can’t be ministry. Everything can’t be your ministry. And so my local church is a part of my ministry. . . . God calls us to a body, and I’m a part of that. I’m the pinky. I’m a part of his body, and I’m going to serve, and I’m going to serve in whatever way they need me ...1
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