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Three Lessons for Women in Ministry from Catherine Booth

The co-founder of The Salvation Army lived out her calling and left a lasting legacy.
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Often, we get in our minds what we’d like to do, yet we overlook the steps we must take to get there—whether that’s learning from others or gaining experience by serving. A woman once approached me saying she felt called to a national speaking ministry. She had no experience, though, because no one had asked her to speak. I suggested she volunteer to speak for a local children’s ministry that was actively looking for help. Uninterested in ministering to children, she passed on this opportunity that could have given her much-needed experience and opened many doors. Needless to say, she has never had a speaking ministry.

Catherine’s example is such a wonderful picture of patience. Do you feel called to some large-scale ministry? Rather than focus on the end goal, lay your hand to the task before you. Say yes to more mundane responsibilities and do them with joy, letting God prepare you for what he has in mind. Remember that “if you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones” (Luke 16:10).

Trust God to grow your ministry.

The time Catherine spent speaking to children was not wasted. Through that endeavor, she gained confidence in her ability to minister. God used that time to hone her oratory abilities and to give her a vision for influencing others.

In those early days of ministry, Catherine had no idea God would give her lasting impact. Her husband’s support provided her more chances to speak and a stronger influence than she would have thought possible. She not only had numerous opportunities to move the hearts of the wealthy in England to help the poor, but she continues to influence today through the legacy she left in The Salvation Army.

Defend women who are called to minister.

Although many in Christendom dismissed Catherine’s obvious gifts because she was a woman, she didn’t let that discourage her. She not only continued using the abilities God gave her, but also defended other women who felt inhibited in serving God as he called them.


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