Each Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. This week, we are thrilled to introduce Amy Grizzle Kane.
Amy, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and will be serving.
I was born in Hale. . .not a typo. My Dad was attending Midwestern Theological Seminary and serving as a student pastor in Hale, Missouri when I was born. I’ve been raised as a preacher’s kid by church families my whole life. I remember coloring on bulletins under the pews during business meetings and getting candy at the retirement homes when I went to visit with my Dad. It’s a joy and an honor to now be able to serve in churches as a staff minister, first at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas as a pastoral resident, then at South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas as a minister to adults for ten years, and now as the associate pastor for missions at First Baptist Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. I love helping create community like those that helped form me as a follower of Christ.
What are the greatest challenges you have faced in ministry?
I still remember a seminary professor saying, “ministers are not to be a quivering mass of availability.” I was always challenged thinking about that. My gut instinct was to disagree: of course it’s my job to be available to serve others. Yet, I’ve learned the truth in his sentiment. You can’t always be available to others 24-7 or you will find yourself unavailable to God and inattentive to the Holy Spirit—there is no strength in depleting all of what I have to give. Preserving something of my self, my selfhood, means I have more of myself to give to others in a more generous way. That’s always easier said than done in ministry when there are always more needs than hours. Preserving my image-of-God-created-self as a servant to God in the midst of unceasing demand and need is a challenge I face and try to conquer again, each and every day.
What are your greatest joys in ministry?
I am truly thankful and challenged to be a minister mom. I list minister first simply because that was how life happened chronologically. I grew up not wanting to follow in my Dad’s footsteps, but instead wanting to be the President or a Georgia Bulldog cheerleader—both equal callings, right? As I grew older, I thought I didn’t want to be a parent. Funny, God called me to the two vocational identities I didn’t see in myself. Parenthood is one of the greatest joys and challenges I’ve known. Parenthood in the midst of ministry is also a great joy and challenge. Knowing I have very little ones who also have unceasing needs and demands forces me to preserve some of myself for the cute little munchkins who fill my heart and deplete my patience all at the same time (funny how that’s not unlike church ministry).
What is the best ministry advice you have been given?
Be yourself. That sounds simple and easy to dismiss as trite. Yet, implicit in that advice is to be the self God uniquely created you to be. Implicit in the being of your created-in-the-image-of-God-self is finding the courage and having the discipline to discover, strengthen, and value who you are made to be. That takes some work and time. Becoming a follower of Christ is a daily discipline for anyone, especially for ministers and pastors. For me, being myself means owning not only my unique spiritual gifts and skills, but also owning and cherishing my God-created identities as woman, daughter, sister, minister, wife, and mother.
I have been surprised to have so many tell me what a difference my being a woman in the pulpit has made to them. It has been a joy to know that being me, being a woman does matter. It matters to the young girls and teen women and young adult women to see and to know women can and do serve effectively. It matters that they have someone they feel they can talk to about issues that seem too sensitive to share with a man. It matters that other young working moms see someone they can relate to. It matters that my lighthearted silliness can be a value in a tense committee meeting or that my organizational knack can help a church add efficient structure. It matters that I work everyday to care for myself and to be myself.