Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces a fabulous minister, and this week we are pleased to introduce Bridgette Poag.
Bridgette, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
It took me years to answer my call to ministry. I knew from an early age that I was called to work with children but didn’t fully understand my ministerial call until I was in my late thirties. God placed me in public and private schools, on community children’s boards, and in church settings to hone the gifts that would equip me for ministry. The opportunity to attend seminary allowed an even greater source of equipment. Since 2010, I have been the minister to children and their families at First Baptist Church, Dalton, Georgia, and in these past eight years, I have felt that I am finally able to fully use my gifts.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
I LOVE working with children. They bring me such joy. I love children’s excitement for life and how they absorb every detail. I love their minds and creativity. I love their never-ending questions. I love watching them care for one another. I love how working with them makes me feel that I am fulfilling my calling. I love watching them begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an honor and privilege to baptize children into the family of Christ.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
In children’s ministry, I depend on volunteers to assist me with childcare on Sunday mornings, teaching Sunday School, leading children’s choirs, teaching missions, and providing an extra pair of hands. It can be challenging to find dependable, well-equipped, and committed volunteers. Sunday mornings can be stressful when an extended session volunteer doesn’t show up. I cannot leave a group of two-year old’s alone! Scrambling up and down the aisles to find replacements prior to worship can be frustrating.
Recently, I preached on a Sunday morning, and a member later asked my parents if our pastor had written my sermon. I was appalled and disappointed. As females, we have come so far but still have such opportunities for growth. I feel I am now in a position to educate all ages to teach, “God creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does.” Regardless of age or gender, God calls and equips!
What advice would you give to a teenage girl who is sensing a call to ministry?
God’s call comes to all that God creates–in one form or another. A call to serve within the ministry is a unique call that can be experienced by both women and men. We are each “fearfully and wonderfully created.” “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God equips each of us with unique gifts to be used for the kingdom. As a children’s minister, I am constantly teaching children, both girls and boys, that when God calls us to something, we will be equipped to accomplish it. Churches need to encourage and empower women and girls to embrace their calling and seek God’s discernment for direction. I would advise any young lady sensing the call into ministry to find strong female ministry mentors to help counsel them.