Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with a fabulous minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview Demetrea (Meechie) Weakly-Williams. Meechie IS what a minister looks like!
Meechie, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
Reflection on my ministry journey begins with my salvation experience. My family had only been in Houston, Texas for about three years settling in from our big move from Chicago, Illinois. We were attending Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, where my parents served as youth pastors. At the age of five, I surrendered my life to Christ, and I was baptized there. I recall asking my aunt to walk me “down the aisle,” and I told my pastor, Rev. Samuel J. Gilbert Sr., “I want Jesus to save my soul.”
We later moved membership and joined Brookhollow Baptist Church when I was nine. Brookhollow was under the leadership of Dr. Ralph Douglas West. I actively served in the church with children, and with youth, facilitating Sunday School and Christian education classes while being active with the young adult and women’s ministries.
In 2010, I participated in a mentoring program in which we took a spiritual gifts analysis together. I was surprised to learn that I possessed the gifts of preaching and pastoral leadership. I was puzzled. I never saw myself as a pastor or someone with pastoral gifts. I was in denial because preaching was not on my list of “things to do.” I struggled with this. Yet, since that time, God continued to affirm gifts of compassion, exhortation and service to others, pastoral leadership, and preaching.
Then, one night during our family Bible study, I poured my heart out to my parents, saying, “I just want God to tell me, what my ministry is.” My dad, in turn, asked me, “What is it that you are running from?” Initially, I did not respond because his words resonated with me. Was I “running” from something? Deep within me, I sensed that, indeed, God wanted a greater commitment from me. Thus, with tears in my eyes, I accepted God’s claim on my life: I accepted the call to ministry. The next day I called and set up a meeting with my pastor, and we discussed my ministry preparation and education plans.
The following year I was accepted to Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. During my years at Beeson, I served as the assistant of children and youth at Living Stones Temple. After graduation, I was an educator as I ministered to middle and high school students while teaching Bible and Spanish. In 2018, I began my journey in chaplaincy taking Clinical Pastoral Education courses at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, where I currently serve as a staff chaplain. I am currently working on board certification.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
One great source of joy in ministry is the story of my ordination. The church I currently serve in had not ordained a woman since its inception over 100 years ago. I was the first woman to be ordained by my pastor and the church. Family and friends from all over joined me in the celebration of how God moved on the hearts of His people. It was a major milestone in my ministry.
Another great source of joy in ministry is the fact that my husband is in ministry as well. With both of us in ministry, it gives a deeper appreciation because we understand the struggles of ministry. We are able to bounce ideas, thoughts, and understanding of God and scripture to each other.
Another joy in ministry is watching someone be freed from bondage that has kept them captive for far too long.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
The greatest challenge I’ve encountered is how limited opportunities are for women in ministry here in Alabama.
What is the best ministry advice you have been given?
Best ministry advice I hold on to is the encouragement to be myself and not compare myself to others. God has willingly given each of us gifts and talents that are unique to the person. The way that I minster to others isn’t the same as someone else, and that’s totally okay!