Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with an amazing minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview, Johanna Kelley. Johanna IS what a minister looks like!
Johanna, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
I have been serving in my local church since I was saved at 16-years old. I have held every possible job in church except for deaconess. Otherwise, you name it, I have served–Sunday school teacher, Vacation Bible School Director/Teacher, financial secretary, church administrator, maintenance, purchaser of supplies. I thought this was all God wanted me to do in addition to loving Him and my neighbor as myself. Until 3 years ago, when I had a midnight encounter with God, I knew I was called to ministry and to my purpose. At that time, I was rising to the top of my career as an associate professor of microbiology. Shortly after my midnight call, all hell broke loose and I was called out of my career as a scientist. Since that time, I was led to and graduated from Wake Forest University School of Divinity with my Master of Divinity. It was a wonderful but difficult experience for me and another story to say the least. So, here I am now in a space where I run my business to keep the bills paid wondering what is next. There was no place for me in the church I grew up. I loved them and wanted to stay, but I could not spread my wings and follow God’s call. I believe I am now on the cusp of my destiny. With this perfect storm we are watching in the world, God has called and prepared me for this moment and season in time. I am ready to be poured out like a drink offering.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
My greatest source of joy in ministry is to witness the glory of God. When God shows up it is incredible. I am so humbled that God would use me in service.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
The greatest challenges I have encountered in ministry has been patriarchy, jealousy, and white supremacy. All these barriers are set up against everything I am–a woman, highly gifted and anointed, and black. I know that my gift will make room for me in this world because I work for God and no longer for myself. Who can stand against the Lord of host?
What is the best ministry advice you have received?
Every minister has their own call, anointing and purpose to fulfill. To that end, there is no struggle and no fight to get a position. There is only the patience to wait until the time and season is right and when the door is ready to open and the people and ready to receive. I do not know when, how, or who will answer any of these questions. I do know to wait patiently with my spiritual ears open to know it is God’s time. The best advice is simply, “learn how to wait.”