Each Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces a fabulous minister. This week, we are excited to introduce Katrina Brooks.
Katrina, tell us about your ministry journey, the places and ways you have been serving and are serving?
Growing up in a faithful, practicing Catholic family, the Church’s rhythms and rituals played a role in my call into ministry. In college after becoming disappointed with options to serve, I intentionally chose to become Baptist and found a community of faith eager to nurture my calling and equip me to lead and serve. The congregation affirmed me, licensed me, encouraged me to explore ministry options, and even let me make mistakes.
When I married, the voices of encouragement changed. The voices seemed insistent my ministry must be lived out as a minister’s wife. Who I was, what I was called to do, and who I was to be were to be second to that of my husband. Inwardly, I pushed back. Outwardly, I listened to the voices, and a part of my self went into hiding. After our children were born it became more difficult to not be my whole self. I had to understand why I was not whole. My quest led me to seminary and to the realization my husband wanted me to serve, wanted me to be all God was calling me to be, and wanted me to tell the voices to “shut up”.
In seminary, I had the opportunity to listen, to really listen, to God’s voice. One day in Sam Ballantine’s lecture on Old Testament prophets, I heard God say, “You cannot continue to live out your calling through your husband. I have something only you can do, and I need you to begin preparing for it.” Agreeing to begin the journey “woke me up” and empowered me to become. “Waking up” led me to serve in a host of ministerial positions including associate minister of Christian education, interim chaplain, pulpit supply and revival preacher, conference leader, and as a senior pastor. I currently serve Generation Y and Generation Z as a university chaplain and youth pastor.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
Being present when someone discovers something new about God and what it means to be a Christ follower, being present when someone “wakes up” and accepts God’s invitation to “do something” or “be something”, asking hard, intentional questions which lead to new discoveries by the hearer, remembering how saying yes years earlier results in something wondrous in the present…. I could keep going. I am that blessed.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
The temptation to hear negative comments, dismissals, rejections, and intentional disrespect as valid, rather than as commentary on the one who issues the assault.
How do you stay healthy, physically and spiritually?
As one who navigates a chronic autoimmune disease, my physical and spiritual self are intricately woven together. Even after five years, I continue to be amazed at how drinking enough water, eating correctly, taking my meds and nutritional supplements, taking time to rest, walking, and even controlled breathing can impact my day and my spiritual disciplines. I am in tune with the academic calendar and schedule self-care time slots in order to balance the external stress that comes with serving young adults. I intentionally schedule a day off a week and during intense youth ministry days I delegate responsibilities and create space for me. At first this was difficult. I thought it would be seen as “not doing my job”, but what I have come to understand is it is in everyone’s best interest that I am whole and serving at an optimal level.
What is the best ministry advice you have been given?
“The sun doesn’t come up at the same time around the world” reminds me to be patient and remember I am “in it” for the long haul.
“It is not about you” reminds me God is God and I am not.
“Stories cannot be told from a male point of view only” is something I heard last week as I was trying to discern my next vocational step. Coupled with the other two, this advice will serve me well as I discern options and opportunities.