Each Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. This week, we’re excited to introduce Michelle Garber.
Michelle, tell us about your ministry journey, the places and ways you have been serving and are serving.
My ministry journey began by serving in churches, in both paid and non-paid positions, mainly in the areas of education, faith development, and congregational life. My current position at McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University continues to allow me to share my gifts through teaching and administration, just in slightly different ways! Now my ministry context is a seminary and I serve our students and alumni. I wear many “hats” in my position, but my favorite aspects of serving involve helping our students find their path, listening to their stories, and encouraging them in their journeys.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
Whether I’m teaching a Doctor of Ministry workshop, advising a student on their schedule, or seeking ways to help someone persist in their educational journey, my greatest joy is watching our students succeed and demonstrate creativity, persistence, and passion for their callings.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
I’m a “fixer” and a problem solver. Sometimes, it’s really hard to just sit back and listen or watch and not jump in and try to “fix” things for everyone. Sometimes I just need to listen or let people discover that they have chosen poorly. That’s hard.
How do you stay healthy, physically and spiritually?
I think I am still learning how to do all of that! But I have found that I need balance in at least four areas—fitness, creative expression, friendships, and nature. Strength training and walking are great ways to stay fit and work out stress. Photography and, more recently, sewing/quilting help me to express myself creatively—and give me projects that provide a sense of completion and productivity. Our Supper Club, consisting of four families that meet bi-monthly, allows time to feast and fellowship. And camping and nature walks restore my soul and let me take in God’s beautiful creation!
What is the best ministry advice you have received?
Be present. You don’t always have to have the words, the answers, or the solutions, but your physical presence with a caring heart and listening ear is incredibly powerful.