Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with an amazing minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview, Natasha Nedrick. Natasha IS what a minister looks like!
Natasha, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
Oddly enough, my call to ministry started with a conversation with an atheist. After college, I was working in Corporate America. I had just watched a History Channel documentary about Jesus and started telling my atheist coworker all about it. He listened to me banter for about 30 minutes. When he couldn’t take anymore, he said, “Why are you here? You are way more passionate about the church than anything you do here!” A year later, I quit my job and started seminary.
Since then, God has blessed me with too many ministry opportunities to name. Here are a few. My first role was as the Christian education director at Greater New Light in Waco, TX. There I had the opportunity to launch small groups for the first time. Simultaneous, I worked as a community educator for the Family Abuse Center where I educated pastors and churches on prevention and response to domestic abuse. After graduating from seminary, I became Methodist for a year. I served as the associate pastor of One Fellowship U.M.C. I then moved to Atlanta, where I worked for the Global Missions at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship headquarters. I didn’t anticipate it, but I fell in love with CBF. It was the first Baptist environment that fully affirmed, embraced, and gave me many opportunities I never received before as a woman in ministry.
Most recently, I have launched my own coaching and consulting business, Empowering Imprints. As an empowerment coach, I work with faith-based entrepreneurs and professionals to make an impact outside the four walls of the church. I am also an associate minister at Greenforest Community Baptist Church where I have served as the ministry coordinator and assist in youth ministry.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
That’s easy. I love it when I finally see the light bulb go on. The setting doesn’t matter. It can be when I’m teaching Bible study and someone finally has an “aha moment.” It can be when I’m coaching a client and he finally decides he is tired of pursuing goals that don’t align with God’s call on his life. It’s that moment when the Holy Spirit intervenes and the fullness of the Gospel becomes real for someone. I live for those moments.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
Recovering from church hurt. Anyone who has been in church for a bit has experienced some form of church hurt. Being in ministry certainly doesn’t make you exempt. Without going into details, during a vulnerable time in my life, I connected with a toxic ministry. After many tears, sleepless nights, and counseling sessions, I finally had the self-awareness that a church led by a wolf is not the ordained place God wants me to serve.
Leaving the church was hard and finding a new church was even harder. Unfortunately, growing up as a church girl, I felt compelled to try a new church every Sunday morning. I would wake up, cry at home, cry in the car, dry my tears, fake it through worship, get in the car, and cry on the way home. After a while, my counselor gave me great advice. She said, “If going to church is triggering for you, you probably shouldn’t go for a while.” She was right! I never would have been able to heal without taking a break from the place that wounded me. Once I was in a better place both spiritually and emotionally, I was able to best discern where I should join and serve.
What is the best ministry advice you have received?
Find some friends. Ministry life is no joke. Some days will be filled with awe and wonder and others will be isolating and lonely. You don’t have to go through ministry alone. Find friends who you can be utterly transparent around. Friends that will celebrate your successes both big and small. Friends who don’t all attend your church. Friends who will listen to you rant after a deacon’s meeting takes an unexpected turn. Friends who will pray for you after you get done praying for your congregation. Friends who will call you out and hold you accountable when you take it one step too far.
Find some real friends. And be a real friend while you’re at it.
Natasha Nedrick is an empowerment coach at Empowering Imprints and an associate minister at Greenforest Community Baptist Church.