Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with a fabulous minister on this blog. Today, we are pleased to interview Rhonda Y. Britton. Rhonda IS what a minister looks like!
Rhonda, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
I was encouraged as a teen to ask God what God wanted to do with my life. When I was fifteen years old, I began to pray earnestly for God’s guidance. I experienced visions of preaching to large crowds of people. As a Baptist in the southern United States, I did not have female ministry role models, so I disregarded the visions and thought I was misinterpreting what God was showing me. I loved the Lord, and I loved worship, so I continued to serve in the church through my teenage and young adult years.
I left Florida and completed my undergrad degree in New York. I had continuously served the church in Florida and New York in the choir, as an usher, trustee, and founder of the Women’s Ministry in my New York church.
After twenty years in Information Technology in the public and private sectors, God reaffirmed my call to ministry. This time it was undeniable! I was living and working in New Jersey when I resigned my corporate career to attend seminary and enter full-time ministry. I began serving as a pastoral assistant to my pastor at St. Philip’s Baptist Church in Staten Island, New York—a position I held for four years. Also, while in seminary, I was privileged to serve as a two-year intern at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Milltown. New Jersey and as a summer intern at St. Columba’s Presbyterian Church in Johannesburg, South Africa.
After graduating with a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, I was ordained at St. Philip’s. A few months later, I found myself packing up to move to Nova Scotia, having accepted a call from Second United Baptist Church in New Glasgow, where I served as solo pastor for five years before accepting the call as senior pastor to my present church, New Horizons Baptist Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In September 2019, we celebrated my twelfth Pastoral Anniversary at New Horizons.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
Joy comes from knowing that I am serving God in the place and at the time God has chosen. It is pure joy to be in the center of God’s will. In my lowest times, when I feel the loneliest and most discouraged, God surprises me in a way that only God can, reminding me that I am not alone. The privilege of being a help to or just being with people in life’s most significant moments (even grief) is indescribably satisfying.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
Challenges in ministry are many, from life demands that conflict with ministry work to what often feels like inadequacy to meet the needs of the church and community I serve. I have now been in Nova Scotia for over seventeen years, having left all I knew and all my family when I accepted the call to Canada. My greatest challenge has been to stay committed to the work in the face of tragedy and devastating loss in my family back home.
What advice would you give to a teenage girl discerning a call to ministry?
Seek a mentor with whom to discern the call and journey with you. Being a woman is a strength, not a weakness. God uses whomever God chooses! Be confident that God is with you and can work through you to God’s glory. Be bold! Do not be afraid! Do all you can to be prepared for whatever God may send your way. Study and prepare your mind. But know that your heart and desire to serve are the most important. So pray and prepare your heart. We do our best to be our best, remembering that God calls and God equips.