Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with an amazing minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview, Rochelle Rocha Roots. Rochelle IS what a minister looks like!
Rochelle, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
My ministry journey began as a teenager. I grew up in the small town of Robstown, Texas and was rescued by Jesus the summer before my sophomore year of high school. At 15 years old I fell head over heels for my Savior. It is during this time when my dad got saved. He had such a radical transformation. He went from being an angry alcoholic who cussed out our pastor to writing songs about Jesus and singing in the praise team! He recruited me and my three younger siblings into his gospel band and boom, I was in ministry! During this time the Lord gave me a huge hunger for His word that I memorized over 40 scriptures over a few months. That is truly where my discipleship and transformation began. My uncle gave me opportunities to serve in youth ministry, teach Sunday School, lead worship with my family, and even speak in the mid-week service as needed.
My ministry evolved with my life. After about a year of being married, the Lord called my husband to lead worship at Fellowship of Oso Creek in Corpus Christi where I served in the worship ministry, small groups, and women’s ministry. After six years, we served at New Community Church in Portland, Texas for seven years. I became really involved in women’s ministry and eventually became the Women’s Ministry Director. I coordinated several women’s retreats, bible studies, and events. At the end of 2008 we transitioned to Corpus Christi Christian Fellowship, which is our current church. At CCCF I offer pulpit supply, lead a couples group with my husband, and volunteer in different ways.
An important season in my life is when God called me to return to college and get my degree. I was speaking across the country and encouraging students to pursue their dreams and higher education and yet, I had college hours but no degree myself. That’s when the Lord led me to Stark College & Seminary (a Baptist college) and I began my non-traditional educational journey. I started in the undergrad program in 2010 but kept going and graduated with my Master’s in Family Ministry from Logsdon Seminary in 2016. It was hard being a wife, a mother, a full-time employee, a minister, and a full-time student but whatever steps the Lord ordains you to make, He will empower you to take. I am now a part of less than 4% of Latinas who have a graduate degree! Even though I had a speaking ministry of 25 years, I was now equipped with a theological education and it has made a powerful difference in every facet of my life.
In 2019 I launched Healthy Family Roots ministries (www.healthyfamilyroots.com), which expanded my speaking ministry to include family ministry. My ministry mission is help families have healthy relationships rooted in Christ for the glory of God.
Currently, I serve in many capacities as a speaker, ministry leader, biblical counselor, mentor and adjunct professor.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
First and foremost, I love sharing God’s word and believe that is my first calling. Besides speaking or teaching, I have many great joys in ministry but will share three. One is to help women find wholeness, victory, and purpose through Christ. There is such beautiful security and freedom when you learn to replace the lies of the enemy with the truth God’s Word. If you can change the way you think, you can change the way you live! The Word gives us God’s thoughts and reality of who Jesus is and who we are in Him. Secondly, I love equipping marriages to thrive so they grow closer to Christ and to each other. I believe godly Christian marriages can be a powerful testimony to the world around us of the redemptive love and grace of Jesus. Thirdly, I seek to empower parents with what I call “Christ-centered parenting” that loves children with both, truth and grace. Overall, I experience God’s pleasure when I help people–intrapersonally and interpersonally.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
The greatest challenges in ministry have been when I have had to sit on the sidelines and been unable to help people move forward. What I mean by “sitting on the sidelines” is that I had to take a step back from my speaking ministry for a season when we were attending certain churches because I was not allowed to participate in that way. While it was hard (and it was!), the Lord taught me to trust Him with my calling and let Him develop my husband’s worship ministry. I will say that sometimes we may not be able to do what we really want to do but that should not keep us from doing what we can do. I was still active in my church in loving people and serving with my other gifts. I believe God honored that. The truth is that we’re not called to just “do” for the Lord but to “be” for the Lord. Who we are is always more important than what we do. Secondly, there are times when we try to help people grow in their walk or in their relationships with one another but they may not change. It breaks my heart! We have access to the living God on the inside and He grants us the ability to change and grow but yet people will sometimes choose not to. I remind myself that even Jesus Himself was rejected by people. As ministers and leaders, there is only so much we can do. My encouragement is that we be found faithful to do our part to give people truth and grace and never give up on them. In counseling I’ve learned that sometimes people “say” they want to change but are not quite “ready” to really change. Ultimately, God is the one who changes hearts and transforms lives. He works in His children in His time and in His way. We continue to love them anyway.
What is the best ministry advice you have received?
The best advice I received was when I was 19 years old. While attending a women’s bible study with my mom, the teacher said, “It is better to be godly than to be right.” I have carried that truth with me and it has helped me in all of my relationships. So many times people do all they can to prove that they are right and that the other person is wrong, but in proving their argument, they damage the relationship. This type of thinking leads to “winners and losers” but if we seek to be Christlike instead, the Holy Spirit gives us discernment on how to stand on our conviction while loving the person where they are. This results in more “win-win” outcomes. If we seek to be godly, we always win because Jesus is glorified.
Rochelle Roots is executive assistant to the president at Stark College and Seminary in Corpus Christi, Texas.