A note from Kelly King: Each month, we will feature a leader who ministers to women, either through the local church, a non-profit organization, or in the marketplace. In today’s Q&A, Rachel Lovingood is featured. Rachel is a wife of a minister, a mom, a friend, a writer, and a teacher.
Who has been most influential in your ministry leadership and how did they influence you?
There have been so many people who poured into me over these last 31 years of ministry. Senior pastors’ wives spent time with me, like Susie Hawkins who taught me so much about loving your church and your family. I am grateful to all of those women for sure. When it comes down to who has influenced me the most in ministry leadership I would have to say my husband, Jeff, takes the cake. (And no, that is not a cop-out choice; its true!)
Jeff has taught me so much about leadership that I could never even share it all. He is a gifted leader who knows how to grow and reach people, so I have been in on lots of opportunities to learn by example and experience. He taught me a strategy to get large numbers of women at events. I tried it, and of course it worked. I also learned to never settle for just ok or ho-hum in ministry because we are doing this for the Lord and we should always be reaching for the stars and dreaming big about what God can do. I’m grateful to be doing life with someone who I can glean so much from on a daily basis!
How do you practically spend time with the Lord each day? What is your normal practice?
I have changed this routine over the years, but I have always tried to find ways to start the day with the Lord. We are in empty-nest mode now, so it is easier for me to do this than ever before. I approach the Word in a different style, but I have been reading through Scriptures on a certain topic, then using a Scripture reading approach Priscilla Shirer teaches to journal through the verses. If I’m doing a Bible study, then I typically do that homework sometime later in the day so my personal time with the Lord is usually separate from my Bible study. There’s not a big theological reason for that; I just like to do them at different times.
What is your best piece of leadership advice to another women’s ministry leader?
Be who God has called you to be. God has uniquely gifted you, and He knows what He is doing. Don’t try to become someone else, but be the best you that you can be in the opportunities you have. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from someone else or that you get to use your personality as an excuse to sin. Just know yourself and where your strengths lie and use them for God’s glory all while being moldable and allowing God to refine you as necessary.
What is your current leadership struggle?
Ugh. I wish I had a different answer, but in the interest of being honest, I have to say my biggest struggle now is dealing with the feeling of not being enough. I know what I just gave as my advice above and I stand by it, but the enemy is very good at whispering lies that create self doubt. The ones I seem to be dealing with the most now are: Why are you leading that? No one wants to listen to you. Are you really still relevant in any way? How can God ever use you? Why are you speaking? There’s no need to write that study. No one will want it. If you were any good at what you do you would know it, so you should just step back…
Does that sound familiar? And yes. I know the right answers, but the struggle is real.
What “new” thing are you trying this year that is requiring faith?
We are in a cool time at our church, and it’s exciting. It is offering me opportunities to step out in faith along with our staff and leadership. It’s exciting and fun. The ways that I’ve been stepping out in faith more on my own would be the way I am being more intentional about mission work in my town. We started a mission group that meets weekly in the Bible study time. We go out into the community and build relationships for the sake of the gospel. Mostly we are focused on an underprivileged neighborhood in our area. It is challenging and flexible and has a lot of unknowns. It’s those unknowns that require more faith, and I’m learning that it is so worth it. Every now and then we get the reminders that it is making a difference, and that is so rewarding.
Rachel is the Senior Associate Pastor’s wife and a women’s leader at First Baptist Church, Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as a LifeWay Women’s Trainer. She is co-author of In Our Shoes: Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives by Ministers’ Wives, Even More, and Salvaging My Identity. Her experiences working in youth ministry as well as women’s ministry in various churches across the country have developed in her a deep love for women and a mission to help enable them to live victoriously in spite of the struggles they face.