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, Stephanie Edge is featured. Stephanie has a passion for teaching God’s Word and ministering to women. She served in Women’s Ministry in the local church for sixteen years and worked in college ministry for ten years. Stephanie graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. She also completed a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephanie currently is an Associate Professor at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and teaches adjunct for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Who has been most influential in your ministry leadership and how did they influence you?
Wow! This question is a tough one. I can honestly say there have been many women. I have had mentors from a distance and by my side. The first person I would mention would be a high school Sunday School teacher named Rita Woodard. When I accepted the Lord, she walked with me through a discipleship resource entitled The Survival Kit for the New Christian by Ralph W. Neighbour, Jr. This study addressed the basics of the Christian faith including what to do with sin and the importance of Scripture memorization. I had many questions. Neighbour and Woodard had answers.
Next, I would mention Kay Arthur. As a new believer, I walked into a Christian bookstore and on an endcap I found the Bible study, Lord, I Want to Know You. And, I thought, “Yes, Lord, I want to know You.” It was in that study that I learned to examine Scripture for myself. I fell in love with the Word of God, and the desire to know Him and to study His Word have persisted all these years.
Dr. Rhonda Kelley initiated the women’s program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and from whom I learned valuable ministry principles. She would later serve on my dissertation committee. Chris Adams, former women’s ministry specialist at LifeWay, demonstrated integrity in leadership and let me walk with her as she did ministry. Dr. Loretta Rivers, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, served as my dissertation chair and provided the necessary guidance and encouragement as I moved through the Ph.D. process.
Faith Whatley and Selma Wilson demonstrated pioneering leadership in women’s events, discipleship, and publishing at LifeWay. My colleagues who serve/served as women’s trainers for LifeWay. I have watched these women walk through the difficulties of life and ministry. They prayed for me and taught me about God’s faithfulness. And, Kelly King, as she gives strong, discerning, and courageous direction to women’s ministry as LifeWay’s women’s ministry specialist.
I am forever grateful for the lives and the legacies of these women.
How do you practically spend time with the Lord each day? What is your normal practice?
We have a tendency to think there is a specific formula that works for everyone or for each of us all the time. In Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me, Jennifer Rothschild brainstorms a list of practices that can help us grow spiritually. “Reading Scripture, getting alone with God, and connecting with other Christ followers feed our soul, to name just a few …” (p. 62). I like to read through Scripture and do Bible studies on particular topics or books of the Bible with friends. This companionship provides additional feedback on what I’m reading and is accountability that propels me to be consistent. It is important to be consistent, yet not legalistic in our time with the Lord. I enjoy worshiping with praise music and listening to Bible teachers. It is imperative that the Word of God is continually before me whether I am listening to someone teach, studying, or reading for myself. Jennifer urges believers, “Don’t try to copy your Bible study buddy’s green pasture practices, find what works for you” (p. 63).
What is your best piece of leadership advice to another women’s ministry leader?
Nothing is more important than your relationship with the Lord. As Chris Adams has said many times, our ministry flows out of our relationship with the Lord. Therefore, do not get too busy serving that you forfeit personal time with the Lord. He is the anchor that will hold and sustain you during the turbulent times of life and ministry. Mary Anne Poe, Professor and Dean of Social Work at Union University, has said to me more times than I can remember, “Stephanie, just keep your eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:1-2).
What is your current leadership struggle?
My current leadership struggle is to trust God to guide and to provide in my life and ministry. Isn’t this something we should do every day? We fail to realize just how much we need Him. We recognize our dependence on God for salvation, but we also are dependent on Him for our livelihoods, our abilities, and for our very breaths. “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes” (Jas. 4:14). Trust and faith are synonymous. “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Heb. 11:1). And, “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6) So I confess, “…I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
What “new” thing are you trying this year that is requiring faith?
I am seeking God’s direction for the next step in my life and ministry.
Stephanie Edge has a passion for teaching God’s Word and ministering to women. She served in Women’s Ministry in the local church for sixteen years and worked in College Ministry for ten years. Stephanie graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. She also completed a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephanie currently is an Associate Professor at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and teaches adjunct for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.