I’ve said it before and now I will say it again: more Reformed churches need to consider adding staff positions in the area of women’s ministry. It is so exciting to see the many women RTS Charlotte has trained over the years head out into ministry and be a blessing to the church. These women bring a life and vitality to their ministries that is bearing real fruit.
In prior installments of the Where Are They Now? series, I have highlighted a number of our female grads, including Alyson Averitt, Connice Dyar, and Cynthia Ruble. Now I am pleased to highlight Elizabeth Parker, class of 2014.
1. What are you currently doing?
I am the Director of Women in Ministry at First Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I meet with women, teach Bible studies, write curriculum, and work with the pastors to love the congregation and our city well.
2. Why did you originally come to RTS Charlotte?
Making the decision to go to RTS Charlotte was not a difficult one. It was very clear to me that the professors not only love God and His Word but are committed to reading and teaching it responsibly. Further, they have a strong desire for their students to know God more and to, in turn, love God more.
3. Is there one thing that you learned at RTS Charlotte that has come back to you as you have ministered to others? A phrase, encouragement or advice?
A recurring theme in seminary was that the study of the Bible in an academic setting and the application of the Bible to our lives are not mutually exclusive. This is something I carried throughout seminary as I wrote papers and studied for exams while trying to minister to those in my church. Now, in full time ministry, I continue studying Scripture and digging into it in order that these truths might sink into my own heart and so that I might share it with others.
4. What do you enjoy most about your current ministry?
My favorite part of the job is teaching. I love sharing what I am learning of God’s character and His plan. It’s great to see women learning new insight from a passage they are reading for the first time – or have read many times before. Also, our Bible studies are mostly intergenerational so I get to benefit from the wisdom of women in all stages of life.
5. What has been a struggle in your ministry?
I think working full time in ministry is extremely humbling. I am not Jesus – and therefore I can’t save people. I can’t fix every problem. I meet with women who have very big, very real issues and I am pushed over and over again to rely on the Lord in prayer. As a human it is difficult to have my own struggles and pain and then walk with women through their suffering. I have to constantly remind myself to filter this suffering through truth.
6. If you could give any encouragement to a current student in seminary, what would it be?
If I could give any encouragement to seminary students now it would be this: enjoy this time! The three years I spent working toward my MDiv were some of the most wonderful years I have had so far. Dig into Scripture. Let what you learn in class and what you write about in papers be devotional. You are learning more about God’s plan and character – and you aren’t in it alone! You are studying alongside others who are in ministry – develop those friendships and get to know the professors.