I’m thrilled to welcome Sharifa Stevens to our Ministry Team and want you to get to know her, too.
Sharifa, why did you want to be involved in Beyond Ordinary Women?
First, I admire and trust the founder, Kay Daigle. She’s a perceptive, funny, and learned person, and I want to be around women of God like her. Also, I hope to contribute to the tribe of women like me who are late-bloomers and self-doubters—the ones who have trouble lifting their heads above the ordinary, to lift their chins and say, “You matter to God. What you are doing matters to God.”
How has God used you in the past, and where does he have you right now?
Ugh. This is hard to answer. I lack God’s long-range perspective. My hope is that when I am gone, people will say that I was a faithful friend and that I communicated God’s truth the best I knew how, with conviction, passion, and guilelessness.
Practically, God has me as a writer and communicator, a person with the fitness goals of a fattened calf, and a perhaps premenopausal wife and mother of young children. Yeah. I am a handful.
BOW is here to prepare Christian women for leadership. How has your training helped you?
I earned a master of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, which afforded me a lavish amount of time studying the scriptures in depth, and allowed me to forge priceless friendships. I can still call up professors today. I have also served in various capacities in church and parachurch organizations, large and small. These experiences have taught me that the best leaders are perennial students of the Word and of other people; that people who lead with humility and encouragement tend to yield the best long-term results, and that the church is the most unique and otherworldly organism on earth.
All followers of Christ are called to be influencers, really leaders of others. How would you challenge women in their particular spheres to reach out and grow their influence?
I would remind my sisters that influence is more than a marketing strategy or a number of followers. We should be informed by Scripture of what it means to be influential. Sometimes it looks like Moses leading the people across the Red Sea. Sometimes it looks like Isaiah being commissioned to prophesy to a people who would refuse to listen. Mostly influencing looks like being faithful to God and loving people well, living out the truth of the gospel and making your home and heart inhospitable to idolatry or injustice.
How would you specifically encourage other women with young children who are also working in ministry, whether as a volunteer or a professional?
You have the call of God on your life. He will equip you to do the good work that He predestined you for. Most likely, He will not call you to the task without providing you with community, because we weren’t meant to either minister or parent alone.
If you don’t schedule your rest, you will burn out or break down.
What verses guide you in ministry?
The Bible is chock full of passages that encourage or warn about ministry. I have had different passages speak to my soul during different seasons of ministry, but one passage I keep coming back to is Mark 8. Jesus tells the disciples to give thousands of people food to eat, and they’re like WHAT?! HOW? Jesus takes what little they have, multiplies it, and from those meager offerings provides a feast with leftovers. But then, right after this, the disciples get worried because they are sailing but forgot to bring bread.
That is so much like me. I need to remember to just give the Lord what I have and watch Him multiply it. Afterward, I need to live a life that says, “I remember, Lord. You did it before and You can do it again.”
Thank you for sharing your heart with our readers, Sharifa, and once again welcome!