“Who are these unlearned people?”
This question was jokingly posed by our October 22, 2014 radio show guest, Michelle Shirley, leader of Fire Starter International, a Miami-based women’s ministry, as she joyfully reflected on her unofficial title in ministry. Michelle is also president and CEO of Abstinence Between Strong Teens International. Along with Michelle, we hosted Fire Starter International ministry members Barbara Boliere and Testamoni (gospel rap artist) who shared how God is working through them to set the world and hearts on fire for Christ Jesus. Each lady shares God’s Word and truth, bringing light to areas of darkness, being salt as God requires us to be, and restoring those broken by life circumstances or poor choices made.
None of these ladies are officially titled as ‘pastor’ or ‘deaconess’, yet they’ve been equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to impact lives for God’s Kingdom. How are they allowed to do this important work without being “knighted” under the traditional titles many accept?
Sometimes labeled “unlearned,” otherwise referred to as “laymen” or “layperson” (a non-ordained member of a church), God is raising up a new Army of Believers, who He has called, equipped, justified and qualified to do His Kingdom work outside of traditional titles and walls. “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called he also justified; those he justified, he also qualified.” (Romans 8:30)
Here’s what the ‘unlearned’ have learned:
- A “fire starter” is someone who has accepted Jesus Christ and is being guided by the Holy Spirit. You don’t need a title.
- Contrary to opinion, they are not ‘unlearned.’ Perhaps not seminary-educated, they are studied in God’s Word, prayerful of their next steps and guided by the Holy Spirit.
- They decrease themselves in order to increase Christ to share Him and His love with others.
- They are grateful and joyful to have been called/chosen by Him.
- They are obedient and passionate about dispersing the message of Jesus Christ in situations and spaces unpopular.
- They are imperfect (as we all are), yet perfected through Christ.
- In an effort to free someone else from the world’s trappings, they unabashedly and without shame share their testimonies, laying their souls bare, unconcerned that doing so could place their position at risk.
- They are not lone rangers, as God doesn’t send His People out into the field alone, but yoked with like-minded partners.
- They welcome partnering with those who carry official titles to advance the work of God’s Kingdom.
- As Ambassadors of Christ without a traditional title and not operating under certain systems, they are a little bolder, not encumbered/hindered by tradition—a trait necessary to reach the enslaved and lost in today’s 11th hour.
- Like the 1830’s fire horses, they are willing to get near the fires of this world, step boldly at the risk of being singed and remain unmoved to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Listen to our interview “Fire Starter International: Women on Fire for Christ” as we discuss this topic and description of fire horses at the 11:38″ mark).
This is who we are at Voices Against the Grain. We have answered the call and step out as the Holy Spirit guides us. As the “unlearned” we have learned and understood that God seeks doers, not status seekers. He seeks those who will be obedient to carry out His work no matter the cost or loss they will endure. The reward is greater than anything we will ever lose. Are you willing to do the work as you’ve been called, with the gifts you have—title or not? There is a role for you. Everyone in the Body of Christ, their gifts and talents are significant.
About Nicole D. Hayes
Nicole D. Hayes is committed to serve as a vessel of compassion, instruction, love and truth for Jesus Christ. Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., she is a member of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C. Drawn to know Christ in her early childhood and saved at the age of 12, Nicole is a student and applier of God’s Word. She is also a successful public relations professional operating in Washington, D.C., with more than eight years experience of coordinating and delivering strategic communications and media outreach support for nonprofits and small business owners. During her career she has placed several nonprofits and small business owners in national, local and regional media spaces. She operates with a personal and business mantra of “making an investment in people.” Among many things, Nicole is also a motivational speaker. She has been invited to deliver messages to business leaders to not be misguided by the world’s view of success, to direct young people navigating through the world’s challenges, and to remind those who may have lost their way that joyfully, “God Has Not Changed His Mind About You.” Nicole’s purpose in creating “Voices Against the Grain” is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amidst confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.