The Impact of Two Churches
“The Lord Didn’t Bring Me This Far to Leave Me”
The Lord blessed me to be a member of two long-standing churches in Cumberland County. I was a member of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Vineland, NJ from 1963 to 1975 under the leadership of Pastor Charles Harvey. I have been a member of Union Baptist Temple, Bridgeton, NJ from 1992 until now under the leadership of Pastor Albert L. Morgan.
On Sunday, April 24, 2016, the Lord allowed me the opportunity to attend the 110th Church Anniversary of St. Paul Baptist Missionary Church. What an awesome experience for me as I sat there thinking about what God has done in my life from the beginning of my spiritual walk until now.
Union Baptist Temple was the guest church for this special occasion. My heart was full being in the presence of the two churches which had a major impact on my life in so many ways.
I look around at the people who are still serving at St. Paul since the time I began attending the church. Yes, there were so many people who were influential in my walk from the beginning until now. Many have gone on to be with the Lord, but their love, concern, and encouragement will forever be in my heart. As my mother recalls, I started attending the church at age 7 beginning with the Sunshine Choir. I loved to sing.
At the age of 14, about 46 years ago, I decided I wanted to sing on the next choir because I loved to sing. However, the rule of the church to join the Junior Choir was you had to be a member in order to participate. Well, I decided to go forth and, as they say, “give the preacher your hand and God your heart.” I did and felt nothing. I just knew I wanted to sing in the older choir.
Then it was time for me to get baptized. This was the day, May 15, 1970; I could feel God’s presence all around me. I didn’t fully understand but I knew something was happening to me. As I went down in the water, I could feel a warm presence filling me. I cried. Not tears of sorrow but tears of joy and my heart was saying, “Lord, come inside and change me to be used by You”. As I came out of the water, one of the mothers said, “Go ahead and cry, the Lord is filling you.” All I knew to say was, “Yes Lord, I receive You into my heart.” That day was the beginning of my salvation. I had heard all about it but at that time I experienced it for myself.
It was the beginning of the plan God had for my life. Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
During my time at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, I can now see how the Lord was introducing, initializing, developing, growing and fulfilling the plan He had for me. As I stated, I started out on the Sunshine Choir and attended Sunday School to learn about the Bible and how I must walk in a godly manner. During Christmas and Easter, I recited the little messages and participated in plays. After participating in the Sunday School classes, I served as the secretary. As a member of the Junior Missionary Ministry, I was afforded the opportunity to attend Ebenezer Baptist Missionary Union and Bethany Baptist Association to participate in many youth activities. I mostly remember the challenging Bible questions. Not only was that enough, I joined the ushers and loved standing at the door and greeting people. During my time at St. Paul, I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in the plays that were presented and to write my first play “Who Will Walk with Jesus.” It was presented at the church.
Since I was very active in the many services at St. Paul, Rev. Charles Harvey, the pastor, gave me the opportunity to speak on a Sunday morning, the 2nd Sunday in June 1973 to represent the young people. I had to put on robe because I was not allowed in the pulpit without one. Now that made me nervous. Little did I know God was preparing me to speak before people.
Now in the secretarial field I served in several areas such as: choir, junior missionaries, ushers, Sunday School and as Pastor Harvey’s personal secretary. After serving for a period of time, I realized there was a special love inside me for that type of service. It developed my skills as a writer.
When I look back over the years, I realize that everything I do now began at St. Paul because the Pastor and the members encouraged me to grow. The pastor expressed how proud he was of the type of young lady I was becoming. Many times, he called me a servant of the Lord.
The Lord had allowed me to develop a special bond with the members of St. Paul. Every time I visit, I am always so encouraged by the things that were developed inside during my time of growth. What a major impact on my life today. Everything I do today was initiated under the ministry of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
Then it was time for me to leave. I married a minister who was a member of another church. I thought I was leaving what God was doing inside of me. I also thought I would not be able to serve in a great capacity like I was doing at that time. My church, my beginning, my support, my encouragers, my service and most of all everything I love. However, there was a path I had to follow in order to arrive at where I am today. The path led me down many roads that would God had designed for me. Some of the roads were good and some not so good. It was the road I chose and during those years a special strength was being developed. There were some hills to climb and some valleys to travel through. Everything was leading up to where I am. The good that happened from time, I left St. Paul and before joining with Union Baptist Temple, the Lord allowed me to write books of poetry. I also wrote and performed skits, presented at workshops, served as a speaker, and served in ministry in various churches until one day it was time for a change. I was spiritually drained. God had a greater work that I must go forth to do. June 21, 1992, was a life-altering day for me. You have to read my book, “Deadline, Lord I Need you Now,” to understand the full details of what I was experiencing at that time. However, after I decided to join Union Baptist Temple, a major shift began to take place. This was a larger church than I was used to.
Well, my restoration had to begin. I would sit in church and in many ways the healing began, and I began to get involved again attended regular Bible Study and a study for woman. Also joining the missionaries was a blessing. The Lord led me to begin writing again. I performed in my skits, and I shared messages to encourage others. One Sunday I was afforded the opportunity to perform as Harriet Tubman on a Sunday morning along with participating in the plays the church presented. Then one day I was called into the Pastor’s office. In 1994, I was asked to become a church secretary. I could see myself working again in ministry as I did before all the struggles and changes in my life. God was opening the door for me to serve in a greater capacity. During my time at Union, since 1992, I have been allowed to utilize my gifts of writing and drama, and as a speaker, Bible Study teacher, and workshop presenter. Everything that was initiated at St. Paul is now being used in a greater manner at Union Baptist Temple. I did serve on the Usher ministry until there was greater need for my service in the office of church secretary/clerk. Now I serve as Head Usher once a year to give our ushers a break on their special day. I currently serve as a dedicated pew choir member since I am unable to attend choir rehearsal. My ministry as secretary for the Senior Missionaries and Deaconess Ministry are very special to me. Also, for the last 2 years I have served as a convener for the Women’s Fellowship Ministry. I wrote a play for the Women’s Fellowship Ministry and one for the Music Ministry. What an impact each service has provided in my life. God had instilled in me that I needed to go deeper in my studies to be a more fruitful and better exhorter. In order to counsel and encourage others, Union Baptist Temple offered courses such as Bible Counseling and Twelve Steps with God. I was afforded the opportunity to attend both classes and graduate. Today I look at my life and see how God has orchestrated every area of my life. I no longer look at the negative as bad; I look at it as a faith builder. Every day of my life has been a blessing for me as I look back and relate it to what I must do today. My periods of hurt can now be shared with others as a testimony of how God will deliver you if you let him. Don’t look at your past as a problem-filled with struggles. Look at it as situations that caused you to grow. Remember when you step out of a concern that had you bound and you are no longer bound because God answered your prayer, you are wiser. Yes, my life has been impacted by two churches that allowed me to grow, share, and fulfill what God had planned for my life.
There is so much more I can and will do. The ministry does not stop here. I must continue to serve and please the Lord. So, to St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and Union Baptist Temple, you both have made a major impact on my life. Because of your support, love, and encouragement, I can go on. St. Paul, you have supported my beginning and many of you still do now. Union Baptist Temple you have supported, encouraged, and pushed me to continue to do more. I say to those of you who do not have a church home, it is important that you do because God wants to use you for ministry. Everybody needs a home (a place to worship) and for their spiritual covering. For those of you who do not know the Lord as your personal Savior, it is time to get to know Him so you can be lifted up when you are feeling down. God started me on a journey, and He has never left me. I no longer look at the people; I look to God for Him to encourage the people. You will be surprised by the people God will place before you. I pray this testimony will encourage you to look at what you have received through the church you are attending today. No, it was not all sweet, but I grew through the process. Now that is sweet. Now to St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and Union Baptist Temple, thank you for what you have poured into my life during my 60 years of life. The Lord did not bring me this far just to leave me. Look at what God has done because of you. On May 6, 2016, I will have celebrated 60 years of life. On May 15, 2016, I will have celebrated 46 years of life in Christ. I am thankful for everyone who came into my life and encouraged me through the process of growing. There is still a lot that God has for me, and I pray that I will accomplish what He desires. It is my prayer that this testimony of THE IMPACT OF TWO CHURCHES will encourage you to look at what God has done, is doing, and will do in your life if you allow Him to lead you. Go forth and be all that God desires you to be because you are somebody.
Written by Cheryl Fisher White
April 26, 2016
The Impact Of My Calling As A Secretary
When God ordains your life and you allow Him to direct you, it is amazing what He can and will do as you follow the journey He has prepared. John 15:16 says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” As I really look at this scripture, the words are magnified and mirror my life in a very personal way. It also leads to the scripture I walk by, Philippians 1:6. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
My goal is to share with you how these two scriptures have made an impact on my life. I also pray that when you finish reading this testimony, you will find that your service to the Lord is a call to ministry. Prayerfully, you will no longer see your service as a frustrating service to man but a glorified ministry of God’s calling for service (even if the people you deal with may frustrate you).
Approximately 45 years ago, I was asked to serve as a secretary for the Junior Missionary Ministry. I really don’t remember the details of the ministry, however, I remember how much I enjoyed taking notes. Then, I was asked to serve as the Ushers Secretary, Sunday School Secretary and Choir Secretary. At the age of 16, I served as the Pastor’s Secretary. Not realizing the journey the Lord was taking me through, I continued to follow the call. My writing skills were being developed for the plan God was laying out just for me. Obedience was a part of my daily life.
The journey was not easy, nevertheless it was fruitful. There was love, joy, peace, hope, gentleness, meekness, goodness, temperance, and longsuffering involved (Galatians 5:22-23). I began to see a love for writing. There was a unique passion that was being developed. However, I still did not know where God was leading me.
During the course of my teenage journey, my hands were driven to write my first skit, “Who Will Walk with Jesus?” It was presented at church. Again, I did not realize it was the beginning of my Drama Ministry. It was another step in the writing arena which started from the secretarial ministry that, I must say, was God ordained.
Another area of writing led me to write love letters for my friends. Keep in mind, I did not seriously pay attention to the fact that I was doing a lot of writing. It was just the life of obedience that was being fulfilled. Writing for several ministries, Pastor’s Secretary and writing love letter was done with such ease. I don’t remember ever becoming frustrated. I may have at some appointed time; it was just a part of fulfilling the call.
I have come to realize that when you seem frustrated with a ministry and yet you continue doing it because in your heart you just can’t stop, it is a call. When God calls you to a service and people frustrate you along the way, it is important that you don’t stop. Why? Man may have asked but it was God who really called you. Therefore, you must continue as Philippians 1:6 says.
I have come to the conclusion that a true call to the ministry is a compelling desire in your heart to fulfill a specific mission which leads to a service for the cause of Christ.
My calling as a secretary has opened the door in many areas of my life. Serving on the Choir, Missionaries, Ushers, Church School, Librarian Deaconess, Women’s Fellowship, Pastor’s Secretary and Church Clerk/Secretary provided vital information that led to fruit-filled service of ministry for others. For 23 years, the Lord allowed me to serve as a Church Clerk/Secretary at Union Baptist Temple. During my 25 years as a member, I have served as Secretary for the Missionaries and Deaconesses, along with being asked to take notes at various meetings I may attend. For six of the 10 years I was a member at St. Paul Baptist Church in Vineland, I served as secretary in many ministries.
Since the Lord allowed me to serve in the secretarial field in church, I am now going into my 19th year of service as a Confidential Secretary at the Bridgeton Board of Education Administration Building now called the Thomas C. Lane IV Administration Building in Bridgeton, New Jersey.
It is amazing what 45+ years of secretarial service to the Lord can do in a person’s life. Remember, it is important that your service is as unto the Lord whether in the church or in the secular world. Our walk should not be any different, no matter where we serve.
God expects each of us to be accountable for what He has placed in our hands to do. We are expected to walk this journey to please Him from sun up to sundown and then sundown to sun up. We are accountable first to God, next to our bosses, then to our coworkers and lastly to ourselves. You are probably asking why our coworkers. For the believers, God expects your walk, talk, and work to exemplify Him. We are accountable as godly examples of His living Word. No matter what others do, as believers, your life must be pleasing to God, 24-7. The Bible does not state to live right only on Sunday.
Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Colossians 2:6 - As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him.
God allowed me to serve as a Confidential Secretary on the secular job and in church I am obligated to serve in confidence. There are times people have come to me in confidence because of something they needed to reveal. At the school, I am bound by confidentiality. Because of my 2½ years of Biblical Counseling training, there is a trust factor that has been placed on life.
There are times people have deep-rooted issues and burdens they need to share with someone they can trust. In church, many times the members may not be able to get to the pastor. Therefore, the next person in line in many churches is the secretary who can take the information and then relay it to the pastor, if needed.
It is imperative that as a Church Secretary you stay in the Word of God and in prayer. Many times, you will encounter people who are distraught and ready to give up on life, so they call the church. I encourage every Church Secretary to take the first semester of Biblical Counseling. You will gain such insight on your life and root of life for others.
As a Church Secretary, we are bound to confidentiality. You should not divulge information that is shared with you privately. Always pray before going to church to serve and pray when you go home that God will intervene in the lives of those you touched on that very day. People will call and may never state what their issue is, but they will call just to talk and take their mind off whatever the problem may be. The bottom line is God knows and you must pray daily.
Another big area for a secretary is compassion. When someone calls, it is because they are struggling with some type of issue and don’t know how to resolve it. They may see you as an easy way to a solution instead of searching for it themselves. It is possible that some will want you to do the work and make their life simple. Another person may call because God has equipped you with such compassion that is truly outstanding. You may not have the answer, but the way you talk to them will leave an impression upon their heart and allow them to see that you really care. Sometimes that is all someone needs.
Being a Secretary or Administrative Assistant is a unique position because you are between the people and the boss or the Pastor. Whichever the case, ask God to give you a special compassion for the people, especially when they are having a very bad day.
When all is said and done, you will have a feeling of hope for your life because you have made someone’s day better. You never want it to be in such a way that no one wants to call because they think you may answer the phone. This type of ministry is unique. It doesn’t matter how others feel about your ministry. You are not just a secretary. You have been called by God to complete a mission with four areas at the helm: compassion, accountability, confidentiality and obedienceas well as everything else placed before you. God looks at what you have placed on the table before Him. Are you eating from the table or passing the plate for someone else to eat? Remember God is blessing you for what you do. How big is your blessing today?
Since this is my testimony, I have shared with you how I see my walk in this calling. Let it be known that I am, I will, and I plan to do all that God requires of me each day. At the end of the day when I lay my head down in peace and pray, I thank the Lord for all that He has allowed me to do on that day.
When I look back over my life and where I am today, I thank God for what He has done. I believe it is all because of my obedience to God’s call even from an early age. When I look at some of the young people today, I thank God for what He instilled in my life at a young age and obedience was top priority.
The blessing is because of all the experience in writing, God has opened the door for my calling. The call involves writing inspirational books, poems, skits, newsletters, and magazines. The impact of those writings has blessed me as an author, publisher and motivator. I was blessed to receive an Associate’s Degree in Office Automation Management as well as becoming a Biblical Counselor which provides opportunities for me to share hope through the Word of God. My hope and prayer is that each letter of encouragement I write will bless someone to realize there is hope in every area of their lives.
The Lord allowed me to complete my thirteenth book titled “It’s in the Stone” which is a 31-day devotional filled with messages of hope to encourage people during their walk with the Lord. From a fledgling secretary to a full-time secretary, to a writer, author and publisher. Won’t God do it when you are obedient?
Serving as a secretary has made a major impact on my life. No, I am not just a secretary; I am a servant who has been called by God to fulfill a special mission that is needed to impact the life of others for the building up of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Written by Cheryl White