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Continual fulfillment

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, one woman discovers her call to pastoral ministry

by Mirta Colloca

Worshipping God:We value heartfelt worship that is God-honoring, Spirit-directed, and life-changing.

When my husband, Roberto, and I got married, I was certain that he was the one called to ministry. I viewed myself as along for the ride, ready to support him in his work. After a few years, though, I began to feel a growing passion for the work of the Lord and realized that the call to pastoral ministry was not just for Roberto; it was also for me! I was surprised, challenged, and delighted by the possibility of worshipping God with my life in a new way.

Yet the biggest obstacle to becoming what God wanted me to be was myself. Swayed by my own insecurities and certain that the local church we’d been serving with was not ready for women in ministry, I hesitated. Despite this, doors that I did not even knock on began to open before me. As I stood at the threshold of these doors, I knew that the time had come for me to decide whether I was going to walk through them.

When I look back on this period of my life, I realize that I was struggling with something that many Christians encounter: taking hold of all that the Lord wants to give us through His Spirit. Many believers sustain the idea that coming to Christ and receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit once is enough for a lifetime—that there is nothing more to look for, expect, or desire, even though their lives reflect little of the power of the Spirit. The result? They rely heavily on their own wisdom and efforts. Not only have many Christians come to live unnecessarily in defeat, but they have also offered a diluted and powerless testimony to a lost world.

The Scriptures clearly show us that if we want God’s mighty hand to work in our lives, we cannot settle for an occasional encounter with the Spirit. We must yearn for and seek out the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit . . . not once, not twice, but over and over again!

Such was the conviction of John Wesley, who greatly influenced the Brethren in Christ through his teachings on the “empowerment of the Holy Spirit.” Passionate, charismatic, and determined, John Wesley broke with the traditions of his day by inviting lay people to serve as teachers and leaders in the Church. Stirred by the example of his own mother, Susanna, Wesley also began to advocate for women providing spiritual leadership. This went directly against the strict—and, according to Wesley, corrupt—regulations of the Church at the time. Yet Wesley reasoned that God filled all people with the Holy Spirit, commissioning them to worship with all their gifts through the Spirit’s continual strength and inspiration.

As I stood at the entrance of the doors that had opened to me as a woman in ministry, I was very much encouraged by Wesley’s vision. I realized that I needed to ask again for the Spirit to fill me. Once I’d done that, I found that I was able to focus on God’s call upon my life. Forty-two years later, I continue to seek this posture of worship, of fulfillment, of supernatural provision through the Spirit’s empowering presence in my life.

This article originally appeared in the summer 2013 issue of In Part magazine.
Mirta Colloca

Mirta Colloca and her husband copastor Vida Abundante (Hialeah, Fla.). Originally from Argentina, Mirta serves as chair of the BIC Board for World Missions and travels throughout Latin America to lead women’s conferences.

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