People from all over the Kansas City area will come together in April for Revelation Today, an evangelistic series presented by It Is Written speaker/director John Bradshaw.
Revelation Today is the culmination of a year-long campaign called Reach KC, a partnership between It Is Written and the three Adventist conferences in the area—Central States, Iowa-Missouri and Kansas-Nebraska.
In addition to forming prayer teams, all three conferences hired Bible workers who have spent the past year conducting Bible studies in the community and training church members how to do the same. This coordinated effort has resulted in nearly 400 Bible studies across the metro so far, with several decisions for Christ already made.
Following is an interview with Jenica Joseph, who left a lucrative career in California to serve as a Bible worker for the Iowa-Missouri Conference during Reach KC. In addition to training church members throughout the last year, she has studied the Bible with approximately 90 community members and has had anywhere from 15-20 studies going on at once.
What were you doing before becoming a Bible worker?
For nearly nine years I was a speech-language pathologist in northern California. I worked with pediatrics to geriatrics with a wide range of speech, language, cognitive, and pragmatic impairments.
Why did you choose to leave that behind?
I loved what I was doing and had no plans to leave, but God had been impressing me for over a year that He had more ministry-oriented activities for me to pursue. I told Him I was willing to do something else if that was His will but also that in that case He would have to literally drop something in my lap.
I thought I was safe because who would want a speech-language pathologist with virtually no ministry training or experience in a paid ministry position? Well, two weeks later—out of the blue—I got a call from the Iowa-Missouri Conference inviting me to become a Bible Worker for a year during the Reach KC campaign. How do you say “no” to God when you’ve thrown out a fleece and He drops it right back in your lap?
The next morning, I walked into my boss’ office, explained what I was doing, and handed in my resignation.
What were your expectations going in and how closely have they matched reality?
Coming into this I was virtually a blank canvas, so I was not sure what to expect.
I knew it would be scary to knock on doors and talk to strangers about God, but I have found this to be true only for the first door of the day. Once that first door is out of the way—even if it was a negative experience—it is much easier to continue knocking the rest of the day.
It has been an amazing adventure to really get into my Bible and study topics with others that I had not looked at in a long time, and God has taught me new things every step of the way. Sometimes I think that Bible work is more for the worker than others because you get to witness firsthand God’s polishing and refining you through spiritual interactions with others—something rarely experienced outside of ministry-related roles.
One thing I have found difficult is switching from an environment where people came to me to one where I have to go out and find people. Home visits add a whole new level of uncertainty to each day’s work. I need to be extremely flexible and not be too hard on myself if my day isn’t measurably productive or if my face-to-face studies and interactions were fewer than I would have liked. I’m learning that success in spiritual work can’t be measured by the same standards as in secular work. We can’t see what God is doing behind the scenes or the seeds that have been planted.
My expectations on the various levels of interpersonal relationships have changed. People I thought would be easy to study with are the most difficult and vice versa. I have learned that people who are the friendliest are sometimes the most closed-minded while those who are the most outwardly resistant are sometimes true seekers. You really can’t judge a book by its cover.
I was also not prepared for the level of spiritual warfare that goes along with fulltime ministry and have had to be more diligent about putting on my armor each day. I really notice the days I forget a piece.
What have you learned the most from this experience?
I have learned that regardless of my efforts it really isn’t about me; it’s all about God and what He is doing through me. I can have the worst day possible, but God can work behind the scenes so that when I come back the following week I discover the person has been blessed and had amazing experiences with God in spite of experiencing my “worst” the week before.
When discouraged I have also learned to remind myself that Noah preached for 120 years and saved no one outside of his own family, and Jesus died on the cross abandoned by those who had been learning from Him throughout His ministry. My perspective on success will never match God’s, so there is no reason to beat myself up over the mistakes I think I have made.
What encouragement can you offer those considering Bible work or leading Bible studies in general?
I think fear on various levels is the biggest hindrance to giving a Bible study or doing Bible work. It is terrifying to think that someone will ask you a question and you won’t know the answer, or you will say the wrong thing, or you will somehow mess up and ruin another person’s chance of salvation.
Those fears are all lies that keep us from doing the work. God never asks us to be a savior; He’s got that covered. He only asks for workers willing to go out into the unknown. You are going to make mistakes and not know things; that’s life. God promises He will never leave us. He will be there to help us and give us the words to say.
It all comes down to trust. Do you trust God enough to be scared, uncomfortable and vulnerable? To take chances as a worker for Him? Then knock on that first door, ask your first questions, give someone your first invitation to have Bible studies. And be prepared for an exciting adventure.
If you are interested in becoming a Bible worker for the Iowa-Missouri Conference, please contact Lee Rochholz.