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October 15, 2000: Fulfilling the Great Commission

September 17, 2000: John Castellani: Giving hope to addicts

September 10, 2000: Kermit Bridges: Spiritual renewal on campus

August 27, 2000: Phil Vischer: The Big Idea behind VeggieTales

August 20, 2000: Chonda Pierce: A time to laugh

August 13, 2000: Thomas E. Trask, John Bueno: The launching of Global University

July 30, 2000: G.L. Johnson: Keeping passion for Christ alive

July 23, 2000: Hal Donaldson: More than fame and money

July 16, 2000: David Moore: America in a sea of change

July 9, 2000: Jim Seymour: Real reconciliation

June 18, 2000: Randy Phillips: Plugging into the local church

June 11, 2000: H. Maurice Lednicky: Pentecost Sunday

May 28, 2000: Tim LaHaye: Prophecy-based fiction

May 14, 2000: Natalie Grant: The best testimony

April 30, 2000: Alvin Worthley: Ministry to the 'fourth world'

April 23, 2000: Robert Spence: The meaning of Easter

April 16, 2000: Stephen Pfann: The Dead Sea Scrolls

April 9, 2000: Eddie Rentz: Teens, TV, music and parenting

March 26, 2000: Lillie Knauls: Single and satisfied

March 19, 2000: Terry Lindvall: Christ and culture

March 12, 2000: David Yonggi Cho and Thomas E. Trask: World Assemblies of God Congress and 2000 Celebration

Setting priorities

Bettina Richardson, an Assemblies of God minister, is Women’s Ministries director of the South Texas District, a private practice lawyer, wife of an Assemblies of God minister, mother of two teen-age girls, speaker, and founder of E.W.E. (Evangelizing and Equipping Women Everywhere) Ministries. She recently shared with the Pentecostal Evangel about handling demanding schedules.

Evangel: What steps do you take to prioritize your life and activities?

Richardson: I have certain activities and responsibilities which are non-negotiables — absolutes which I will not compromise. For example, my private time with the Lord is a non-negotiable. Those times when my children or husband need me, as well as scheduled family vacations, are also non-negotiables and are removed from the equation. Everything else — my law practice, my responsibilities with Women’s Ministries and E.W.E. Ministries — is then handled on a day-to-day basis. The most critical responsibility receives the greatest amount of attention on any given day.

Second, I maintain a calendar system which includes extremely detailed to-do lists. I maintain a separate list for each area of responsibility (including and in addition to work-related areas): personal development, finances and family needs. These lists are reviewed, edited and summarized weekly. I also utilize this method when delegating tasks. Such detail keeps everyone on the same page.

Finally, I believe and expect the Lord to order my footsteps from the time I put my slippers on in the morning until I take them off at night.

Evangel: What is one of the most challenging issues Christian women face and how can it best be dealt with?

Richardson: Women today, especially Christian women, have become occupied with the concept of balance. We have heard it discussed; we have read about its importance; we have bought into the notion, "Everything in my life must be in balance." It is frustrating, especially to young mothers, to balance their lives.

Consider a scale with the different aspects of your life — family, ministry, work, community involvement — placed on opposite sides. How can you ever place these on a scale in such a way that they will balance? You can’t. That’s the reason so many women are frustrated. That’s the reason why so many church leaders hear, "I can’t help with that because I work," or "because I have a baby."

What is the answer? Place your relationship with the Lord on one side of the scale and everything else on the other. He will take care of the balance. The stronger your relationship with Him, the better the balance. Why? Because you can do more? No, because you have the benefit of His direction, His strength and the power of the Holy Spirit as you determine what goes on the other side of the scale. Your efforts are more effective and more efficient. Ultimately, you can do more. Not because of your efforts, but because of His.

Evangel: What God-given strengths do women have, and how can women use those strengths to bless the Kingdom?

Richardson: God has placed within women a unique and universal characteristic: the power of influence. Remember the saying, "If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy"? It’s true. Ladies influence those around them. The question is how: good or bad? Positive or negative?

The Samaritan woman utilized her ability to influence to collect husbands. That is, until she met the Savior. She then used her power of influence to tell the men, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29, NIV). And they did.

Delilah utilized her power of influence to cause a man of God to fall. But Esther used her power of influence to convince a man of the world to save the children of God.

Whatever we are — mother, waitress, doctor, secretary, customer service representative — we must consciously be a positive influence on those around us. Whenever we touch someone, that person should experience the presence of God. We must say, "Come and see."

Evangel: Give an example of someone who has been a role model for you.

Richardson: The Lord not only tells us in His Word how to live; He provides us with living, breathing object lessons.

Mrs. Fannie Brown of Houston, Texas, is an example of God’s show-and-tell. She is 74 and has served the Lord her entire life. At a time when few women worked outside the home, Fannie had a full-time job and was successful in her career, earning honors and awards. Her four children all serve the Lord.

Now, in her retirement years, Fannie labors endlessly serving God and those around her. Long before mentoring was a hot topic, Fannie was there. Many people put limits on the amount of time they can actively be involved in service. Not Fannie. This world encourages ladies to learn to say, "No." However, Fannie responds, "Yes, I can do that." I am grateful she has planted alongside of me and into me. She is a modern-day Tabitha — whatever her hands find to do, she does it with all her might.

Evangel: Tell us about your husband, who has freed you to be all you can be.

Richardson: I have been married to my best friend, Terry, for 20 years. We were high school sweethearts and married while we were at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. Marrying young has afforded us the opportunity and the challenge of maturing together. We supported each other as we completed our educations and pursued areas as God directed us.

Terry is not only an incredible supporter of everything I do; he is an active participant. It is one thing to say, "Oh, yeah, I support your efforts" — law practice, preaching, ministry. It’s an entirely different thing to help feed the children, coordinate the family taxi service required by teen-agers, and actually get on the floor to help pull projects together. He puts time and energy behind what he says.

We also recognize as a family the value of supporting each other and sending each member out to minister. Such an investment has enormous returns for the entire family.

During our 20 years in ministry, Terry has served local churches in children’s, youth, associate and senior pastoral positions. He is now director of Christian education for the South Texas District.

Evangel: What advice do you have for the young mother who desires a role in ministry, but is also working outside her home?

Richardson: Some days one area of responsibility will be absolutely all-consuming. That’s OK; it will pass. Place everything on one side of the equation and God on the other side.

Second, recognize that life is in stages. Each stage is different and does not last forever. If you are currently in a stage that seems all-consuming or overwhelming (for example, having young children at home), take a deep breath and use this time to sit in His presence.

Early in our marriage, while our girls were babies, Terry was doing his graduate work at night. After working all day, I would come home and sit and hold my babies all evening. (It did not hurt them and it sure did me a lot of good.) During those years, I spent many hours talking to the Lord about the desires of my heart. During those night hours I began to regularly speak to those things which were not, as though they were.

Third, never forget that the desires in your heart were placed there by your Abba Father. He did not place those desires there to frustrate or grieve you; He put them there because of what He wants to accomplish in and through you. He will work it out. Your job is to acknowledge the desire and then be open and available. Do not make excuses why you cannot do something; instead, find creative means for responding to opportunities to minister.

Finally, find a mentor — a godly woman who has the qualities and characteristics you desire. Apply in your life the principles you see in her. Seek accountability and then, "You go, girl."

Editor’s note: Bettina Richardson will speak at the Assemblies of God Conference for Women in Ministry, March 12-14, 2001, in Springfield, Mo. Information regarding the conference can be obtained by calling (417) 862-2781, ext. 4050.

 

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