Today continues the ongoing “So You Say You’re a Church Lady” series, and I am blessed to be interviewing Stephanie Holden, also known as Honey Holden. Honey is a woman after God’s heart, the wife of a pastor, a mom and also a “Honey” to her grandkids. She is as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside, and she lives her life for Jesus openly and beautifully! I’m thankful that she was willing to take the time to share her heart with us today.
1. Tell us a little bit about the church that you’re a part of.
Our church is a very tiny rural church out in the middle of the country. It is very small…probably around 50 members or so. It is a very different way of doing ministry than what we were used to. After pastoring a larger church for seven years, my husband surrendered to full time evangelism where we traveled and served different churches. Each church would extend an invitation to him, asking that he would come help them seek God for revival. This time is most commonly called a revival meeting. (A revival meeting is simply a concentrated effort where a church sets aside a certain time to seek God’s face together for a repetitive number of days: asking the Lord to speak to His people, grant them repentance as needed and to restore a passion for Him and the mission He’s given them.) This was a tough season for our youngest daughter who was in her teens at the time and we began to pray to ask God to connect us with a small church that Nick could effectively shepherd yet still be able to travel and do what God has gifted him with in the area of evangelism.
2. What does it look like, in your life, to be an active part of your church?
This is what made the traveling part so difficult for me and my girls. We view church as an extension of our family. Not just a place to go because we’re “obligated to” or even as some people view pastors and their families role as “being our job” to be there. No…we have always viewed the church as a way of life. Jesus is my life and the church is very important to Him, so it’s a very huge part of who we are. So for me, in my life the church is an extension of my daily being. It’s not a separate thing. They are who I do life with…the group of people God has called us to serve and to walk along side of in this season of our life.
3. How are your unique gifts and abilities strengthened by being part of a local church?
Well I love how diverse people are… how we are all created so unique with different passions and abilities. Because we live in a fallen world filled with broken people, there will always be needs around us. There will always be situations. I feel if we use our gifts and abilities that God has equipped and anointed each of us with, within our local churches, then we will see the needs of our communities being met. There would be fewer “gaps” and we become more effective as the body of Christ.
4. How has being part of a church challenged and changed you?
I see church as a family. And with a family there is often dysfunction. We can get hurt and we can hurt others. Being a part of a local church has challenged me because I have had to learn it’s not about me. It’s not about what I can get out of church and how I’m benefited. It’s about glorifying God through me as I am connected to a specific body of believers all with different personalities and backgrounds. Some I’m drawn to naturally but some I have to really work at making those connections and relationships.
5. Why do you value church? What do you love about church?
I value church because God values church. The church was His design for His Bride. To grow in grace together, to submit to one another, to reach the world around us and mainly…to glorify Him. And I love the church because it truly is family. Years ago Nick was in the Navy and we lived 17 hours away from any family. This is before I had a personal relationship with Jesus and church was not a priority and certainly not a love of mine. My mom was always encouraging me to get involved in a church where we lived. I didn’t understand why she was so persistent back then but I do now. She knew how a healthy church operates and how they would have loved on us and been a family to us when we needed that most.
6. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
It saddens me when I come across someone who, because of one bad experience in a church, has totally lumped them all together as being bad. As I said earlier, churches are made up of people and people are flawed so there will never be a such thing as a perfect church. We have to find one the Lord leads us to and dig in and make roots, invest our time and our lives and build relationships with the people there. Don’t wait for others to reach out to you. Take the lead and be the one to make the difference.
Stephanie, you are a gem! Your insights ring so true and I am thankful for the ways that you and Nick have said yes to Jesus and for all of the ways that you continue to say yes to him!
Get to know Stephanie more at her blog, The Honey Pot. She is a woman worth knowing!