I’m thrilled to be featuring a guest post from Jessica Fick, who I met last week on Twitter and promptly fell in love with. (The fact that she happened to be in Wisconsin right then for an evangelistic crusade at UW-River Falls didn’t hurt, either–the photos in this post are from that.) Enjoy!
I pulled into the McDonalds parking lot with my 5-month old son Oswald crying in the backseat because he was hungry. On a cold November afternoon I was driving to Detroit to help the InterVarsity chapter Oakland University chapter with an evangelistic outreach. A colleague Nicole who had flown in from California was traveling with me to see an example of a female evangelist with a family and I was grateful for her company to give Ozzy his pacifier if it fell out and have someone to talk with on the three-hour drive from Cleveland. Though Nicole had thoughtful question about particular challenges as an itinerant female evangelist she was seeing all the glamor of my life as I scootched into the backseat to lift Ozzy out of his car seat and nurse him. Later she would see kind students and colleagues hold him while I preached the gospel, me popping him in his near-by stroller to sleep while engaging students in the student union about their spiritual beliefs and holding him on my hip after the meeting to the delight of students who love babies and rarely see them on campus.
Before I had kids I remember being at an national evangelism conference where I scoured the program hoping to find a woman with whom I could pepper with questions- “how does this all work when you have kids? What do you wear when you preach? Did your church support you in this call on your life? How about your husband?” Any time I had asked other male role models about how they balanced family life while traveling they had stared at me quizzically and shrugged “My wife stays home with the kids and sometimes they travel with me.” I’d ask friends and colleagues who I could look to as examples of female evangelists and would get the same answer: Becky Pippert, author of the amazing book Out of the Saltshaker and former InterVarsity staff.
After emailing her to see if she’d be able to meet for a meal at a conference Becky graciously sat down with me and answered as many of my questions as I could squeeze into our breakfast meeting. I was grateful for this meeting but it also made me long for more female evangelists who were seeking Jesus and trying to honor him in their call to preach the gospel. It just seemed like there needed to be more of us out there.
The role of the evangelist has practically been eliminated from the church, horrible stereotypes of evangelists persist and there aren’t many female role models in this area of ministry. Yet it is possible to have beautiful feet that bring good news even if those feet are sorely in need of a pedicure and have been going for 14-hours to make sure meals are cooked, sermons are written and children are tucked into bed at night. In many ways it is easier to minister as an evangelist because I don’t fit a stereotype. I’m able to gain trust, build rapport and demonstrate that I’m not a freaky Jesus salesperson- I’m a woman who loves to preach Jesus, wear red lipstick, live out the adventure of life with him and invite others to do the same. Well, maybe not the lipstick part. It’s been a joy to see young women’s faces light up as they see someone who looks like them preach the gospel without apology. Someone who can paint a picture of life with Jesus that is seeking to be obedient to him in multiple spheres.
My hope in schlepping my baby all over the Midwest to proclaim Jesus on the college campus is that other women will see that it is possible. Sharing stories about my incredible husband who prays for me and encourages me in God’s call on my life helps other women to see a marriage that is seeking to submit to Jesus and to one another. 2 Corinthians 12:9 has come to mind often as I’ve struggled with the challenge of living out my call as a wife, mother and evangelist. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In the moments I’ve been exhausted from parenting, being on the road preaching or the inevitable spiritual attacks that come before, during and after I preach Jesus continues to strengthen me through his power, protection and love. As I seek to be faithful with the gifts Jesus has entrusted to me His grace has been sufficient for my family and me.
When she is not building Lego’s with her sons, listening to records with her husband, trying to squeeze in a run or bake a loaf of bread, Jessica Fick serves with InterVarsity Christian fellowship as a Regional Evangelism Coordinator in a 4-state region in the Midwest to preach the gospel, teach and train in churches and campus groups across the country. You can find her blogging at www.sidewalktheologian.com