What a fantastic, amazing decision!

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote recently about Women on the Speaking Circuit and used the example of Jackie Hill Perry, Beth Moore, Diana Stone, Priscilla Shirer, Jennie Allen…

Women who have children at home but gallivant all over the world speaking to audiences of unknown women are doing their role a disservice. The children suffer. The husband suffers. Their church suffers from her absence and suffers from the lack of her ministrations to the younger women IN her life. Why teach women 1000 miles away when there are women who would benefit from her teaching, presence, hospitality, and example 2 feet away down the pew?

Woman are biblically urged to be at home, tend to their home, abide in their home, and perform duties oriented to the home. The Proverbs 31 woman did all she did FOR the home, which is biblically her sphere.

1 Timothy 5:14, Titus 2:5, Proverbs 14:1 are just a few of the verses that outline a woman’s sphere.

For women who start out and then their ministry gets big and known, there is a tipping point. When I ran my newspaper business it was all about sustainability, repeatability, and scalability. Can I personally sustain this? What are my limits in energy, time, and talent? Can I repeat this over and over day in day out, year after year? Is my business scalable?

Scalability refers to a business or other entity’s capacity to grow to meet increased demand“, says Investopedia. Can I meet demand on this ministry without having a negative effect on my home and life’s sphere?

There is usually a tipping point where the ministry (and usually it’s a corporation) gets big and the woman who founded it needs to re-evaluate her goals and realistically decide what to do next. It has been my contention that the above named women, and others, made the wrong choice. They invested themselves in their growing ministry, which inevitably took them away from their Godly role at home and church, and they became celebrities, with all that entails, which is usually negative.

The temptation of fame, or money, or even ‘good’ intentions such as ‘serving women’ or ‘serving Jesus’ were too much and they grew their ministry into a parachurch that took their time, attention, and energy away from the place where Jesus said it should be: HOME.

I was at a point like that a while ago. I’m not famous or anything, but I did start to receive requests to come speak. Idaho, New England, North Carolina, further afield in Georgia, different places. I declined them at first because I am still working full time and the dates were during the school year. But it made me think. I do like speaking and teaching. That’s my profession after all. My educational niche is Literacy, bringing text to children and helping them understand it. Doing that with THE text, the Bible, would be great. And to be honest, it’s flattering to get requests and to be ‘in demand’. (Pride, thou art sneaky…)

But no. After prayer and thought, I spoke with my elders and worked through the issue. I finally decided that my role is home, not to grow a ministry to the point where I need to incorporate, develop contracts, and travel away from home and church. Even if I never said another word or wrote another essay, just being IN the pew every week, present and visible, is a ministry.

I’d thought is there not one women I can help here, in my sphere? In church? Of course. Then why go help other women?

I do have a burden for the women I’d named above, and others, watching the negative effect being absent from home had on their families. Watching the temptations of celebrity chip away at their core. How ambition and energy used to sustain a growing ministry impacts them, and sometimes, even their message.

Many of these ministries and conferences become their own parachurch. While laudatory in many cases, some of these organizations increasingly draw women away from their home church, infuse them with false doctrine, and re-seed them back to their church to infect it.

I’ve written about my concern over these gallivanting women, and these growing ministries/conferences/parachurches founded by women, several times.

The Issue with Parachurch organizations, especially ones founded by women
The problem with parachurch organizations
I’m suspicious of parachurch organizations. Here’s why
Many Christian Celebrity Moms are Distorting Biblical Motherhood; Part 1
Are there too many conferences?

These are just a few of the essays I’ve written on the topic over the years. You can see I am truly burdened about it.

It’s why I admire and applaud Brooke Bartz, founder of the online global conference Open Hearts in a Closed World. She founded her conference in 2020. There have been 4 annual conferences- ’20, 21, 22, and 2023. It grew rapidly, soon hosting world class speakers and musicians. It quickly was partnered with American Gospel TV and The Master’s University.

This year she fulfilled her goal of moving the conference under the ministerial shepherding of her church elders. She never wanted the conference to become its own parachurch. She wanted to remain submitted, focused on her own sphere. It takes a strong Spirit-filled woman to abandon celebrity. To stick to her goal of NOT allowing the event to grow to the point where one’s identity and dare we say, celebrity, are attached. Here is part of her announcement:

The rest of her statement is at the link above. I loved this part, “in my sphere of influence”. Ladies, our sphere of influence is not the world stage. It is not jetting to this country or that state to impart biblical knowledge, outside of one’s own church and out from under authority of a husband, elder, pastor, or male-led board.

Brooke brought glory to the Lord with the teaching and now more glory by handing it over to the men!

Frankly, I’ve never seen a growing ladies’ ministry be handed over to the men at its tipping point. I’m sure it’s happened out of public view? Perhaps. But this was public, firm, and Godly. I rejoice with Brooke in having a full heart and seeing this wonderful example.

We need to be content where God has placed us, which is the home…church….perhaps a job (if single or other circumstances dictate). We really are not called to be celebrities, jetting in private jets with bodyguards, fielding interviews with globally famous news outlets, holding board meetings, negotiating speaking invitations and book contracts, when all the while the kids are at home eating takeout. The grandkids miss their gramma. Where her spot in the pew is empty. Where the husband is left to pick up wifely duties.

The Lord knows best and we thrive best at home. When we submit to that, He is pleased. Congratulations to Brooke and her husband, and her co-workers in Open Hearts in a Closed World for making such a fantastic decision.

Left, Brooke Bartz, founder of Open Hearts in a Closed World online conference. The conference will continue. It will not be live streamed but it will be videotaped, and available to watch on Youtube after the conference ends. It will be under the authority of Sola Bible Church and that is the Youtube channel one may watch the conference after it concludes this July, as well as the Open Hearts in a Closed World Youtube channel. May the women there be edified and the Lord of our souls be glorified.

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