Words, good or bad, may be looked upon as seeds being planted in the hearer's or mind. These seeds eventually bear fruit in the hearer's life—positive or negative. Even people choosing carefully to listen to the goodness of the Gospel can find that there are differing degrees of goodness being presented. Such is the case for Janet Maley; she was a consistent listener of a number of well known pastors and teachers. She enjoyed receiving goodness from a handful of today's top ministers and thrived in her walk with the Lord. Then, Janet started listening to the almost-to-good-to-be-true-news that Andrew shares.
Janet's friends had given her one of Andrew's tapes in 2002, but at the time, Janet was not interested in adding a new teacher to her listening menu. This changed in 2003, when Janet's summer project was to paint the exterior of her home in southern Colorado. As she set out to paint, she borrowed her friend's entire audio library of Andrew's material. That summer, Janet spent ten hours a day listening to Andrew's teaching, planting the seeds of love and grace in her heart, and her life was transformed.
Among Janet's favorite teachings is Spirit, Soul & Body, particularly the second message in the series, where Andrew discusses the believer's eternal redemption. "As one who lived my life thinking that I had no real assurance of a lasting salvation, this was good news," said Janet.
A year later, Janet attended Andrew's Summer Family Bible Conference hosted by Charis Bible College (CBC) in Colorado Springs. She was so taken with her experience that she enrolled at CBC and began classes in August that summer. The following three years at CBC equipped and prepared her for the ministry to which the Lord would call her.
As Janet began her first term at CBC, the thought entered her mind that she may one day plant a church. At the time, she was leading an adult Bible study group, and the idea of leading a congregation held some appeal, although it was truly counter to Janet's shy and introverted nature. This coupled with Janet's misimpression that the administration at CBC was against female leadership in the church, caused her to put the thoughts aside.
From time to time, Janet would hear comments from other CBC students and apprentices regarding what they perceived to be her call to pastor or lead a church, but Janet would dismiss the sentiments because of her inaccurate assumption that female leadership was not acceptable. Her thoughts of starting a church continued to lay dormant, like a seed in the ground, until January of her second year as a student, at which time she took a class on church planting.
During the semester, Janet approached her instructor, and asked him if he wanted to plant a church in her hometown. He responded respectfully declined, and suggested that Janet should be the one to do it. The instructor went on to mention that a married couple he knew was sensing that their time in Colorado Springs was coming to an end and that they may be a good fit to help her launch a new church.
Janet and her husband, David set up a weekend for the other couple to come visit Pagosa Springs to discuss the prospect of launching a new "grace" church. Janet also contacted people she thought may be interested in being a part of the new fellowship. Unfortunately, during the week leading up to the visit, the other couple called to cancel, simply stating that they did not feel God was leading them to Pagosa Springs. As Janet made the phone calls to cancel the meeting, she heard herself explaining to the person who was to host the gathering that she could preach. "I said, 'I can preach, I've got so much inside me that I've got to share, I can preach,'" said Janet. This was an uncharacteristically bold statement for Janet, one which prompted the meeting's host to insist on holding the meeting anyway.
After the meeting, Janet felt strongly that she needed to discuss her plans with Andrew—after all, she was a woman preparing to lead a church. Contrary to her assumptions, Janet was overwhelmed by Andrew's support for her idea. Not only did he share his blessing, but he encouraged her not to be swayed by those who would despise her because of her gender. "In essence, he told me to do what God has called me to do without apology," said Janet.
Janet launched Charis Bible Fellowship in Pagosa Springs in 2006, while still attending CBC, and stepped into full-time ministry after graduation. Through Jesus, and the seeds of the goodness of God's word being planted in her heart, Janet overcame her shy and introverted nature, and began to share the unconditional love of God with the people of her new congregation. Since those early days, Janet has seen steady growth—and the positive fruit of guarding what she had chosen to hear.
Be sure to visit the Charis Bible Fellowship website for more information about Janet and the fellowship she started in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.