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Leoné Martin

LeoneMartin
God often chooses people that feel inadequate and underqualified for what He is asking them to do.  That has undoubtedly been my story.  When I was baptised in 2011, I could not have imagined that I would be a Minister in Training at my home church (Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church) and starting to study theology full time at Spurgeon’s College seven years later.

In 2015 I began to sense that God wanted me to study theology and I started to study online with Spurgeon’s College.  Online studying didn’t really work for me, and I began to question whether God wanted me to study theology.  

However, the sense that God was calling me to teach his word would not leave me.
 
In May 2017 I felt torn; I was in a career I loved as a learning and development consultant, but I could not get peace.  That month I was attending our annual church retreat, and I remember writing in my prayer journal ‘God if you want me to study Theology, please make a way’.  I wanted an answer, something clear and unambiguous.

I did not expect what happened next. Towards the end of our evening service that day the keyboard player and visiting minister prophesised at least two people present were meant to be studying theology at Spurgeon’s College.  Instantly I knew it was me and I began to cry.  I should have been happy - I had my answer - but I was terrified.  At the end of the service I shared with my Pastor that I believed the prophecy was concerning me, he laughed and said he had known that for a long time.

In September I started to volunteer at my church one day per week to test my call and about a year after my encounter at the retreat I had my ministry recognition interview which was incredibly affirming.

My biggest challenge throughout the process has been my own fears and doubts.  My church has been supportive, and I have had exposure to women in ministry who have encouraged and mentored me.

I am grateful that, 100 years after the first woman entered a Baptist college for ministerial training, I have not encountered any open opposition to my call based on my gender or my race. Nevertheless, I understand that I am a beneficiary of many women and men who have paved the way for me, who have paid the price.

This inspires me to invest in other women who feel God has called them into ministry.  I believe God has given me the ability to see potential in people and nurture it, mentoring young women at my church has allowed me to exercise this gift.  Whether they decide to become Baptist ministers in the future or not, I hope to contribute to an environment where they can flourish, where they can explore and where they can see it is possible, that God can use someone like them for his purposes.
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First black woman to become an accredited Baptist minister in our Union
Team chaplain at Milton Keynes University Hospital
Minister of Portrack Baptist Church, Stockton on Tees
A Regional Minister with the South Wales Baptist Association. She was minister of Chatsworth Baptist Church in West Norwood, London from 1990-2007.
Minister of Stapleton Baptist Church in Bristol
An undergraduate and Minister in Training at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, on placement at New Road Baptist Church
     100 years of women in Baptist ministry 
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