Belview Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Tim Caldwell believes in strengthening the whole person and sees the ministry as a beacon of light for many young women who live in darkness.
“We welcome all; it doesn’t matter if you’re in a church or not,” Caldwell said. “One of our purposes is to teach them their value and it’s not material stuff.”
Caldwell himself is youth-oriented, having come to the church when he was only in his 20s.
He is currently working on developing a program for young men, and has enlisted the help of Rebecca Williams, who is a mentor who works with the girls and is hands-on in their spiritual development in the ministry.
“I knew God sent me somebody to take this load and this ministry because there’s only so much a man can give a young lady and vice versa,” Caldwell said.
“You’d be surprised at the stuff that is brought up, that the parents don’t know but they feel comfortable telling her.”
Williams has a tough task on her hands, yet takes it in stride.
“It’s about young ladies helping other young ladies to Christ,” Williams said. “It’s definitely for teenagers to realize they can be open in their mission to God.”
The God’s Chosen Pearls Ministry has a concrete mission statement all girls involved in the ministry know by memory.
It reads: “It is our goal at all times to welcome the lost, the hurting and the hopeless while aiming to minister the whole counsel of God to the whole person. We strive to foster a contemporary atmosphere of worship, resulting in a greater relationship with God.”
“That’s something all the girls know by heart,” Williams said.
And as the girls recited that same mission statement in unison, it became clear that they meant serious business.
“Teenagers tend to take things more seriously once they understand them,” Williams said. “It’s not as if they are coming here to socialize. They come here to make their relationship with God greater.”
Williams said she has seen girls suffer from an array of negative influences such as sexuality, abortion, abandonment from absentee fathers, suicidal thoughts, and misinformation about what being saved really means.
“Teenagers have questions. They want to know, ‘What is this?’” Williams said.
Williams believes the program is helping them tremendously, especially with family issues.
“I would never keep their parents out of the loop,” Williams said. “My position is not to be a parent; it’s to be a mentor.”
Before being involved in the ministry, Williams coached volleyball at Talladega College before resigning to pursue her master’s degree in physical education at Jacksonville State University.
“When I left Talladega College, I called him [Caldwell] and I was riding in the car and God was talking to me and I knew this was my purpose,” Williams said.
“To know that I can be a light to them keeps me going. You must be obedient to God when he asks you to do something.”
The ministry is composed of 25 to 30 young women from ninth grade to 21 years old; they usually meet at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesdays depending on their school and extra curricular activity schedule.
In addition to the spiritual side of the ministry, Williams also helps the girls with life skills and holds workshops to teach the girls everything from proper hygiene to job interview skills.
Williams said she especially likes it when a girl can come back to the program and give a testimony as to how they helped someone else at school.
She wants them to lead by example and be a light to others who may be struggling.
“Altogether you have to give teenagers a chance because every child comes from a different background,” Williams said.
Williams ultimately believes that by setting a solid foundation for her girls, she is guiding their growth into well-rounded women who are confident in their purpose and relationship with God.
“I can’t even explain the fruits and rewards from this,” Caldwell said. “They are just drawn to her. She’s going to impact so many lives.”
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.