Outsiders Teen Winter Camp: (2/25/23)

“Don’t tell me a woman is unfit to preach the Gospel of Christ.”

A life being changed, by a ministry knowing no parole.

By Joe Torosian

Granite Ridge— So, unless I’m required to build something, turn a screwdriver, or given a hammer, I don’t struggle with confidence.

Through the years, I’ve written thousands of sports stories, columns, and seven books (plus several short stories)…I don’t reference myself as a writer, but more along the lines of someone who writes.

Example: In 95% of my circles, I travel as “Joe T.” …not “Pastor Joe T.”

And there have been times when I wonder, is this what I really am? Why me? 

And I learn, like ministry (Without Parole), writing is a calling the Lord has placed on my life.

Today’s experiences in the Lodge at Granite Ridge at about 11:20 AM provided affirmation to this. And if I never write another word, never publish another book, I witnessed a moment so amazing…that God has pressed me to write it down. To make it a moment that is never forgotten and a compass point to come back to in those challenging times when we need focus.

In the picture above, a life was changed, a life was restored, a life was given purpose in the Lord.

(The details and background story of this life are for another time and, maybe, another writer to record.)

But this life was changed not by an altar call—there was no altar call.

This life was changed not because of an emotional worship session—no electricity was available during worship (but there was power).

There was this simple, wonderfully illustrated message about how God heals the fractures in our lives and brings us back to the image he intended us to be—His. 

So there’s the background of the young person and this moment that needs to be remembered and recorded.

And there’s the individual who shared the message. Who they are, the life they live, and how they serve and surrender to a calling. A calling that is ministry without parole.

Thirty-four years into ministry, I’m as far as anyone could be from progressive theology. As far as anyone could be from the church-universal’s efforts—theologically/sociologically—to create ineffectual kingdoms of victims and villains.

I’m as far away as anyone from giving credibility to anyone or any system perpetuating victimhood. Our Lord opens prison doors and sets the captives free.

Whether it’s race, economics, or gender, you cannot preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ with authority when willingly defined by personal intersections of victimhood.

Because if you have a chip on your shoulder, you have not been transformed by the power of God. And you are unqualified to preach the word of God with authority.

With that said…don’t ever tell me a woman is unfit to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It was my privilege and God’s plan as a boy to hear Dr. Louise Chapman preach the Gospel with authority. 

It’s been my privilege to hear many women preach this Gospel. As is the case at Granite Ridge with Mariah Zimmerman, Jill Osborne, and Angie Curtis.

We can discuss filling roles and other things…but never tell me a woman is unfit to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mid-morning, February 25, 2023, Reverend Jenene Watkins was preaching about the image of God. She preached in that sweet/precious/sacred space of humbleness and authority.

She opened no altar and applied no pressure. She simply shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And a young girl, first time at camp, first time at Granite Ridge, boldly raised a hand among her peers. Boldly asked if she could come up. And boldly shared that she had fractures and wanted Jesus to restore her.

This happened because of the kind of vessel Reverend Jenene Watkins is. A vessel without a chip. A vessel unconcerned about standing or status. A vessel who does not identify as a victim because she is a woman in ministry.

In 34 years of ministry and 39 years of camp experience, what I saw happen at 11:20 this morning in the Lodge at Granite Ridge—without electricity—was one of my top five moments since coming into this career.

This might not be overly unique for some to read, but if you knew the events that led to this moment. The change in dates for camp, the crazy weather, the unexpected snow, the power outage, and alarms going off in the middle of the night that all came together to create something beautiful, not by the hands of man.

The young person came alone for the first time to camp and had her fractures healed. And the very fit, qualified, chip-free vessel shared the Lord’s good news with humbleness and authority.

To God be the glory…great things he hath done.


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One Response to Outsiders Teen Winter Camp: (2/25/23)

  1. Becky Valadez says:

    Love this, Joe! Thanks for sharing. So glad you will be at New Beginnings today. I’ll be watching! Love you, brother!❤️❄️????????✅

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