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Jackie Hurley: Living Proof


Jackie Hurley

Jackie Hurley is a wife, mother, and foster mother. She works in the children's ministry at Cornerstone Baptist Church (Montague, PEI) and is currently a full-time student at Acadia Divinity College.


I started to attend a local Southern Baptist church in Ontario by myself at the age of 10. I was quickly swept in by the love and friendship of people I had never met up until that moment. I continued to go faithfully, and through their love, guidance, and teaching, I learned about the love of God and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. I was hooked and needed to get my parents involved. They eventually came to church with me, along with my brothers, and my family came to know the Lord.

 

I loved being in God's house and remember reading Psalms 26:8: “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” It resonated with me then and even now.

 

God put in my heart a deep desire to serve him and to tell people about Christ. As a teenager, my favourite books were about women missionaries Elisabeth Elliot and Mary Ann Aldersey. I wanted to be a missionary. My life was living proof of what God could do and how knowing him could change one's trajectory, and I felt burdened to tell the story of Christ. I shared this desire with my parents, who were very concerned, and in turn, they spoke with our pastor.

 

Shortly after, my pastor came to me to express concern about my choice. He told me that women are not to preach or be missionaries and that it would be better for me to pray that God leads me to marry a pastor or missionary.

 

That September, I attended Toronto Bible College but stayed for only a month. It was far too stressful to go against my family and my church. So, I pursued a profession in social services, hoping that would be like ministry. I worked in social services for over 20 years, but that desire to be in full-time ministry only grew even more in me, and working in the helping field didn’t satisfy that desire. In fact, I felt more frustrated with a system of care that silenced my witness for Christ. I saw the desperate need people had for Christ, but I was unable to boldly show people Christ; it had to be quiet, almost covert, so as not to go against agency policy.

 

Seven years ago, our family suffered a tragedy that set me back and made me refocus and lean into that calling to be in full-time ministry once again.  In 2017, my beautiful son Austin lost his battle with addiction. Good Christian families aren’t supposed to have children who struggle with such things. Well, we do, and it was so difficult to watch, and it was even harder to find support in the Christian community. It was no fault of theirs. My silence, shame, and fear didn’t make it easy for my church family.

 

So this tragedy set me on a new path, or better yet, back on my old path to work in full-time ministry, with the encouragement of my husband. I fearfully returned to school.  When I entered Acadia Divinity College, I came to learn about many women in Baptist church history and currently who are in ministry and men who support and encourage women in church leadership. This is new and exciting for me. I feel the Holy Spirit’s power caring for me on this journey. The need to share the love of God with everyone and to support families and God’s people is a passion that has never left me. I feel more equipped with age and through academic training to someday serve in ministry leadership.

 

It's important for people to know that I feel no animosity toward my pastors for discouraging women in leadership. In time, I hope they will become more open; I love the body of Christ and feel there is space for all of us. God calls men, women, children, and youth into ministry and can use everyone. Matthew 9:37-38: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

 

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Thank you for sharing your story, Jackie, and for not ignoring God's calling on your life! May God continue to lead and guide you!

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I am so thrilled Jackie is being encouraged to pursue such desperately needed ministry giftings at Acadia Divinity College. What a healing journey and amazing grace.

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