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Blevins turns obstacles into opportunities

March 30, 2018 – Pastor Laura Blevins, of the First United Methodist Church of Excelsior Springs, exudes good humor, warmth, and excitement. There’s a feeling of forward movement around her as she leads her growing church – one of the top ten fastest growing Methodist congregations in Missouri.

Being a female in ministry in Excelsior Springs is unique to Blevins, but not to the Methodist Church.

“In the United Methodist Church we have been ordaining women since 1956. There are a lot of wonderful brave women who have gone before me, paving the path to women in the Pastor role,” Blevins said.

Admittedly, she said she’s faced many struggles in ministry, but not solely because of gender. If she does encounter obstacles — any obstacle — she simply finds a way over or around them.

“Overcoming obstacles is what Christians do,” Blevins explained. “There’s a whole world out there who needs Jesus Christ.”

In addition to being a pastor, Blevins is also a pastor’s wife. Together, she and her husband Jeremy Blevins, pastor of the Richmond United Methodist Church, are raising three children. Blevins hopes to instill her three children with the same sort of boldness with which her mother instilled her.

“I look up to my mom, who gave me the encouragement and boldness to do anything I wanted to do. I never questioned if could do something as a child, just because I was a girl,” Blevins explained.

She has plenty of other women she looked up to in her life, as well.

“As a married woman, I also look up to my mother-in-law. She’s the amazing person who encourages me to do my best and stand up for what I believe is right,” Blevins explained. She also looks to Barbara Brown Taylor. “She’s an amazing author, preacher and theologian. She is one of the most influential preachers I have ever heard.”

The Bible is full of women to look up to, and for Blevins, the Samaritan Woman at the well, from the Gospel of John, is one of her favorites.

“She was a woman who had a difficult life, and yet Jesus accepted her. She’s proof God loves us in the midst of who we are and calls us to be better,” Blevins said. “She also went and shared her testimony with other citizens from Samaria and they came to find Jesus and accepted Him. I see this woman as one of the first female preachers. She gave her testimony and people came to know Christ.”

In order to maintain her positive attitude, generous spirit, and to continue to lead with compassion, Blevins relies on people whom she refers to as “problem solvers and vision casters.”

“I surround myself with people who are problem solvers and positive influences,” Blevins said. “In my church, that’s the leadership team and staff. Not only are they problem solvers, but they are vision casters. They are the ones who say ‘you know the church should be like this…’”

“I also have a core group of colleagues who I am in a covenant group with and a ministry coach who helps me think through situations,” she added.

Blevins, like many women in leadership positions, thinks often of the young girls coming up in this world – her daughter among them. To those girls who are looking forward and hope to assume the mantle of leadership someday, whether in the corporate world or in a church, Blevins has one simple piece of advice.

“Go for it,” Blevins said. “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

This concludes The Excelsior Springs Standard’s feature series recognizing March as Women’s History Month.

 

By Samantha Kilgore • samantha@leaderpress.com

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One Response to Blevins turns obstacles into opportunities

  1. Jeannette Hisek Reply

    April 4, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Wonderful article! You are an inspiration, Laura!

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