CLI Leadership Course

CLI Leadership Course Impact

I am Joy Lady from Berea, Kentucky, in the USA, and I finished the CLI Leadership course. My mission is to know God, and the Christian Leaders Institute courses are enriching that mission. Through the sanctification that comes by fellowship with the Holy Spirit, I lovingly submit every part of myself and opportunity gifted me to the glory of God. I serve wholeheartedly until the time I am united with Him for eternity.

My Upbringing

My mother suffered severe depression, and my father was unabashedly arrogant, misogynistic, abusive, and alcoholic.  As the only daughter and middle of five children, I heard that I was “broken” and “inferior” because I was “just a girl.” Furthermore, there were belittling reminders of my disastrous failure of my family’s ridiculously high expectations. Anything less than perfection in any regard was “a lack of effort.”

Once, my father, berating me in a drunken rage of which he has no recollection, challenged me to name one thing in my life, I had touched without messing up. I was in tears, struggling to think of words to prove I had any worth or purpose. God stilled my heart and led me to say, “I love.” For me, that was all that mattered.


My father chose sobriety a short time later. “I love” became my mantra, and I was thrilled to learn that he began regularly attending a church. I was eager to plug-in and be active in ministry, as I had recently been forced to relocate away from my home church and ministry. However, when I spoke of my desire, I found that the church’s opinion of women in ministry strongly mirrored that of my father. They told me to remain silent. They sat me down if I attempted or offered to serve in any capacity outside of washing dishes or singing on occasion.

It discouraged my spirit, but God told me to stay, long after my father left. For five years, I tried to find a different congregation. One that would disciple me, encourage me, and allow me to serve in the ways the Holy Spirit and the Father of all creation gifted me. However, God kept leading me back to the tiny little country church in Berea, Kentucky.

For those five years, I felt like God led me into the desert to walk in circles and starve. But then, in 2012, my church leaders appointed me, a woman, as the head of the Worship Ministry.  Thank God, His timing is perfect! I’ve been in this position for eight years now. Women in my church are seen and heard for the first time in its 200 year history.

CLI Leadership Course Impacted Me

I feel an undeniable calling to encourage and equip individuals. Each one is unique, a “fearfully & wonderfully made” part of one body. They can discover and embrace their identity and purpose in Christ.

The CLI Leadership course taught me valuable lessons. It showed me how to combat tradition, fear, and complacency while simultaneously respecting the culture and working to change it to bring glory to God further. It has provided me with insight regarding the inevitable and necessary conflicts I will encounter. The CLI Leadership course challenged me to grow as a leader and an individual.

I dream that all churches will value people and the contributions those people make to the kingdom of God. Judging no one according to their gender or their weaknesses, but by the gifting and calling God places on them.

Learn about ordination at the Christian Leaders Alliance. Interested in a low-cost degree? Check out the CLI’s Leadership Excellence School.

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