Heather Watts
United States of America

My name is Heather and I am currently living in the United States of America. I just recently moved back here after spending several years living in Oxford, England.
I came to know the Lord in my early twenties through a friend of my family, a missionary with a huge heart who sought to impact the lives of everyone he met with Jesus. I grew up in a Catholic family believing fully in God but completely disconnected and without relationship just religion. Our friend’s passion for sharing the gospel with my husband and I as young parents lead us to Christ and Salvation and has now changed the course of our family forever.

Since the very early days of my salvation, I had a strong desire to walk closely with the Lord and serve Him. I immediately jumped into the world of church ministry eager to serve and share the gospel. I can remember the exact moment that I knew this was a calling on my life. I had just been asked to refresh a ministry for a Baptist Church that previously had a Children’s Ministry but it had literally fallen into neglect and ruin. The rooms were filled with dusty curriculum, broken toys and mouse poop everywhere. I came in and cleaned, painted, set up the lessons, found some teachers and got ready to launch. I remember Church that day when we were ready to start the ministry again. Our Church was electric everyone was so excited, including me. The kids entered the room that day I knew right from the start something was just a little off. This church was set in a low-income area, and it came to my attention quickly that I had 4 kids who were literally starving. There was no way possible these kids would be able to do anything until they got some food in them. Which we did right away. I even changed the whole way that ministry ran for that church on Sundays. We started each Sunday sharing breakfast first. I learned so many valuable things that day messages straight from God. But more than anything it stirred in me such a deep compassion and love for children. That would today still fuel the passion I currently serve with. That’s what I call a calling. When you know in the depths of your being that God has marked you for something specific. And I see that every day as it plays out over time just in the longevity of it.

I have participated in Children’s Ministry for the last 20 years. I have served in various roles from writing curriculum, starting a children’s ministry in a church that did not have one, refreshing a ministry that is not functioning well, new church plant, teaching children, VBS, Children’s Director, Children’s Pastor, Pastoral Care for Families, Communications, Creative Team and the list could go on probably for a long time. I have worn many hats over the years. I am currently part of a local church in New Jersey that is a global church which is the same branch of the one that I attended when I was in Oxford, England. My heart and dreams are to continue to be part of this church, to continue to lead and teach and be part of the kid’s program here where children learn about Jesus and Impact the world for Him. To continue to be effective for the Gods Kingdom, loving people and sharing the gospel.

The challenges we face in the area I am currently living in are poverty, humanism, and spiritual apathy. The community in this area has some great divides in it with race and income. Any church in this area to be effective with the Gospel will need to be a church with Jesus as the cornerstone that welcomes everyone and is active within the community. It will need to be a church that is intentional, relational, and compassionate (grace filled). People are desperate now more than ever to find where they belong in this world, to know their life has a purpose and value. The gospel will need to be communicated clearly not in a way that is confusing or hard to understand. I believe the Church I attend does just that it.

My current church has a played a huge part in helping to continue to develop me as a leader as well as support and encourage me as I seek to grow and lead within my community so that I am effective in sharing the gospel and in ministering to others. I have also learned that part of the journey of becoming a revival leader is not just leaving it up to the church to make sure you are trained but taking responsibility and being accountable for your own growth and walk with Christ. So that you are effective in the areas you lead, which will ultimately make a difference for those that you are serving and for sharing the gospel. Which means being effective for the Kingdom. Being active with our faith.
I am also passionate about believers spending ample time in the Word as they seek to walk closely with God and lead in this by example. I love to encourage others to seek God out in the Word. I think it is fundamental. You can’t know who you are if you don’t know God and how much He loves you and the plans and purposes He has for your life.

As I mentioned earlier the choice my husband and I made to follow Jesus has made eternal changes within the course of our family. My husband and I are the first Christ followers in both of our families. This has altered our genealogy forever. We have had the blessing of raising our children in a Christian home covered in prayer and grace. We have homeschooled all 3 children. I am still homeschooling my 3rd child who has 2 more years of school left. Our other 2 children actively serve and lead in ministries in their Universities and their Churches. They have the same passion that’s within us to follow Christ, to love God and Others.

This Scholarship is so important to my ministry dream because it enables me to continue to run with my passion and calling but in a way that is effective to those God places in my path. I recently had been feeling like more training was needed for the areas I have been going into as I have taken on more pastoral responsibilities. But I thought maybe my time for that had passed that it would not be an option for me to do that now. I have been actively looking for ways to get training and had not found any until I discovered CLI. CLI has made it possible for me to continue to learn and grow as a Christ follower and leader in my community and still be able to be a wife and mom. To be able to still homeschool and serve within my church. And to not go into an exhaustive amount of debt that would strain my family. And that I think is so exciting. It has opened up some amazing possibilities for me. Every good and perfect gift comes from above.

I could use prayer that God would continue to give me strength and courage to stay the path. To continue to have endless amounts of energy and compassion for my community and the people God places on my path and to never grow weary of what He has called me to do.