mentoring center ministry

Passion and Purpose

I am Frances Johnson. For the last eighteen years, Gallatin, Tennessee, in the USA, has been my home. Called to mentoring center ministry, I am a student at the Christian Leaders Institute.

Today marks fourteen years since I met my husband for the first time and entered a new level of God’s redeeming, restoring grace. Even with that, I feel as though I have really just begun living since my 52nd birthday a few months ago. My passion and motivation for ministry are rooted in 2 Corinthians 1:4  “…who comforteth in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

To understand the power and depth of my passion and motivation for ministry, you would need a basic understanding of the depth of my despair and pain.

My Story

I am the middle child, between two boys. My home life was characterized by verbal, emotional, and spiritual neglect and abuse. At times, there were also elements of physical neglect and abuse. There were four sets of guidelines for our household: (1) for the adults; (2) for the boys; (3) for me as the girl; and (4) for the outside world. We were forbidden to discuss family matters outside the home. My parents never showed me affection or even told me they loved me. Frequent messages I heard: “You are an embarrassment;” “She’s just lazy;” “Your opinions are stupid and no one wants to hear them;” and, lastly, “You’ll never amount to anything.” These messages shaped my identity for years.

Trials and Pain

Throughout my teen years and into my twenties, multiple abusers repeatedly molested and fondled me. My first husband (who I will talk about more later) raped me, which in turn led to my belief that I had no choice but to marry him. I believed I was evil and the source of the pain and misery of everyone around me. For years, I prayed for death, for relief from the pain.

At eighteen and fresh out of high school, I met an older man (10 years) who said he loved me and used that to persuade me to leave my parents’ home. He raped me and used my faith against me. I felt I had no choice but to marry him because we had engaged in intercourse. For the next ten years, I endured verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse in the name of, “love.” The night I escaped, was full of God’s intervention that literally saved my life and my daughter’s. The next ten years were lived in varying degrees of fear until he died a few weeks before his forty-eighth birthday.

My Spiritual Journey

That’s the pain part of my story. I am eternally grateful that it is not the end of my story. It is a story that God is still writing and now Christian Leaders has a starring role in. When I was twelve, an insurance salesman was talking to my dad at the house, and asked him, “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?” Eavesdropping from the next room, I heard bits of the conversation. That night, as I cried myself to sleep, I prayed to a God I did not know. “Who are you, God? Who is Jesus? Are you Jesus? Am I a Christian, and am I going to heaven? If not, how do I become one? Send someone to teach me if you love me.” This became a daily prayer for years.

Approximately a year after I began praying this prayer, God moved my family across the street from a church. The pastor, his wife, and the youth leader were so nice and encouraging. I went each time the church doors opened. I enjoyed church so much, if my mom wanted to punish me, she would forbid me to go. Within a year, I had repented of my sins and asked Jesus to be my Lord. A year after that was the first time I felt God calling me into full-time Christian ministry.


However, I didn’t know what that looked like. The church told me I could be a pastor’s wife or Sunday School teacher, but no more. My pastor left to take another church, and I started going to a new church with my parents. I went from a grace-based denomination to a legalistic denomination. God continued to draw me.

By age sixteen, I knew I wanted to make sure young girls knew where their identity and worth came from. That they were loved and valued for who they were. My mother shut down all efforts for me to pursue any ministry opportunities, including youth camps and mission trips. By the time I graduated from high school, I was extremely disillusioned, making it easy for someone who said they loved me to draw me out of church for a period of time. Eventually, he decided he liked me better when I went to church, so I was allowed to go, but he dictated when and where.

I enlisted in the Army when I was twenty-five. God spoke to me before I left, “I am sending you to prepare you.” During my military training, I was a lay leader in chapel services. God led me to a church where I was introduced to the Holy Spirit. I began to feel His Presence and witness others experience His Presence. It was here I learned God did not intend for me to live in unsafe, abusive relationships.

Time of Healing

After my divorce, my guilt and shame over the failed marriage nearly destroyed me. I was raising a mentally ill child alone. My family told me to beat it out of her. The church told me to pray it out of her. Neither extreme was the solution. On the verge of a mental breakdown, after once more praying, “God, show me who you are, show me what love is,” God led me to a Christ-centered, donation-based counseling ministry.

January 8, 2003, I encountered the love of Jesus in a very real, life-altering way. I participated in individual counseling sessions, life skills training, and recovery groups. Eventually, I became a recovery group facilitator at the ministry. Further, I got training in mercy ministry. I received an ordination through this program, but it is neither accredited nor licensed. As part of the ordination process, I developed a ministry outline for a mentorship ministry for educating, encouraging, and empowering women. I had no idea how to implement my vision, where to start, or even what I believed about who God is, salvation, or many other basic doctrines.


Over and over again, I prayed and asked God, “Who are you? Who is Jesus? What is love? What do you want me to do with my life.” Then, on April 15, 2009, I was in Baskin Robbins eating ice cream and sharing my heart with a man with a beautiful smile that lit up his blue eyes. He talked of the restoring power of God’s love and how faith was a lifestyle, not a possession or event. It was the longest single conversation of my life. He introduced me to Biblical views and concepts I had never heard of but touched a long-dead place in my heart.

As we “courted” over the next eighteen months, God remained central to our relationship. Furthermore, God continues to be woven into our marriage. As Eddie tried to help me discover the basic truths of God, I kept hitting walls, preventing me from owning what I believed. I resisted many teachings of our church as legalistic, man-made rules that had outlived their time. In desperation, I prayed. I asked God to help me lay down everything I had been taught and everything I thought I knew about Him so that I could truly know Him.

The first God opened my eyes to all the times and ways He tells us in scripture to obey. I knew that He had called us to the church we attend and that we were to be a support and encouragement to the pastor. How could I do that if I were walking in rebellion rather than obedience? How could I be trusted with heavenly things when I had proven untrustworthy with earthly things?

Surrender and Call to Mentoring Center Ministry

After a time of confession and repentance, I went to my pastor and committed to one year of obeying everything he taught and everything he asked me to do. This meant following some of those rules I thought would imprison me. Instead of bondage, I found freedom, joy, confidence, and a desire for more. As I took continued steps of obedient faith, God opened my understanding of scripture and who He is. One night in August 2017, as I studied in our living room, God indeed revealed Himself to me. Since then, I have not looked back.

I am more confident than ever that God has called me into a specific ministry of mentoring. A year ago, I had a very detailed vision of a mentoring center. I never shared this with anyone until a couple of months ago. That’s when I shared it first with my husband and then my pastor. I then began looking for training options to prepare me to do what God planted within me. I considered a course I could complete within a few weeks to a couple of months. However, I didn’t have peace with that pathway and kept searching. My denomination does not offer training or certification in mentoring or as a life coach, even though they do promote this as a central component to spreading the Kingdom.

Mentoring Center Ministry: Christian Leaders Training

God led me to Christian Leaders. I knew they promoted mentoring because I listened to some of my husband’s classes. When I learned of the Life Coach programs, my spirit was stirred. The old flames of passion and purpose began to burn bright once more. This dream is something attainable for the first time.

Because of Christian Leaders’ scholarship programs, both my husband and I are able to pursue ministry training. We are currently in the process of becoming one hundred percent debt free, a goal we should obtain in the next 18-24 months. That doesn’t leave much flexibility in our budget. However, being debt free would allow us to take jobs closer to home. Eddie could even retire and life would be less stressful and demanding for me. It opens up more opportunities and options. It makes full-time mentoring center ministry more than an elusive dream but a real probability.

I am looking forward to certification as a Life Coach, possibly as an Ordained Life Coach minister. I am intrigued by the Mentoring Center Ministry that has been discussed. Therefore, I can hardly wait to learn more about those. During a video on Mentoring and the possibilities with Mentoring center ministry, I heard my thoughts and dreams echo back to me. It confirms that I am on the right path and confirms my calling and purpose. Passion. Purpose. Plan. That’s what I have found so far at Christian Leaders.

Register a Study Account

Register for a free study account that automatically enrolls you in the Getting Started Class at the Christian Leaders Learning Platform. The Getting Started class will take you less than an hour to complete.

When you log in to the Learning Platform, you will notice that the Getting Started Class automatically appears on your dashboard.    

The Getting Started Class will orientate you to the Christian Leaders Learning Platform and the Programs offered, including:

  1. Ministry Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas with the Christian Leaders Institute.
  2. College Degrees with the CLI’s Leadership Excellence School.
  3. Minister Credentialling (Ordination) with the Christian Leaders Alliance, including local Soul Center registration possibilities. 

Note: You can enroll in tuition-free courses or mini-courses immediately without finishing the getting started class.  

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