Pastor Spotlight Martha Fisher, CBC Women s Pastor

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1 Pastor Spotlight Martha Fisher, CBC Women s Pastor Inspiration Martha Fisher, Women s Pastor at Community Bible Church, leads with a passion to reach, teach and help the women of our community for Jesus. Martha loves teaching women about the Bible and has a core desire to help encourage and support single moms. Martha is a wife, a mother, a teacher, a speaker, a writer and author. Since 2001, Martha and her team have created a ministry that is active and empowers women to grow in the Lord. Make a list and check it twice! Martha was raised in the Church of Christ and remembers feeling like there were a lot of rules to follow, but even as a young girl she loved the orderliness and discipline of her family s church. According to her, I have always been very black and white, so the legality of the faith felt very comfortable to me. I am very organized, precise, and methodical sometimes I think I like making lists just because I get so much satisfaction from checking things off of it! While Martha remembers attending church whenever the doors were open and knowing a lot about the Bible, she realized as a young adult that something was missing. A child of her own At age 18, Martha married her high school sweetheart and soon after gave birth to a baby boy. Martha s parents made it clear that they were very disappointed about the pregnancy and told her she had let them down. There were other factors that made the relationship between Martha and her parents strained and difficult, but eventually they gave her their full support. Martha and her husband were allowed to graduate from high school and foregoing her college dreams, Martha worked, cared for their son, and supported her husband as he attended Pharmacy school at the University of Texas in Austin. Although the circumstances were not ideal, Martha says that she can t imagine life without her son, and in so many ways she feels like they grew up together.

2 Turning point Martha s marriage became increasingly difficult and emotionally exhausting with time. She and her husband came from very different backgrounds, and this had a profoundly negative effect on their relationship. The relationship became so tough that Martha s health suffered. While she was working as a secretary for the city, a co-worker invited her to Grace Covenant Bible Church. Worried what her family might think about her attending a church other than the Church of Christ, she took a friend with her and kept it to herself. The preacher talked about being saved by grace and Martha remembers this was the turning point of her life, I felt like those words (saved by grace) came out of his mouth and into my heart. I never looked back and it changed my life. A difficult road to walk Determined to save her marriage, Martha spent years in prayer and Bible study. After 18 years of constant struggle, she ultimately began realizing the negative impact it was having on her children. After extending what some call tough love and a year of marriage counseling, the marriage ended in divorce. Martha was brokenhearted and now a single mom of two kids. Once her husband remarried, she and the children moved to San Antonio, where she supported the family with a commission sales job and by teaching aerobics classes in the evenings. Feeling demoralized and broken down, she struggled for three and a half years on her own. Her sister and brother-in-law were her safety net and helped to keep her centered. Martha describes this dark period of her life, Being a single mom weighs heavily. You feel responsible for the kids and you feel all alone, making decisions alone is strange and frustrating. I worked two jobs and didn t get to spend much time with my children. I had to support them financially but couldn t always be there with them at home. Being a single mom is a no win situation. A heart change In 1991, Martha remarried a wonderful man named Neil who had also been through a divorce and had a daughter. They have 3 grown children and four beautiful grandchildren. Since her salvation at the Bible church years before, being involved in small groups and Bible studies had become a central part of her life. She held women s Bible studies at her home in every neighborhood she lived in. But being in a leadership role in

3 ministry was not something she felt she could ever do, not only because her church background dictated that women should not be in leadership roles, but also because she felt disqualified because of the divorce. When I divorced I felt like God couldn t really use me. I felt like damaged goods. When I was asked to organize a women s retreat at CBC I said no at first, but felt God moving me so I returned to say yes. Still feeling very unsure, the moment I got up to speak at that first retreat I felt overcome by love for these women. I felt like an Elijah mantle was laid on my heart by Him because no man could have done that. Empowered Finally, Martha was able to share her story and she could relate to women who had experienced similar difficulties. She saw other women who were also survivors; so many had endured and come out of unbelievable hardships in their lives. The realization that she was not alone in her life experiences was profoundly liberating. Martha made the decision to accept the invitation to come on staff and went to work full time in women s ministry at CBC in 2008, after volunteering for several years organizing women s retreats and Bible studies. Martha is very grateful for the opportunities she has been given and loves what she does. When asked what she likes best about ministry, Martha will tell you it is teaching God s Word. I love it when I am teaching God s word and I see the light bulbs go on in people s heads and they really get it that energy carries me for months. Martha also loves to write and she has her own blog, The Women s Ministry Department actively engages women in to groups such as Pursuit, MOPS, women s retreats and special events. They also assist single moms with many physical needs (furniture, clothing, food, etc.), I love watching the body of Christ come together on behalf of someone else; it s miraculous.

4 Hope Not only does Martha love her job at CBC, she laughingly says that she has the best job in the church. Her spirit and faith that God would bring her through the difficult circumstances of her life is what gave her the strength to persevere. If in the end we go through this life and Jesus is glorified, every bump in the road, every heartache will be worth it. In those times of my life when things felt impossible, I knew that if just held on that He would point us where we were supposed to go. I really felt that, deep down like a nugget that God placed in my heart that always gave me hope. Online Ministry It started with a question the summer of 2011 would Bible study work using an online format called Media Social? Starting with permission to use only one study, six women leaders piloted what we now refer to as Online Groups. Martha quickly saw the value of this format. I saw the implication of being able to encourage and teach people from all over the world without having to leave family or this country to do so. Soon permission was gained to use many different video driven studies from different publishers and the quest to recruit leaders for those studies began. By January of 2012, Martha began expanding CBC s online presence with Bible studies for men, women and Spanish using three different channels and an interface with Facebook. The vision is to have an online presence 24/7, so that no matter what time zone you live in, there is a study and discussion being offered in Online Groups. Technology has offered us a great ministry tool and we simply must take advantage of that tool to build up the Body of Christ. To date, Online Groups has expanded to include Facebook Community Groups, such as Weigh to Victory, CBC Prayer and Fasting Facebook Group, CBC Cancer Care Community, and groups using on-demand media such as Right Now Media. Without a doubt, CBC and our online leaders are pioneers in this ministry and Martha finds that to be very exciting!

5 Martha Fisher Personality Style: good person (1) Spiritual Gifts: exhortation/teaching, prophecy Love Language: acts of service, quality time Hobbies: spending time with grandkids, reading, hiking/camping

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