Do you ever wonder how someone gets called? It often happens when someone else nudges them. Jane Hincks, Dakotas Conference co-lay leader and member at Bismarck Legacy UMC, was asked by Rev. Kermit Culver, Northwest district superintendent, to lead a prayer group and then to be the Dakotas Conference co-lay leader.
A few years ago Bismarck Legacy was in the middle of a campaign to build a new church. Lots of money and prayer was needed. Culver, who was the pastor at Bismarck Legacy UMC, knew he could not do it alone, so he looked around and asked for help.
“As part of the church building campaign, one of the components was to have a prayer team,” said Hincks. “We didn’t have a formal prayer team. Kermit knew of many faithful prayer people to get the team started, and he asked me to lead it.”
Kermit’s request for leadership surprised Jane. She is always helping out at the church in various ways, but she had never been asked to lead. Prayer had always been a private, individual thing for her.
Jane describes her surprise. “I have no idea what he thought when he asked me. I said I hardly ever pray out loud. I pray silently in my head most of the time, and you want me to lead a team of avid praying folks! I told him, there have got to be much more qualified people to do this than me.”
The opportunity allowed Hincks to grow in her faith in ways she had never imagined. The Holy Spirit moved in her life and pushed Jane outside of her comfort zone. Hincks learned that she had to lean on God to bless her, to strengthen her understandings and abilities.
“This opportunity led to the greatest spiritual growth in my life. I discovered when the Holy Spirit calls it is typically to something outside of one’s comfort zone and natural abilities which requires one to step out in faith and trust God,” said Hincks. “God’s reach and blessing are so good and gracious!”
Eight years later, there are more than 100 people involved in the prayer teams at Bismarck Legacy lifting up thousands of prayers. All because someone reached out, Kermit Culver, to one person to lead. That person, Jane Hincks, answered the call.
The story does not end there. In 2016, the Dakotas Conference was in need of a district lay leader. Again, Kermit approached Hincks about stepping into this leadership role.
“Kermit approached me about becoming a lay leader,” said Jane. “He told me that Rev. Keith Nelson, district superintendent, would be in touch with more details. The next thing you know I was elected at the annual conference, which I didn’t attend. I did not know there was such a thing as the annual conference. So I got off to a bit of a rocky start, but God knew what He was doing even though I was clueless.”
Culver was appointed as district superintendent for the Northwest District of the Dakotas Coference. Hincks began to become more aware and involved in various district and conference efforts. She stated, “I was asked to take part in some committees like interviewing candidates who were becoming local licensed pastors (LLP). What an opportunity to hear the stories of future pastors! I attended a laity training session in Pierre where I met the wonderful co-lay leaders from across the Dakotas Conference. I experienced people who extended radical hospitality with a great passion for making disciples of Jesus Christ!”
The district and conference involvement lit a spark in Jane’s soul, and it keeps getting brighter. Her beginning was serving as district co-lay leader. Today she serves as the Dakotas Conference Co-lay Leader.
“I was asked, after much prayer and discernment, to be the conference co-lay leader. At 2017 annual conference, I was voted in,” said Hincks. “I am learning much more about what goes on in our conference. I share this information and encourage others to get involved in various aspects. My favorite part is the amazing people I meet with to plan, discuss and share in kingdom work with.”
She continues to learn more and has started to share with others what she is learning and experiencing. Hincks recently facilitated a Laity Discernment retreat and a Breakthrough Prayer training.
Hincks explains her leadership journey this way, “So many opportunities are now available— attending annual, charge and leadership conferences. I have met so many new people and listened to their inspiring testimonies of how God is working in their lives, churches and communities.”
The journey to answer her call has been supported by many. Kermit continues to nudge, support and encourage her. Deb Kjerstad, Dakotas Conference director of leadership development, has been a tremendous source of knowledge and support. The same goes for Myrna Hill, Dakotas Conference co-lay leader and member of Sturgis UMC.
“I am so grateful for the patience and kindness everyone has shown me. I ask a lot of questions and have fumbled to step into my new role. The people at the conference office are super helpful and delightful to get to know and work with,” said Hincks.
Prayer empowers her. Jane said, “I am constantly praying to seek God’s guidance. His guidance seemed to align with what I was asked to consider and a huge leap of faith on my part as I felt super unqualified.” She is quick to mention that the prayer team at Bismarck Legacy is continually lifting her up in prayer.
There is still more to do. Hincks shares a vision spawning from the Breakthrough Prayer initiative. She hopes to start a prayer walk across denominations throughout Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln communities this summer. “We want to join together to pray for God to breakthrough with new possibilities in our communities,” she said.
It all began with one nudge, one person asking another to lead. God's call grew for Jane Hincks with more nudges, support, and encouragement.
“Kermit encouraged me, so I gave it a try,” said Hincks. “With a willing spirit, God can do His will on earth. I am so grateful for Kermit’s gifting from the Holy Spirit to help others step into their calling.”
What is your called story? Is it time for you or someone around you to live out a call to serve God's kingdom? Join in the 2018 Miracle Offering – Called: One Word, Many Ways. Our goal is to lift up 1,000 names from our churches and communities and raise $100,000 to support churches, groups and organizations in creating opportunities to inspire and equip individuals to hear and respond to God’s calling!
Find resources for the 2018 Miracle Offering – Called: One Word, Many Ways here