Pastor Sheryl Brady recently spoke with The Christian Post about how Bishop T.D. Jakes impacted her life and helped her decide to take to the pulpit and lead a congregation. Brady was commissioned by Jakes to pastor The Potter's House of North Dallas less than two years ago. The church has grown from a few hundred congregants to a few thousand.
In her debut book released in the fall, You Have It In You!: Empowered to do the Impossible, Brady shares "her journey and those of others who have felt ill-prepared for the challenges ahead of them. Yet when faced with adversary, each was able to find the strength to overcome and succeed," her publishers said.
"Believe [in God] for the impossible, the unimaginable, the unobtainable, and the incurable," writes Brady in her book. "Each time we trust him with another layer of our lives, we discover more of the buried treasure of our true identities."
CP: How did Bishop T.D. Jakes impact you?
Brady: It was really Bishop Jakes who made me become aware of the gifts that were within my life. My story is that I was a 15-year-old high school dropout and life was very hard for me because of the lack of education and of jobs and finances and all of that kind of thing. When I met him it really began to wake-up a lot of the things inside of me that I had no idea were there. So, my connection with him, for my life, it was vital because I really believe God used him as a key to help unlock some of the treasure that was inside of me.
CP: How did you meet him?
Brady: I was invited by a friend to attend his church service and as I watched him preach – you know sometimes God gives us a glimpse into our future – I could just see myself doing that. Some people say they go to school for that or a theology school. I wish I could say that I did that, but really it was like an epiphany. God just really began to tell me "you got this in you."
CP: What have you seen happening at Potter's House North since you have been pastoring there since April 2010?
Brady: It's been amazing. I've watched God bring in so many different cultures and diverse groups of people – people that are hungry and people that want to grow. I'm all about family and so we are really building a strong family church. That seems to be a real need in our area. We are seeing a lot of growth in just two years.
CP: What part of ministry do you feel closest to and what do you feel is your greatest calling?
Brady: I believe that my greatest calling is to build my family. I've never been one to sacrifice my children on the altar of the church. I've seen that done a lot of times in ministries, homes, and families. I determined a long time ago that I was going to have a family if I never had a church and that has worked for me. At the end of the day, I have a very strong family. I've been married for 35 years. I have three daughters that are all married. My daughters and their husbands all work full time in ministry. So family is very important to me and as a result I think that is one of my strength's that I bring to the Potter's House North. I love it. I guess that's my forte because I love seeing strong families. Our churches are only as strong as our families are.
CP: What are the biggest issues for women today?
Brady: There's a lot of issues today. For me, a lot of people have asked me the question, "What is it like being in a male-dominated field. Men have been at the church for years. There are struggles that women in similar situations to mine have faced. Fortunately, I can't say that I have faced a lot of struggles. I stand on the shoulders of a lot of great women that have gone on before me. They've really prepared the way for me. Having a husband that supports what I do… Having a man like T.D. Jakes to endorse my life… all of that has been a blessing in my life. But there are women who are working two jobs. Many of them are raising their families alone trying to make ends meet. Many of them went to schools for years and then only to find that the way our economy has shifted is you are doing things that you didn't really even train for. It's almost like your skills have gone to waste. Everyone is trying to just survive. Those are some of the challenges that we face. I really want to be there for women because I know somebody was there for me.
CP: What would you like readers to come away with after reading your book?
Brady: I want them to walk away from the book feeling as if they've tapped into a purpose for their life. To a certain degree we all want to know what God has called us to do because there is a certain measure of fulfillment that comes with understanding purpose. When you've really tapped into purpose our lives start making sense and we start understanding why we had to go through this or why we had to go through that. Purpose just gives us a reason to go on. What I want people to understand is that everything that they ever need is locked up inside of them and it's important that we tap into that, otherwise we start moving aimlessly and nobody has time for that. What I want them to know is that purpose is not in a man, it's not in a woman, it's not in a job. It's really inside of you and God gave it to you. We just have to discover what that is really by connecting with Him and He shows us His plan for our lives.