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Author Anne Lamott wrote, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Sue Edwards, assistant professor of Christian Education at Dallas Seminary, has waited and watched and worked—and the dawn has come.
An only child with a hard home life, Sue came to believe in Christ through the influence of two key women: her grandmother when she was six years old and her neighbor when she was a young mother of two daughters.
That neighbor invited Sue to a Bible study at the first Fellowship Church in Dallas. “I got connected with them and came to faith,” she says. “I learned to teach, to lead small groups, to write study guides, but most of all I learned to love the Lord, be a believer, a mom, a wife … a woman.”
Through this Sue learned the importance of community and wanted to inspire other women to learn and grow in their faith. She enrolled at Dallas Seminary in the 1980s as a student and took classes from many of the people she now calls colleagues. She read their books and studied their notes. Now’s she’s writing books, including her latest project, Mixed Ministry: Working as Brothers and Sisters in an Oversexed Society, and is providing notes for her own students.
“I am awed and privileged,” she says. “I never saw myself in this role nor did I ever pursue it. I always saw myself in the trenches. This is a door that God opened. I love challenges, so I’m delighted to be out there on the front lines.”
Aside from her writing projects Sue’s most recent challenge has been to develop a new area of study for the Doctor of Ministry program. Along with her colleague Dr. Joye Baker, adjunct professor in Christian Education, Sue is spearheading the development of the Women in Ministry concentration.
“Women need credentials and need to believe in themselves,” Sue says. “Many women today—even though they have master’s degrees and are gifted and competent—still struggle to believe they have something to give. We want to equip and inspire women. And to really be the image of God in the academic world, in the home, in the workplace, in the church, [we need] both a male and female perspective.”
The concentration will address issues such as postmodern relativism, the role of women in Christian leadership, and ministering to women in pain. And as experience has taught her, Sue emphasizes the importance of the program’s cohort structure, which allows the same group of women a prolonged and consistent period to study and grow together.
“Sue brings a remarkable combination of ministry experience, outstanding teaching ability, and significant publishing credentials to her leadership in the area of Women’s Ministry in the Christian Education department,” says Dr. John Reed, the director of Doctor of Ministry Studies and senior professor emeritus of Pastoral Ministries. “This triple combination of competence is rare in any faculty member. We are blessed to have her as a key leader at our seminary.”
Sue, who was honored by the 2006 graduating class with the Senior Class Award for Faculty Excellence, says she initially feared being such a leader. “But God says, ‘I will send you and I will do it. You just stick with me.’ So you just have to step out and do it,” she says. “But make sure you’re connected with the Savior in the way you need to be because you know this is nothing you can do on your own. We have a great community [at Dallas Seminary], and that makes all the difference.”
“Sue has become a dear friend through our years of team teaching and partnering together,” Joye Baker says. “She has a passion for understanding and communicating God’s truth and motivates others to become all that God has created them to be. Her writing and speaking inspires others to have the courage to step through news doors of opportunity in life and in ministry.”
What new doors await Sue? If the last ten years have been any indication of the next, Sue, who recently celebrated her fifty-ninth birthday, looks forward to God’s new challenges. Now a grandmother to three grandsons and one granddaughter, she seeks to leave a legacy similar to her own grandmother. She wants them to remember that she and her husband “loved each other, that we loved the Lord and gave our lives for God’s work, which is eternal, and that they would be challenged and inspired to do the same.
“These are good years,” she says. “If you do the right thing with your whole heart, the next day God just takes care of the rest. But you can’t be afraid of a challenge. I’m an average person in every way,” she says. But with faith in Christ Sue is determined to continue to wait and watch and work—and never give up.
For information about the Women in Ministry concentration of the Doctor of Ministry program, visit www.dts.edu/dmin or email Sue at email@example.com.
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.