Apostle Barbara Yoder speaks internationally to thousands, runs the Breakthrough Apostolic Ministries Network and pastors the Shekinah Regional Apostolic Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Yoder says she always felt called to full-time ministry and eventually to the pastorate, but she never wanted the call. After starting her career in academia, she assisted a small church in Ann Arbor—only to inherit the pastorate after the pastor quit. God spoke to her husband and another woman, who urged Yoder not to dissolve the young church, so she got the job of leading the congregation.
Those early years, full of trial and error, taught Yoder many valuable lessons about leadership. One of the first was that God often shapes believers' pasts to prepare them for their future.
"I taught in the medical school—in one of the grad programs in nursing—and I had to teach doctors and high-level nursing professionals, and particularly the doctors could be intimidating," Yoder says. "Having to regularly teach and input at that level built a strength in me in dealing with people, which I would eventually [use] on the platform God gave me. So look at your past and realize that all of your past experiences contribute to both your present and your future—in experience, in anointing, in relationship, in faith. It's sort of like building a history, like the Israelites did—a history with God that enables you to overcome literally everything and take what God has given you."
Yoder would also advise young leaders to seek God and not let others interfere.
"You first have to know what God's called you to," she says. "I don't think that can come out of you prophesying to me or [anyone else] prophesying to me. I believe I have to know in my heart in an unwavering, sure kind of way. What I've found is when I know God has said something, I can do anything, even things that are uncomfortable, to fulfill what God's said to me in the place where He's positioning me. That's both personal and corporate in that the personal knowing enables me to move into venues I maybe wouldn't have moved into by choice."
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