Written by Nichelle Early, Executive Editor
Think back to the last time you got the invitation to minister to God's people. What emotions did you experience? Perhaps you felt unworthy. Maybe you even felt unprepared. Did your emotions get the best of you? Well, you are not alone. You would be amazed to learn that a vast number of others experience these same sentiments. But, help is here! We were blessed with the exceptional opportunity to speak one on one with one of God's choicest vessels, Co-Pastor Dr. Doris L. P. Griffin. She graciously accepted our invitation to be featured on our site to inspire you to get beyond the emotions to "Be Prepared and Encouraged!"
Infectiously anointed with the gifts of encouragement and empowerment, Pastor Doris overwhelmingly exudes an appealing kindness and grace that is exemplary of a true relationship with God. With a demeanor of poise and congeniality, she charms the hearts of all who encounter her presence and ministry. Possessing a strong passion to see the manifested purpose and plan of God fulfilled in the earth, Pastor Doris is on a mission to encourage, educate, and edify the Body of Christ. She has a specific intention to challenge women to live lives of holiness and righteousness.
Hailing from Montclair, NJ, Pastor Doris spent her formative years in both Seattle, Washington and Baltimore, Maryland. She accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior in 1975 while attending New Shiloh Baptist Church, led by Rev. Dr. Harold A. Carter, Sr. After prayerful contemplation, many years later, she became ordained as a deacon, in which she wholeheartedly embraced the responsibilities of visiting the sick, calling the church members that had not been consistent with attendance, serving communion, and more. Later, after accepting the call to become an ordained Elder, Pastor Doris now serves alongside her husband, Pastor Meredith L. Griffin, Senior Pastor and Founder of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Wilmington, Delaware. PreachingWoman.com asked Pastor Doris what difference she realized as she transitioned from being a deacon to the preaching ministry. Here is what she reverentially offered.
"Preaching requires a reverence towards the Lord because there is a higher level of accountability on every word shared. It is necessary to have that reverence because you are standing before and speaking directly into the lives of God's people. Without diligence, proper preparation and submission to the voice of the Holy Spirit, what you say can destroy someone," said Pastor Doris.
In recognition of that statement, Pastor Doris told of a time when she was so nervous about the weight of the responsibility of ministering to God's people that she had a severe emotional outburst, which in fact was a reflection of fear because she was directed to preach God's word on a Sunday morning. If we could all tell the truth for just a moment, there are many women in ministry who can identify with that disposition; the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy, unpreparedness, or even unworthiness of the call to minister. Therefore, we asked Pastor Doris to share with us a few practical principles for women to better manage these emotions in ministry while being encouraged and prepared and here is what she sympathetically advised:
"Ministry not only takes diligence and preparation, but it requires submitting to the call of God with humility and dignity. So, three principles I would share are:
1. Get alone: "Get by yourself and let it all hang out! Or, alone with someone who truly has a covenant commitment to you and your ministry. It's important to let it all [emotions and feelings] out and not hold it in," Pastor Doris recommended.
2. Give thanks: "Go into a mode of thanksgiving! Remember, it's a privilege to preach the Gospel. God could have chosen any of His other daughters for this ministry moment, but he called your name," she encouraged.
3. Go into Prayer: "After you've got it all out, and have remembered the privilege and why you were called, now you must go into prayer! Pray, request wisdom and direction as to how to minister to God's people; God will tell you what to say," Pastor Doris affirmed.
As methods of preparation seem to always be of interest to many women in ministry, we also asked Pastor Doris to share with us a few ways in she personally prepares to minister to God's people, once the emotional hump is conquered, and she provided these helpful hints.
"A few things I personally do to prepare to minister to others are:
I set aside time well in advance to 'plug in' to the Lord to hear from Him. I often do this through fasting, prayer, quiet time before the Lord, and meditation in the Scriptures, said Co-Pastor Doris.
I seek God diligently as to what He would have me to teach/preach.
I also review specific techniques evident in [the art of] preaching (i.e. teaching videos, etc.).
And, I submit!" said Pastor Doris.
PreachingWoman.com asked Pastor Doris to elaborate on the latter tip of submission by providing us with three keys to success and here's what she eagerly offered,
"Three keys to success regarding submission are:
"Submitting to God, said Pastor Doris, allows us to take our rightful place in all that we do. It makes it easier to submit to our husbands, and those who have rule over us. By being submissive, we encourage men to [observe] their rightful place as head over the wife…We are willing to observe and follow the examples of many of the strong, submissive women in the Bible, such as Deborah…Ruth, and Dorcas," said Pastor Doris candidly. She also noted that most women in ministry don't spend too much time exhorting, challenging one another to go to greater depths in operating in this discipline because it is unpopular when we think about wanting to be well known preachers and teachers with renowned ministries.
One of Pastor Doris' greatest passions is education. She strongly believes in people getting all of the education one could ask for as demonstrated in her own life. She attended Hampton University wherein she received a Bachelors degree in Psychology. In addition, she received her Masters of Education from Coppin State University; and finally, she received a Doctorate in Education from Wilmington University with her dissertation focused on Christian School Education. God also favored Pastor Doris to complete two certification programs in the areas of Non-profit Management and Faith-Based Community Development through the University of Delaware. We asked Pastor Doris why she had such a passion for education and she offered this response.
"Natural doors are opened through preparedness. Often times, non-believers look for natural [secular] credentials in order to receive what you have to say. Therefore, God has equipped some to get higher levels of education because it opens the door to circles we may not ordinarily gain access to. And, that's what I love about going in with natural credentials as God's 'secret agent' to carry out the great commission. What gives me more pleasure is that God blessed me to help others through doors that may have ordinarily stood closed all because He entrusted me to steward His gift to me in the form of education. To whom much is given much is required," said Pastor Doris enthusiastically.
Pastor Doris has extensive experience in non-profit management and program development. Her experiences have allowed her to develop skills in grant writing, team building, program expansion, and organizational re-branding. Some of her former positions include Adolescent Services Director with the YWCA of New Castle County, DE; Center Director for the Delaware Adolescent Program, Inc.; Staff Trainer for Northwestern Human Services - Philadelphia; Executive Director of Expanded Branches Community Development Corporation and adjunct faculty at Wesley College- Adult Studies.
However, in 1996, Pastor Doris made a decision to 'dare to do something different.' She began working as an independent jewelry consultant with Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry, a member of the Direct Selling Association based in Delaware. This opportunity has enabled her to collaborate with numerous people to see affordable fashion jewelry, equip others to join the journey to towards financial freedom, and personally pursue additional interests. PreachingWoman.com asked Pastor Doris what she enjoys most about this venture and she excitedly suggested this response.
"I use selling jewelry as an opportunity to share Jesus! Often, people ask me what I do and I say, 'I serve Jesus and I sell jewelry.' My goal and the goal of this business is to motivate, inspire and change lives. This business founded by Dr. Traci Lynn, is a vehicle from God that was to given to me to encourage others that they too have options," said Pastor Doris wholeheartedly.
Pastor Doris and Pastor Meredith L. Griffin, Jr., whom she cherishes most, have been married since 1991. During a brief moment of reflection, Pastor Doris allowed us to see a very personal side of herself as she expressed her love and impression of her husband of whom she says, "I am so grateful that he asked me to marry him." Together they have two loving children, Rolanda Natalie, 13 and Meredith Lee, III, 10.
In closing, we asked Pastor Doris what was most important for people to know about her. She kindly said, "I am here to encourage the saints and those who sit under the sound of my voice. I want people to know that I am a safe place for them to receive Godly counsel. And, most of all I like to see people 'be prepared and encouraged to do all that God has called them to do!"