Written by Nichelle Early, Executive Editor
How does the notion of "guaranteed benefits sound to you? Does it sound too good to be true? Or, can you get used to the idea that it could actually be a reality? Well, listen up, because "guaranteed benefits" are indeed a kingdom reality for those in the Body of Christ. And you know what, you are entitled to them! So, the question is, "Are you 'living in full entitlement?'"
PreachingWoman.com's founder, Nichelle Early, garnered the exceptional opportunity to speak one-on-one with one of the kingdom's most significant apostolic voices, Apostle Dr. Monique Flemings. She cordially accepted our invitation to be featured on our site and share with us her personal journey to "living in full entitlement!"
Eminently recognized as a powerful woman of God baring a keen level of wisdom and grace, Dr. Monique Flemings (Dr. Monique) is the Founder and Senior Pastor of God's Place, The Christian Center (GPCC) in Chicago, Illinois. Since 2000, God has been using Dr. Monique and GPCC to explicitly impact and transform lives through practical biblical teaching and faith development. Covered by the A.I.M. Fellowship under the direction and mentorship of Drs. I.V. & Bridget Hilliard of New Light Christian Center, Houston Texas, Dr. Monique ministers the word of God both nationally and internationally and currently provides spiritual covering for two ministries, one in Baltimore Maryland and the other in Ghana West Africa. Her insight and wisdom is a blessing to the body of believers and her compassion for the lost burns within her as she conquers more territory for the Kingdom of God.
Emanating a vivacious personality fused with witty humor, God has given Dr. Monique a unique anointing to draw those who are in need of healing and restoration, especially those in church leadership. One of her greatest passions is to see leaders in the Body of Christ, particularly women, live, love and enjoy their lives to the fullest. In addition, God has given Dr. Monique zeal to mentor young ladies challenging them to embrace sisterhood, self respect, love for themselves, and personal enrichment and development. On account these passions deep within her heart, Dr. Monique has developed a lifestyle of interceding, covering, and restoring leaders and young ladies from all walks of life so that they may live and experience the full benefits of the Kingdom of God.
Nichelle Early (NE) asked Dr. Monique (Dr. M): When did you first recognize that God had given you the unique responsibility of interceding, covering, and restoring leaders?
Dr. M: I first recognized this gift or calling while I was young in ministry serving as a minister at another church. At the time, I was struggling with my own personal call to leadership, because unlike many, I did not really want to pursue ministry. I had my life planned out and I was going to college, so in my mind I had different plans. But, God had a better plan, because I realized that I had an affinity toward leadership. I had this burden to intercede for leaders, and I just couldn't shake it…So, I sat down with my pastor and told him how I was feeling and he had the wisdom and insight to tell me that he believed God was calling me to cover leaders. Now, I didn't know what that meant, because I had never, until that point, heard the word "cover." So, I began to pray, and I bought books and different resources on leadership and intercession, and God began to teach me, while I was in the role of a servant, how to pray for, intercede, and cover the men and women of God. And, that burden hasn't left me until this day…"
NE: Wow! That's powerful, because people, especially leaders, certainly need some to stand in the gap.
Dr. M: That's right…
NE: In counseling with those called to service in the ministry, particularly women, what do you believe is one of the most significant burdens or challenges leaders face and what encouragement do you offer them?
Dr. M: Well, regarding women, I've found that accountability and mentorship seems to present major challenges for some women in ministry. Many leaders don't want to be accountable to anyone. Being accountable has become a thing of the past for some, but this is where growth and development actually takes place. It amazes me that we can be accountable to our mangers on our jobs, as we should, but when it comes to ministry, we want to think about it and pray about it. I do know that there have been some abuses in the Body of Christ in this area, but accountability is still God's order. Also, mentorship plays a big part, because there is somebody out there that is doing what you are called to do in some way or another, that's why, [for example], we have books, because books document principles that have already been done…
NE: How true!
Dr. M: Yes…I've seen people and leaders struggle with mentorship, because they confuse mentorship with friendship. Your mentor is not your friend. Your mentor is there to provide guidance, insight, correction, direction, and examples. Sometimes women mix mentorship with friendship, and mixing the boundaries cause a dilution of the level of respect that is required for the mentee to receive from the mentor. A good mentee understands boundaries and keeps a level of respect for their mentor. So when women mix the boundaries it bothers me, because my heart is so dedicated to leaders reaching their God given potential…So, my recommendation to women would be to find a place where you can serve first , then be accountable and mentored, and be faithful to that assignment until you are released.
NE: Dr. Monique, why do you believe people make the choice to walk away from accountability and leadership?
Dr. M: Sometimes, I believe people, especially leaders, walk away due to offenses. They get offended with correction or instruction, and they allow that offense into their heart. Of course, we know that it's a trick of the enemy, but I also believe that the Body of Christ is becoming too common with those in authority, and because of this, people may feel they don't have to submit or be accountable and they lose respect. Once they lose respect, then they begin to question and find fault with everything and soon the enemy has won by removing them from their place of covenant …to see people walk away from accountability really gets me. There is such power in being connected, submitted and in fellowship. God never designed us to be alone that's why he refers to us as a BODY…the body must stay connected in order to function in its highest capacity.
NE: I understand…it certainly is hurtful, especially when we won't take out the time to mentor each other…
NE: Well, let me ask you this, because you are a powerful woman of God with a great apostolic call and anointing upon your life. When did you recognize the apostolic mantle on your life, and what did you do to prepare for the responsibility of such call?
Dr. M: Even when I was serving, before accepting my call to ministry, I realize [in hind-sight] that God was preparing me for the apostolic. After two years into the start of the church, I found myself facing a very challenging time in ministry. And, during that time, I got invited to go to Africa on a mission trip. I know that trip was a God ordained time in my life. During that trip the Father really dealt with me and my "pity party" attitude. And there he spoke to me and said, "How dare you complain about what is going on in Chicago when I have called you to nations." That moment changed my life. When I returned, I continued to pray. Two years later, Apostle Charlene Crossley confirmed the call of an apostle upon my life. And so, what I learned is that you must allow yourself to be elevated to the call and office that God has upon your life. When you do that, you allow people to be able to receive from that level of anointing; for me, it was the apostolic anointing.
NE: Wow…now that changed my life…that is good. I can truly understand that…Wow! I could put the pen down, and the interview can be over right now! (LOL!)...That was awesome, I receive that for myself!
Dr. M: Amen! (Laughing joyfully!)
NE: Well, let's talk about your church. You are the Founder and Sr. Pastor of God's Place, The Christian Center.
Dr. M: Correct!
NE: What are three (3) nuggets of encouragement that you would offer to another woman who believes she's called to start a church in this hour?
Dr. M: Well, assuming a female pastor is properly covered, operating in accountability and she has a mentor, I would probably tell her:
- Learn to get some rest. Getting your rest is very important. Don't let the [call to start a] church consume your life to the point that you don't get your rest. Have a life outside of church. Your physical body needs rest to function in any anointing.
- Learn how to laugh through the tears. Always see the glass as half full, and not half empty.
- And, remember, God is in control. The people are His people, always love them no matter what and remember the ministry is HIS ministry.
NE: Dr. Monique, that's some great advice, because rest is so important; and there are certainly going to be some trying times in ministry; and truly God is in control. But, most definitely, the people belong to God!
Dr. M: That's right, because people are going to come and go, but the one thing I say to my staff and our ministry is that if people choose to go, they can't say they left because they were not loved, because we love the people no matter what…and it's ok for some to leave, it all a part of the growth cycle. I always remember what my Bishop [Dr. I.V. Hilliard] says in tough times, "what really matters hasn't changed". The promises of God are still in full effect, so I put a smile on my face and decide to keep moving forward!
NE: Amen! Now, let's talk about your book, Building Your Faith? What inspired you to write it?
Dr. M: First of all, I believe faith is the most important disciplines that you can learn after salvation. Everything we do in the Kingdom of God operates by faith…So, I wrote a very simple manual on faith, because I wanted to put together a clear and simple manual that I could leave with the churches I ministered to while on my missions trips in order to teach them about building their faith. So, we would make 200 or so copies of the manual each time we went. However, other people started asking or the manual and it proved to be a blessing to believers at all levels of their faith walk…and later, I expanded it into a book. The key was to make it so simple that anyone would read it. So, we made it small, less than 100 pages, and we tried it out on family and it worked. Now, I am revising it and will be getting it out first quarter this year after republishing.
NE: Awesome!...Let's switch gears…For many years you've been very active in your community in various capacities such as, chaplain, health consultant, youth mentor, to name a few. What encouragement do you offer to the body of Christ regarding getting involved in their community?
Dr. M: The church [at large] has to begin to think outside of its four walls. When I grew up, the church was the community. You went to the church for everything. Now days, it's quite different. So we must get back out into the community and touch the people. We must do the various things necessary to touch the people in order to invite them to the church. Getting out into the community is where we find the hurting, the lost and the un-churched. That is the harvest! The community needs to feel the love of Jesus through us, not just hear us talk about what they need to do, but actually experience HIS presence when they are in our presence…You may not be able to do everything, but find what you can do and do it well.
NE: I agree! …[Now, I've attempted to provide our viewers with an intimate portrait of every area of your life to lead up to this one big question:] As the CEO of Dr. Monique Flemings Ministries, which focuses on empowering women for L.I.F.E. ---Living in Full Entitlement ---based upon John 10:10, what are three (3) principles of "Living In Full Entitlement?"
Dr. M: Well, I believe that:
- Loving yourself as God Loves You--is the first principle of "Living in Full Entitlement." That means getting your proper rest, exercising, having a proper diet, and being in wholesome relationships…because when you love yourself, you can better understand how God loves you.
- Expanding your mentality --Opening your mind to dreams and goals based upon the promises of God is so necessary. I teach women all the time to create dream books…put scriptures with the pictures you place in your dream book…It's hurtful to see women, especially older women, who have lost hope and will not allow themselves to dream and see themselves accomplishing their goals. It's never too late!
- Expecting the overflow-Expect God to do what He says. Everything is not a miracle. Some things are the overflow off your faith!
NE: Those are great principles to live by for sure!
Dr. Monique holds a Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy, Masters of Art in Bible Studies, and Doctorate of Ministry. She has practiced as a Physical Therapist for over 20 years and is a licensed Realtor and Loan Originator.
On February 14, 2010, Dr. Monique will celebrate her 1st anniversary with the man whom her soul loves, Sir Andrew Flemings. Together they serve in ministry and he travels with her as a covering and amour bearer.
NE: [Personal Question] You have noted that God blessed you with your husband, Sir Andrew Flemings, after many years of ministry as a single woman. What encouragement do you offer to women that are single in ministry but desire a husband?
Dr. M: First of all, I would tell women, don't give up! Don't listen to negative people. Always surround yourself with good Godly Christian couples. Don't believe the lies of the devil…And, be very careful who you have in your inner circle…you don't have to compromise. When I was single, I had a list before the Lord of things I believed God had promised me concerning my mate, and God gave me everything on my list. So hold on, and by all means, don't let your age discourage you. Make a list [inspired by God] and stick to it!
NE: Amen to that! All the single ladies…did you hear that?
NE: But, seriously…Dr. Monique, what do you believe God is saying in this hour?
Dr. M: I believe that God want us to get back to the basics of prayer, teaching fundamentals of faith, preaching biblically based messages, and sound bible studies. I believe we are in our finest hour as the church, but discipline and a reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit is needed. In addition, I believe that it's very important that we get back to teaching our children the Word of God. This generation is very open to the power of God and they are ready for the authenticity of God, not the religion of man. In closing, I believe that 2010 is The Year of Victory!
NE: Dr. Monique, thank you so much for accepting this interview with PreachingWoman.com. As a final question, what is it that you would want the world to know about Dr. Monique?
Dr. M: I would want the world to know that I am extremely honored and in awe that God would use me to help His people in the Kingdom, to impact and change lives. For me, to have the ability to impact at least one person's life is just humbling… My journey did not start off in pursuit of ministry, but I desired a real relationship with Father God. I needed help for me, and I fell in love with God…
And that is the glory of "living in full entitlement!"