Interview with Norma Borrero

On December 19, 2016, Thrive Church Network interviewed Norma Borrero, the site pastor of Life Church Rockford. The church is a Parent Affiliated Church of Life Church in Roscoe, pastored by Kevin Kringel. 

TCN: How did you come to be the site pastor for Life Church Rockford?
NB: The opportunity came to me. The Lord had prepared me in advance for this ministry position. At first, I was the interim pastor until Pastor Kevin (Kringel) found another pastor to replace the one who had just left. Eventually, he felt I was to be that pastor, so he appointed me to the position. I had to dive in to work hard because I knew I would be there longer than I thought I would.

TCN: What are your spiritual gifts?
NB: Prophetic is the first. The Lord gives me spiritual discernment. Teaching “Hearing the Voice of God” and at Life School of the Bible. Knowing the Will of God and Christian Character. I wrote a manual “Hearing the Voice of God,” which is a twelve-week discipleship curriculum. I can raise up teams. Loving them and believing in them is the key to this. Being willing to walk through life with them. They are more important than what they do. I communicate that to them. My people become “Disciples Gone Wild!” I also take risks and give them opportunity to fail. Then they know for themselves what the right thing to do is. Authentically being interested in people and wanting to know about them is the key.

TCN: What are the positives about being a female pastor?
NB: It’s hard for me to answer, because I don’t have that perspective. The reason I was accepted was because the people and leaders of Life Church already knew me. Trust was already established. Many of our people are in their 60s or 70s, and they don’t have an issue with a woman pastor. As women, we’re taught to rely on others from the beginning of our lives, so it may be easier for us to rely on God for absolutely everything.

TCN: What are the negatives?
NB: Seeing myself as a woman is a negative, where seeing myself as a minister called of God makes the difference.

TCN: Describe your relationship with Pastor Kevin Kringel.
NB: I love our staff meetings because Kevin teaches and mentors us. I enjoy learning from him. In leadership meetings and at events, my input is important to the team. I’m not just a disciple; he’s willing to receive ministry from me.

TCN: If you could give one piece of advice to other female pastors, what would it be?
NB: Focus on your call more than on yourself as being female; that’s starting off as a minus. You’re taking on the culture around you and not the culture of the Kingdom. Understand that the Word of God is for both men and women. There will be a cost to being a disciple. You’re taking down systems when you take your call seriously. You must be prepared for that. Be humble. Be right versus being righteous.

TCN: What is pastoring like for you?
NB: I’m willing to go ahead of my people, go through obstacles, teaching THEM HOW TO LIVE, reveal purpose for their lives their families, cities and nation. Equipping, preparing. I wrote a book called “The Orphan Spirit” that I teach to my people, making them sons and daughters. Hearing the Voice of God class.

TCN: What's in store for you in the future?
NB: I believe the Lord has called me to mobilize the city of Rockford. 2017 is the year of reaching out. In one year, the church has more than doubled and for the first time is financially self-sustaining. The same people who didn’t give before are giving now because they believe in the vision.

TCN: What do you like the most about your calling?
NB: Seeing people’s lives restored. Transformation. I see this every week. People who looked old are vibrant now. My people have my back. I love them, and they love me. This is the wonderful part of ministry.

TCN: Where else have you ministered?
NB: Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, New York California, Oregon, Michigan, Colorado, Indiana. When in NY, I taught for how Glory to Glory International Ministries began for 45 minutes to 7 different pastors. Each of them invited me to their churches. That’s how everything started.

Interview with Laury Hunter

Thrive Church Network recently sat down with church planter and presbyter-at-large Laury Hunter to talk about what it's like to be a woman in leadership. Rev. Hunter is the pastor of The Journey Church in New Lenox. 8/4/16

First of all, Laury, how are you feeling these days?

I feel stronger right now than I have in the last three years. Stronger and more energetic. Still under intense observation until I have passed the five-year mark (for my cancer). The love and support of this District brought me great strength and encouragement. 

Tell us a little about Journey Church.

We planted Journey Church five years ago; we launched in February 2011. Doug and I have been together in ministry for 39 years. Throughout those years the Lord began to call me into the preaching ministry. I filled in for our pastor, did Wednesday nights, Sunday nights. I traveled extensively as a WM District Director around the world. But Doug and I were going in two different directions. We decided we should blend our ministries together.

We candidated at different churches. The church leaders would either want Doug to be worship pastor and not me, or me to be the pastor and not want Doug. The Assemblies of God leadership recommended that we plant a church, so we did. The process took 3 years. 

We came to Chicago with nothing. We had no base from which to plant. I had deep insecurities about being a woman pastor. But God spoke to me and asked. “At the end of your life, when you stand before me, will you have lived to please man, or Me?” That was the turning point for me.

I knew the Chicagoland area was ripe for church planting, and God opened the doors of opportunity in New Lenox, so I jumped off the high dive hoping there was water in the pool.

How is the church plant doing today?

Healthy, strong. So many stories of life transformation! At our picnic over July 3rd, a lady came up to me with tears in her eyes. She told me, 'When I came to the church two and a half years ago, I wanted to die. My daughter was in prison for drug possession, and my granddaughter was in an unhealthy environment with her father. We came to church for Angel Tree (a ministry that provides gifts to the children of inmates). We came to your party that Sunday and you showered us with gifts. My granddaughter wanted to come every single week after that. My daughter got out of prison a year and a half ago, and now all three of us come to Journey. I love my life now!'"

Tell us a little bit about what it’s like to be a female pastor.

I think I fight my own insecurities more than what others put on me. There are probably thirty families that have rejected Journey Church because a woman is preaching on Sundays. Rejection is a huge issue for women preachers.

I want to be perceived as a leader but also feminine. It’s difficult to speak with authority and walk in the tenderness and fabric of a female. My husband Doug is my greatest cheerleader, pushing me forward in my gifts. He empowers me in every possible way. But it’s still challenging.
The enemy knows this, so it’s a constant internal battle for me. 

In 1995 I had a miraculous healing. A Book of Acts type. As a result, I was invited to be interviewed on the set of The 700 Club. They encouraged me to write a book. It would travel farther than I could. It took me two and a half years to write. I titled it, “I Stand in Awe.” 

Later The 700 Club came back and reenacted and taped my healing. The marvelous part of my testimony is that I was healed while people sang and praised God during a worship service. From a weak wheelchair state, I went running and leaping and praising God. That was probably what catapulted me into my speaking ministry all across the country.

What does the future look like for you, as a woman in leadership? What’s God speaking?

My life adventure is different than I dreamed it would be. Never in a million years did I think God would allow me to face such a devastating cancer diagnosis after obediently planting a church as a woman. I used to have grand visions of the future. Now I plan for the future, but invest in the day. I’m not where I want to be or doing everything I want to do, but now the day is more important to me than distant future vision. I’m not guaranteed three years medically, so it has changed my perspective, and my investment in the present is much greater. I still have plans and goals. But I invest in today.

About Laury: "I was raised in an amazing Christian home, the oldest of four. I believe I had a dream childhood. My entire childhood was filled with IL District AG activities, from kids’ camps, youth camps, family camps, revivals, Teen Talent, Bible Quiz, Youth Rallies, (CA, Christ Ambassador's rallies in the old days.) In fact, in 1971, I was CA of the Year for the Assemblies of God. I witnessed my parents’ love for Christ and the fire that burned within them. That fire caught in me. I cannot remember a time in my life when Jesus has not been my best friend. At age 16 I felt God call me into ministry at youth camp. From that day forward I have followed His call. After high school, I attended Evangel University, where I met Doug. We married and entered into ministry in 1977. We have two adult children and five grandchildren."