In this post, Bernadette (Bernie) Ooley, one of the founding staff members of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), shares about the value of fathers and mothers in a school environment. Bernie imparts powerful wisdom and insight from her experience watching BSSM grow and develop into a school that deploys revivalists all around the world. As you read this post from Bernie, we pray that you would know the fullness of your value as a spiritual father or mother in your school!
The Value of Fathers and Mothers
When we started BSSM in 1998 with a total of 36 students, I remember crying out to God, “Oh, if someday we could be 100 strong!” So glad God’s vision for the school was much larger than mine! I tell people I now live in Ephesians 3:20: “and He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we would ever dare to ask or even dream of!” (Taylor-Living Letters Version) Of course, that exceeding abundance has to do not only with quantity, but more importantly quality. As the years went by and we grew, we as a staff were experiencing a continual learning curve of reassessment, realignment, new curriculum, new policies and procedures, all to facilitate the spiritual growth of our students. I think we learned more than the students those first few years!
One feature we introduced as we gained more students was the invitation of guest speakers in our school, and often world-renowned speakers. What an incredible opportunity and experience for our students to sit under the ministry of great prophets, apostles, and teachers, sometimes from different streams. It was healthy for [our students] to hear different perspectives and gain an appreciation for the various voices in the Kingdom.
We also began asking our students to fill out end of year surveys where they could note what or who impacted them the most, be it a class or guest speaker, outreach, missions, etc. We also asked for their input on how to improve our school. We would prayerfully consider the comments and suggestions, and look for the emphasis of the Holy Spirit in their feedback.
A Surprising Discovery
One of the more surprising themes that emerged from the surveys was the desire of the students to hear more from the [BSSM] staff. As much as they loved and appreciated all the wonderful guests we brought in, it seemed the input they valued the most was that from the mothers and fathers of the house. Bill and Kris of course, but also the instructors and revival group leaders and pastors – those who weren’t necessarily famous, but were definitely family.
We realized that no one can reach and minister to them on the level of those who do life with them. Pastor Bill shares a beautiful truth from Philippians 1:7, where Paul is encouraging his friends and covenant partners, stating that they are partakers of grace along with him. Bill teaches that when people are in your heart, they become partakers of your grace. There is a very real, dynamic exchange of life and an impartation of grace between you as a leader, a mother or father in the faith, and those God has entrusted to you, be it your students or your congregation. No one can hold the place in their life that you do.
The Value of Your Influence
You may not think you carry the anointing and gifts that some do. You probably don’t. Neither do I! But that doesn’t mean you don’t carry influence. We’re all unique, and uniquely qualified to reach certain people that others cannot. Our specific experience, personality and gift mix makes us singular from any other on the planet. It was His plan for you to be alive at this time in history, and placed with this particular group of people. You carry an indigenous authority for your city and your region, and you are anointed to impart and minister to them as no other.
So as you facilitate, encourage, empower and release your students, and welcome other ministry gifts to speak into their lives, be it through a DVD, streaming or in person, know that your value is inestimable. Yours is the influence they will carry with them and that will shape them the most. The world is starving for true mothers and fathers, and no one can take your place. Thank you for your heart, and being who you are. So please, make sure you slot yourself in the schedule. They need to hear from mom and dad!
More about Bernadette (Bernie) Ooley
Bernie currently serves as one of the Bible instructors for both First and Second year, and speaks in schools, churches and conferences throughout the United States and internationally. Her passion is to facilitate dynamic encounters with God through His living Word, and exhort people to embrace freedom and their unique place of anointing in the body of Christ. Her passion is to facilitate dynamic encounters with God through His living Word, and exhort people to embrace freedom and their unique place of anointing in the body of Christ. Bernie and her husband Andy have been married for over 30 years, love the great outdoors and regularly host events which introduce people to the beauty and adventure of Northern California.
To hear more from Bernie Ooley, check out these resources: