Editor’s Note: Today Faith Gilchrist joins us here on the blog to talk about the importance of godly role models in the Christian life. She has blessed countless families at UFC by investing in their children through the youth ministry and more recently with Agape Families. It’s a joy to share a piece of her story with you today.
In Malachi 2:4-9, God praises Levi for his faithful walk with God, especially as a wise teacher and role model to others. Who has been an influential teacher and role model in your life? How did their influence shape your relationship with the Lord?
Just as God made the body of Christ unique in their own ways, I feel different people have come into my life and led me in different ways. I am so thankful for this and don’t have one specific answer, as there have been many. When I was in college, I met my lifelong friend Lanie, who showed me how to lead by example and witness to my sorority sisters right around me. While I worked at UFC, under my now sister-in-law Ashley, she taught me how to genuinely love and care for your flock as well as lead and communicate gracefully. Since then, I have been mentored weekly by Faye Miller, which has played such a big role in my spiritual, emotional, and physical health. Faye has walked with me through different life stages, job transitions, highs and pitfalls, and continuously keeps me accountable for my life rhythms and relationship with Jesus.
Faith Gilchrist is an Oregon native who moved to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon and never left! She and her husband Garrett have a 5-month-old son, Henry, and when Faith is not changing diapers and going on walks, she serves as the director for Agape Families. Her favorite pastimes are hanging out with friends, playing board games, and eating ice cream.
In what ways has God provided opportunities for you to be a role model and teacher to others? What advice would you give to other women about taking on this special role?
When I was in college, I gave myself the title of “responsibility hog.” I loved any and all opportunities to get to lead and be responsible for things. So with that I have really sought out opportunities to teach others, and God has been faithful in giving me both the gifting and desire to do that (as well as some needed doses of humility). At UFC, I was able to teach the fourth and fifth grade class for about five years, lead a middle school and high school girls Bible study, as well as a few other small opportunities around the church. Today, I am able to serve as the director for Agape Families and get to play a small part in helping mentors and leaders come alongside kids of incarceration and show them who Jesus is. Nothing is better than that!
If you are looking to get involved with leadership and teach others, my advice would be to seek that out. There are times when we need to passively wait on the Lord, but often we need to be asking and seeing where the opportunities are. I can promise you that our church will not turn away a person with a desire to serve! I would also advise you to learn and understand the holistic story of Scripture. The Bible is one complete story from start to finish, and the more you read it, the more you understand how closely tied together every account and passage is. I attended the church’s Bible Project class for several years as well as had the opportunity to teach the Bible week-by-week to the elementary kids. Through my leadership opportunities, I was asked a lot of questions, many of which I did not have an exact answer for. But I found that often being able to show them the context of the question they were asking could often help lead them in the right direction. I will never forget when a sixth grade girl asked me what circumcision meant, ha! It’s really exciting to show people, for example, the significance of the veil being torn, which is so cool when you know the context of the tabernacle!
With that in mind, the Lord never had me wait to lead until I was at a certain place in my knowledge. This would have had no end in sight. I learned both complex and simple truths in the midst of my leadership, and it was amazing to see how God really transformed my faith and understanding through these challenges and opportunities to grow. I have never been an academic learner and did not enjoy the classroom, but getting to interact with the Bible and God’s people is such an amazing way to grow and teach others.
Jesus is our ultimate role model. Describe one specific way you are actively trying to be more like Him in your life today.
The short answer to how am I trying to be more like Jesus is to open my home and serve others with relentless hospitality. One book I’m reading (and by reading I mean listening to the audiobook) is called The Gospel Comes with a House Key. It’s a very simple and tangible encouragement to use your home as a way to serve others and spread the gospel. One way that I am really looking to grow my faith is in how I am using my gifts as an extrovert and my new status as a mom to show Christ’s love. A home-cooked meal and good conversation is like milk and honey. It feeds our soul whether we see it that way or not. I love the occasional visit at a coffee shop (well, when it’s open!), but discipleship and leadership does not require us to spend money and go somewhere else. When we purchased our house in 2019, we had to fight hard (thanks seller’s market), but God blessed us with a wonderful roof over our heads and amazingly diverse neighbors. When I get to go trampolining with Agape kids or chat with their caregivers at the park, I find myself being nudged to invite them to my home. I know this is the Holy Spirit’s way to show them authentic, gospel-driven faith. So the more I can open my door, just as Jesus did, the more I can honor Him with the blessings He has given me.