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Stanley Horton
12.20.09

Wes Bartel
12.13.09

Jason Roy
11.29.09

Steve Donaldson
11.22.09

Norma Champion
11.15.09

Byron Klaus
10.25.09

Alton Garrison
10.18.09

Ed Stetzer
9.27.09

Aaron Boyd
9.20.09

Eric Treuil
9.13.09

Lynn Krogstad
8.30.09

Lew Shelton
8.23.09

Todd Starnes
8.16.09

Gary Smalley
8.9.09

Rick Cole and Dary Northrop
8.2.09

George O. Wood
7.26.09

Sarah Reeves
7.19.09

Mercy Me
7.12.09

Chuck Bengochea
7.5.09

Jeremy Camp
6.21.09

Kary Kingsland
6.7.09

Doug Clay
5.31.09

Owen C. Carr
5.24.09

James T. Bradford
5.17.09

Marlo Schalesky
5.10.09

Wally Nelson
4.26.09

Leeland and Jack Mooring
4.19.09

Mark Trammell
4.12.09

Chris Sligh
3.29.09

Scott Krippayne
3.29.09

David and Marie Works
3.22.09

Paul Baloche
3.15.09

Ellie Kay
3.8.09

Deborah Burke
2.22.09

Max Lucado
2.15.09

Sy Rogers
2.8.09

Duke Preston
1.25.09

Kenny Luck
1.18.09

Todd Tiahrt
1.11.09


2008 Conversations


2007 Conversations


2006 Conversations


Conversation: Deborah Burke

Experiencing God’s grace

Deborah Burke’s husband, Robert, died of a brain tumor on Nov. 30, 2006. At the time, he was serving as pastor of Inner City Church in Oklahoma City. When Deborah and her in-laws told her then 7-year-old son his dad had died, his response surprised them all. “Now who will do the work at Inner City Church?” he asked.

As Deborah stepped into the pulpit the next Sunday to tell the congregation about their pastor, she looked into the faces of the people and realized God was directing her to serve them as pastor. The church never questioned that she would continue in leadership. She received credentials in April 2007 and serves today as the pastor of Inner City Church. Deborah recently spoke with National Women’s Department Managing Editor Darla Knoth concerning her ministry.

tpe: What did you consider your strengths and weaknesses to be before your husband’s death?

BURKE: I was the “behind the scenes” person of our missions work. I considered myself the helper and did not enjoy speaking in public. In fact, in high school I chose to take an F on an assignment rather than give an oral report to a class of 20 students.

tpe: How have you grown or changed personally since becoming pastor of Inner City?

BURKE: I preach each Sunday now to an audience of more than 250. I could have stepped back and let someone else take over this work. But I felt like I had a vision separate from my husband’s vision; it wasn’t just his. My focus has changed somewhat to see the ones who are truly in need. I don’t feel I have personally changed, but I stand in awe of what God is doing here.

tpe: The church recently moved into new facilities. How has the work at Inner City changed since you have become pastor?

BURKE: Our numbers have increased since we moved. Last year at this time, we were about 120. Our KidCare afterschool program is up and running, and we have increased attendance in children’s and adult classes. Our Clothing Closet has expanded to four times the size it was in our old facility. The Oklahoma City public schools have opened their doors to us to partner with them as well. At the holidays, we gave more than 750 gifts into the community.

tpe: What has surprised you as you’ve stepped up to do this work?

BURKE: All the years in the shadows, I had questions and doubts about our work and our visions. I would ask my husband, “Since we are a missions church, how are we going to pay for the practicalities of this mission — the electric bills, the gas bills, etc.?”

Since becoming pastor, I have watched as not one vision has gone by the wayside; God has provided financing for every dream. My husband used to tell me that if God gave the vision, He would make provision for it, and I have watched that happen again and again.

tpe: What would you say to someone who feels God’s call — or sees an opportunity for ministry — even if they don’t feel equipped or qualified?

BURKE: If we wait until we feel equipped or qualified, we may never step into ministry. I still don’t feel qualified, but I know God is faithful to give me the means to complete this ministry He has called me to. Sometimes I have self-pity about my loss and I question, Why me? Why was I left behind and Robert taken? I may have questions, but I never doubt that God knew Robert would be taken, that He would be with me, and that He knows best.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

 

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