5 minutes with Bev ...
Tell us a little about yourself
I have been a pastor for more than 35 years and with my husband Rick, co-led a church in Southern Highlands, NSW, and then a church in Chelmsford, Essex, UK where we moved in 1996. Over the 18 years we were there, I focused on raising and mentoring leaders and we planted or adopted and redeveloped 18 churches mainly based in UK but also France and USA, as well as having planted in Australia.
In the UK I founded Liberti, a Christian magazine for women of faith with attitude, desiring to see women who are called by God to do fantastic things have a magazine that would help them develop their godly ambitions, rather than encourage them to stay home and do the housework. www.libertimag.org
In 2001 I started Cherish Uganda, for HIV+ children who had been abandoned. That is now a massive project just outside Entebbe with a fantastic school, clinic, etc. www.cherishuganda.org
I am currently working on the development of Scarlet Women, based in Democratic Republic of Congo to work with women and girls who have suffered rape as a weapon of war.
I preach regularly both in Australia and internationally at churches and conferences and I mentor leaders and consult with churches over leadership issues. My Masters degree from Fuller Theological Seminary is in Global Leadership and I am convinced that if leaders are healthy, the organisation will become that way also.
I am the author of Speak Life and Shut the Hell Up, and Catalysts:You Can Be God’s Agent for Change, and I blog at www.bevmurrill.com
I have been married 45 years, have 4 children and 10, going on 12 grandchildren. Since I returned to Australia and am no longer leading a church, I have been encouraged to find that I have more room to write, speak, and mentor rising leaders.
What's your favourite bible passage & why?
I have so many favourites but my current favourite is Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
The older I get, the more I realise that a lot of the stuff we worry and stress over as Christians is not as important as we thought, and that cultivating the qualities of justice, mercy and humility go a long way towards enabling someone who loves God to walk more closely with Him. It’s like seeing His heart with greater clarity and depth. He loves so much more than we do, and He cares so much more deeply than we understand.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
The answer to this contains an understanding of being really familiar with the Bible because that’s how we can be more aware of how He thinks, and stopping in the day whenever there’s room to talk with Him about how things are going. Worship is in there too, but mostly I try to stay aware that Jesus knows my every thought and my heart issues. I can’t hide any of it from Him, although I’d like to at times. That means that when my heart strays to things that are the antithesis of who He is - meanness, sarcasm, crudeness, lust for stuff, untruthfulness, arrogance or whatever, if I remember that He’s in this with me and I’m taking Him where I’m going, it becomes easier to pull back and change my course so that I am not embarrassed about Him being on the same path with me. I love Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. I don’t want God to be ashamed to be called my God.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
Oh gosh, this one is so close to my heart. I want the generations of Christian women who come after me to know that there is no bar or barrier to prevent them from fulfilling the purposes and call of God on their life. I want them to understand that they don’t have to make themselves smaller or less able in order to satisfy some spiritual gender construct which has been developed in order to make others feel more secure and more important. I want them to understand that any man who is put off by a woman who is walking in purposes of God is not someone they need to worry about or be influenced by.
What's one thing that you love about your local church?
I love that my local church empowers anyone who wants to rise to the purposes of God, and they do so without arrogance or manipulation. I love the worship, it’s wonderful. I love the determination to be an entity which adds to the community rather than subtracting by judging and detaching from it.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
I have learned so much from God in hard times; far more than in the good times. I learned that I don’t need to strive for His approval like I had to strive for my dad’s approval. I learned that He loves me just because He is love, and that me trying harder won’t make Him love me more, and when I fail, He doesn’t love me less. I learned to come to Him when it seems that people are against me and it is there that I find out how I have put myself in that position. I learn that it’s not all their fault and that I need to change if the circumstances around me are to change. Very salient lesson there, and one which has stood the test of time.
What are you passionate about?
My passion is leaders first and foremost. Healthy leaders mean healthy organisations.
Secondly and in tandem with the first, my passion is women - women leaders and women who have no voice or opportunity to change their own lives. I have mentored many leaders both male and female, and around a large proportion of those have been women who are now in places of significant authority and are highly valued. They know how to lead effectively without being intimidated or threatening, and they know how to speak on behalf of those who have no voice. They are women of strength and grace.
I envision myself continuing to work with leaders and as a voice and an activist for women all the days of my life.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
Resting has always been a bit of an anomaly for me. I watch too much TV when I am not busy, and I’d like to break myself of that habit. I love to write and read, and both of those would be my first choice for resting. I am also aware of my need for recreation so that’s something on the to-work-out list.