THE TRAVELING BANNER MINISTRY,
THE BANNER STORY
1996 - Before I ever left Olive Baptist Church to join WHBC, I knew one day God would involve me in Banner Ministry! My heart swells with love at the thought of being a part of such a wonderful ministry of worship! When God uprooted our family to go to WHBC, I began to feel the desire stronger. I suggested to the church about having this ministry and they said I could start one, but that the church would not be financially supporting it. When I heard the church would allow this ministry but would not be supporting it financially, I was devastated! But God knew what He was doing all along! ;) Read on..
The Banner Ministry's first banner is the - "The King of Kings." The pastor of the church had expressed a desire for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords banner, so I, with the vision and the help of my husband, put together the King of Kings. (This banner has its own testimony.)
My mother contributed the "Redeemer" banner after seeing it in a dream at the end of 1996 and it was put together. My mother give me a rough sketch of what she saw and the Holy Spirit did the rest! The "Jesus" banner, naturally, followed. In their own way, everyone has had a hand in this banner!
1997 - The Banners were used twice during this year and were truly a tremendous blessing to many, including me, my family, and those involved! God blessed each heart that had made sacrifices for this ministry. Most people who got involved were not members of my this church! These people became part of the "banner team" and would slip in to attend the processionals from time to time, to see God's ministry at work!
1998 - Shortly after the Jesus banner came the "Prince of Peace." This banner was contributed by the Campbell family and reflects their testimony to what God has done for them as a whole. Read this story.
1998 - 1999 - God lead the Banner Ministry more and more outside the confines of the church. Family members, friends and other church's members began to help with the collecting of items, monies and materials. It was awesome to see God pull so much together! The seamstress is even a family member and absolutely refuses to "charge God" anything for her time and talent! Inspirations for the banners were coming in from OBC members, neighbors and family! Remember, my very own mother was the one with the inspiration for Redeemer!
The banners were embraced by many who worked this ministry, but embraced by only a very small handful within the church and this grieved me badly. As usual, I remained bewildered with this. I realize now why the banners' history was to come from outside the church body more than from inside.
The church was ok, but God never really seemed to be the Pilot, but rather the Co-Pilot. I can't quite put my finger on it, but being a member there, for me, ended up being spiritually destructive. As time went on, deep criticisms came. I struggled constantly to remain loving and forgiving; then the Interim Pastor left in November of 1998.
The Banners' "Almost-Fatal" Story:
Other churches continued to show interest in the banner ministry participating in their worship service. I asked permission to get the banners out of the their closet to share them and one of the deacons opened the church. I found that all the banner supplies that had been left at the church were done away with during a Saturday clean-up. This happened 3 - 4 Saturdays after we left and without any request to transfer our membership! This happened when we were still members there - still technically the Banner Coordinators! It shocked us all!! A handful of members from the church and the banner team were bewildered and upset! I have no idea why anyone thought this was ok, but nonetheless, someone scattered God's banner supplies and materials.
All that come left was the banners themselves and a select few members were discussing taking them apart and placing them in the Fellowship Hall on the wall. Of course, not one of the ones who talked of putting them on the walls were people who had worked the ministry. We all prayed harder.
NOTE: Some of our personal belongings (rulers with names on them, cups we had used to keep glue bottles turnt upside down in while working with and other type things) were found in vacant class rooms and were retrieved.
While I was praying bout the return of the banners to the church to store them, I was called by one of the ladies who had made one of the banners and asked me to please not return any of them and if I just HAD to do so, to let her come and get the one she made. I asked why and she preceded to voice concern that some of the church members were planning on cutting the banners apart and using the fronts and backs as wall hangings in the Fellowship Hall. I was already aware of this, but her words brought a realization to my heart and my spirit quickened. A QUICK HARD JERK at that!
She did not want to see that and neither did anyone else in the ministry. I told her that the whole banner ministry needed to pray and contact me and they did...one at a time...from the few within the church and the others from outside of the church. Some called not even knowing they were suppose to call! Nonetheless, they were all upset. Since most of the people who had been involved were not members of the church, I and others began to pray harder about the ministry's direction. Some VERY serious prayer, indeed, was poured into this dilemna. I prayed, leaving it to God to work out the details.
1999 - May, 2000 - I requested a Deacon's meeting concerning the banners several times in the months that followed, but was never given one. The head Deacon left the church about 6 months after us and I retired the requests for a spell.
God kept reminding me that the banner ministry did not actually belong to the church, but to Him. I kept praying.
The church got a new pastor, I began requesting again, he ensued a meeting but never called me back. I called him again to ask if a meeting was still possible and he said, "I got with the guys. We have decided to just forgive you and let you have the banners." I was silent; speechless. A thousand times, "What did I do wrong?" went through my head. Finally I said, "Thank you," and then asked if I could have the "ok" in writing. I was told, "yes." I told him thank you and got off the phone soon afterwards. The letter of approval never came. Knowing that the church body had not participated in the banner decision and that I never got the letter of approval scares me. But I continue to press on with this ministry which God has lain in my lap.
March, 2000 - After all this and hearing God's call to travel with the ministry, I moved along. God placed the banners for 2.5 years at a prominent church in the area through its Music Minister.
The banners mentor is a dear and wonderful Christian lady from the largest church in the entire area. When I need to make sure that a banner is "Biblical," I go to her. She has been a great strength through all things ministry. God has used her in my life to help me through many tough situations; some of which she isn't even aware! \o/
2001 - The Traveling Banner Ministry was busy in 2001. We participated in the annual Christmas Parade, but had not planned to. The Coordinator of this event called us at the last month and encouraged us aboard. The banner team and I felt it was the word from God to GO! We went and boy, oh boy, did we go! It was awesome! I was SHOCKED at the postivie reaction received from the parade goers! After 9-11, their hearts were so open and ready and they received this ministry's blessing! GOD IS SO AWESOME! His Praise Ministry took "Honorable Mention."
Also, we performed a 17-minute Christmas program for a local church who had few resources for that Christmas. It was great to be a part of God's team!
2002 - We participated in the 2002 Christmas Parade as well. Again, God was praised and it was awesome! This time the ministry took "Second Place - Church Division!"
We joined of Beulah Baptist Church late December. They have welcomed and embraced our family AND our ministry as an honor to have us a part of their church. We don't know what to say; we sit speechless and in awe of God at work; we are wondering and waiting excitedly for what is next!
2003 - We did not register the banner ministry for the annual Pensacola Cellular South Christmas Parade. I just did not feel lead to do so. Well, the parade was cancelled at the last minute due to inclement weather. Registration fees are not returned to the enlistees in a case like this so signing up would have been a loss. God knows what HE is doing; that's for sure!!! \o/ bows, "God, please forgive me for ever questioning you. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen"
2004 - The Traveling Banner Ministry will be visiting Morenci, Arizona to present a processional for three to five differant churches in the area this July! We will hold at least one workshop on how to start a banner ministry before we return to Florida. Please keep the banner team in your prayers as we travel this distance and as we present this awesome praise ministry! "Prepare their's and our hearts, O Lord!"
CHECK BACK in AUGUST for PICTURES of our MISSION TRIP!