Reba Chambers has always had a passion for learning and education and a gift of writing. In high school, she would write short stories and would pass them around to classmates. People would constantly ask what would happen next in the plot. Reba describes herself as a self-educator. If there is a subject she is interested in, she will do reading and research to learn everything possible.
Reba grew up going to church each week. Her family came to Graceway for a short time while in high school. After not connecting well in the environment, she decided step back from Graceway and church altogether. Even though not attending church for a while, Reba continued to learn more about God and studied the Bible regularly. It was her sister who encouraged Reba to give Graceway a chance. “She told me things were different, so I decided to give it another chance,” Reba recalls. For about a year, she stayed in the background and just observed.
Adult education started to become more important at the church. Classes to learn the Bible were available and Shepherd School, now Engage, was no longer an avenue for just pastors, it was for anyone desiring to learn. After meeting the prerequisites, Reba enrolled in the program. “I take education very seriously. If you don’t know the book you say you base your life on, it’s kind of pointless,” she stated. Even ten years ago, she began to observe how education was already changing. When first taking classes, the sessions were recorded via cassette tape. Reba began to volunteer her time to assist in the transition of recording on CD’s and then eventually on MP3. “We expanded the ability to educate people who wanted to learn,” she stated, “It was less about getting a piece of paper saying you finished a course and more about here are the basic Bible topics that everyone needs to know.”
Reba was hired on staff at Graceway in 2005. Throughout her ten years of service, she held a myriad of responsibilities that include creating website content, building online registration, managing our database, and writing articles for our e-newsletter. She took over the management of Engage records and developing the online school platform and shortly thereafter, was promoted to Director. “I feel strongly that all believers are responsible to know the Word of God so that we can share the Truth with others. My goal as Director was to give men and women of all abilities the opportunity to study the Bible; I want to stir people’s passion for personal study and strengthen their ability to minister to others.” Our online platform moved Engage beyond a set time in our building, allowing men and women around the world (we have had students throughout the United States, Europe and Asia) to study the word of God at their own pace, on their own schedule.
In early 2015 the decision was made to move Engage from a diploma track program to an open source learning system. As Reba worked to reformat course materials she realized the potential impact on her employment and began earnestly praying that God would make her path clear. She remembered what brought her to employment initially and could see that her goals had been fulfilled. Through the Unstuck process and the new organizational structure, it was clear that her position as Director of Engage was complete and she opted to resign her employment rather than accept a position shift that did not fit her gifts and interests. “It may be the most terrifying decision I’ve made yet, but I have no doubt that it was the right one.”
She says, “God has a plan for our lives and we are responsible to do whatever to accomplish that goal.” Last year, Reba published her first book, Biblical Feminism, which was based in her dissertation from Shepherd School. Her desire is to see more women’s studies that are truly based around what the Bible says. She already has ideas for book number two and hopes to begin that one this year.
“The hardest part in this transition is truly living one day at a time. I am at the utter grace of God. There is no fall back plan. I know that God led me to the choice I made, but it’s scary,” she says. For Reba, the month of January is about rest, relaxation, and just breathing again. A big health crisis in 2013 changed the way she looks at lots of stuff. “Just having the time to stop, consider, and think has been good for me. It’s been hard trying not to be antsy. But God keeps saying you don’t need to know what is next right now.”
On January 6, God showed Reba the verse Isaiah 30:15 that says, For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. “I could have stayed, but I knew it was time to go. I know it was God and if I constantly remind myself of it, which I do, I don’t freak out. I know He loves me and it’ll work out,” she says. “People tell me I’m brave, but this isn’t brave- this is just a different level of trust. And it’s exciting to really learn to trust God with each day-to-day.”
If you are interested in finding out more about Engage, We will have online classes available later this year. Check out our website come May for a complete listing.