News - Greenville University First Lady Kathie Filby Prepares for Ordination

Greenville University First Lady Kathie Filby Prepares for Ordination

by Rachel Heston-Davis Greenville University First Lady Kathie Filby Prepares for Ordination

Kathie Filby has spent most of her career at the intersection of academia and ministry. Prior to beginning her role as the University’s first lady in 2013, she taught Spanish at G.U. Recently, in addition to a full roster of University duties, Kathie also has served as assistant pastor at Parkview Free Methodist Church in nearby Vandalia.

Assisting in ministry is part of a bigger picture. On April 20, Kathie will be ordained at the Gateway Conference Leadership Summit of the Free Methodist Church.

Although the call to ordination has come later in her career, Kathie always felt a tug toward ministry.

“To get to be a part of someone’s journey of transformation is truly thrilling, as well as a privilege. For most of my adult life I’ve been able to do that while remaining within academic circles.”

First Inkling of Calling

Kathie’s first inkling about her call to ministry came as a strong desire to evangelize. It came early in her career, while teaching high school students in Dublin, Ireland. Kathie dreamed of “lead[ing] my students to Christ. By God’s grace I was able to do that and see some of them get baptized before returning to Spain.”

Read about ordinary people answering God’s call.

She served in a ministry role more directly as a missionary to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a year, then returned to Ireland and to the world of students, working for her church as international student director. Her desire to lead others to Christ remained strong.

“Whether in the classroom or in a full-time ministry position, I’ve always been motivated by the desire to disciple or evangelize,” she says.

Partnership of Congregation and Classroom

The partnership between the University and the church brings Kathie particular joy, for example:

Kathie would love to see even more opportunities for students to serve local churches. 

“The University is not the church. Nor is it meant to be,” she says, and stresses that students need experience holding responsibility in a congregation, not just in a classroom. 

“We Are All Called to Ministry”

Kathie is in good company. Many faculty and staff on G.U.’s campus also serve local congregations as ordained elders or ministers.

When asked for advice about discerning the call to ministry, Kathie says, “I believe we are all called to ministry,” referencing the University’s belief that all work can be given as worship to the creator.

But, she says, for those who sense a specific call to ordination, “let it be something that you cannot shake off and that others recognize . . . Spend time with people who are already in full time ministry in the church. And perhaps the best advice is to simply serve a local church community expecting nothing in return.”

She also encourages young women to surround themselves with people who will affirm and support women in ministry.

“My deepest desire, along with Ivan’s, is that our students would be able to help others begin their journey with Christ, deepen their commitment to Christ and know how to carry the presence of Christ into the workplace and the hurting areas of our world,” Kathie says.


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Many Greenville University students answer God’s call to ministry; your gift helps support their training. Thank you for giving.

This story was published on April 11, 2018

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