Dr. Tara Jenkins: More than the Preacher’s Wife

Sunday, 06 May 2012 18:05 Written by  Cicely V. Teal

Dr. Tara Jenkins was born and raised in Jackson, TN, a small city of less than 100,000 people. Having grown up in a household with a mother who was determined to expose her to new places, to education and the arts, she was groomed to not have a “small town” mentality.

Tara carried that idea with her throughout her life and has been able to build a solid ministry with a traditional foundation, but a modern and innovative spiritual message. As wife of Pastor Charles Jenkins, senior pastor at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side, Tara does not sit idly behind her husband. She juggles motherhood atop constantly planning contemporary ways to empower women.

She admits that her life plan was polar opposite of where she is now.

“I had a grand plan of a career in media in my mind,” Tara explains. “After majoring in Mass Media Arts at Clark-Atlanta University, I was working in radio and preparing to apply for graduate school. During that application process, I felt an unshakeable desire to pursue further education in a bible school rather than a communications program.”

Tara’s testimony began with a simple request that manifested itself in what would be her life’s calling.

“I was engaged at the time. My soon-to-be husband and I prayed, “God if this isn’t you, slam the door in our faces. God if this IS you, swing the door off of the hinges,” she comments.

After applying to Moody Bible Institute, Tara received a letter informing her that she would receive a presidential scholarship. At this point her future husband dually noted that the door had indeed swung off the hinges. Consequently, she attended bible school and her fervor for ministry grew into various ministry opportunities.

Two of her founding ministries are the Daughters of Royalty Women’s Ministry and Ministry Mates. In January of 2001, her husband became the pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. In 2002, they launched the Daughters of Royalty Women’s Ministry (DRWM). DRWM was started to teach women how to walk in their royal status [to be empowered and confident].

“So often, I see women who live beneath their potential because of a spiritual identity crisis. As 1 Peter 2:9 explains, we are of a royal priesthood, we, then, should function in the royal status that God has placed on us,” she explains.

In December 2005, Tara was completing a doctoral dissertation entitled, “The Identification of Essential Components for Equipping Pastors’ Wives for Ministry.” After graduating from this program, she knew that what she had created was meant for more than just a program requirement.

“After receiving counsel and prayer, I felt led to start a ministry specifically for senior pastors’ wives, “Ministry Mates.” Tara believes that women who are married to pastors are expected to innately know what has never been taught to them. With Ministry Mates, wives of pastors gather monthly to become better equipped and encouraged for what they believe is their God-ordained role.

As expected, building her ministry has not come without hardship.

“Being in a new place, with new people who don’t know you can be challenging. I was used to being surrounded with family and friends who celebrated my gifts and expected me to be an overachiever in every area of my life. After moving, I felt like I was surrounded by “under-estimators” rather than celebrators,” she says.

However, with the support of her husband, Tara has been able to fulfill her dreams with a no-holds-barred approach. She believes [pastors and their wives] echo the conviction in their hearts that comes from the teaching that they are exposed to.

“I go to a church with no nonsense preaching, so what I digest, I confess,” she explains.

The author and National Conference speaker is continuing to craft her ministries across the digital divide. She believes in ‘blogging beyond the church walls’ so she executed www.mothershakers.com which will launch later this year. She ministers with biblical principals, but believes that innovativeness and creativity is what’s going to draw people into the church and get them excited about building a relationship with God.

“Young people will hunger for a relationship with God when they see how relevant the word of God is to their lives TODAY. I think communicators of the word of God have to be more intentional in utilizing millennial applications and illustrations when speaking in front of youth,” Tara says.

“To men and women of faith, I say innovate. We serve a creative Creator and the world is hungry for the newness creativity brings.

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Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Communication and Depaul Univeristy with a M.A in Journalism. She contributed to and maintained a column at N’Digo Magapaper, and wrote for Urban Influence Magazine, Breaking Tweets, The DePaulia and The Independent. She also worked on documentary projects at WTTW channel 11, children’s television programming at WCIU-TV and African American programming at Central City Productions.

She is a blogger and studies web analytics, social networking strategies and integrated marketing at the University of Chicago.

She can be contacted at Cicely@glossmagazineonline.com