Heart to Heart: Toni-Brooke Brown

 
In this heart to heart interview we speak to Toni-Brooke Brown, a pastor at an outreach mission ministry, God's Storehouse, in Detroit MI. Toni-Brooke Brown is also a wife and mother.

Inside Woman: Can you tell us about the journey that led to your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal saviour?

Toni-Brooke Brown: There was a young man who crossed my path in the 80’s. He was a Christian. However, he struggled with alcohol and some other issues. This young man talked to me about Jesus Christ regularly, and we debated as he tried to convince me to give my life to Christ. I thought I knew God; after all, I prayed just like he did! I was divorced from my first husband at the time, so I was a single parent, working 72 hours a week. Looking at where he was in the natural, I was not able to see clearly. I was managing a restaurant where I saw Church-goers come in every Sunday, and act like clowns. I figured I could not see the benefit of this commitment. However, after a few months of debate, we broke communication. I found that, almost immediately, I had this thirst and hunger to seek God…I realised through everything that I had seen with this young man in the natural, he had something that I did not have in the spiritual….PEACE. From this point forward, I never looked back and have been a follower of Christ ever since.

Inside Woman: There are so many religions in the world, why did you decide to make Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Saviour?

Toni-Brooke Brown: I decided to make Jesus Christ my personal Lord and Saviour because; God has shown Himself to be faithful. His Word has changed my life; my thoughts; my desires and my heart. The Word of God has been true to me, consistently and abundantly. There has been nothing and no one in my life that has been so constant and faithful. The peace I sought; I had finally found.

Inside Woman: How would you describe your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Toni-Brooke Brown: My relationship with Jesus Christ is personal and intimate. Every part of my life is affected by Him. I daily realise my need for Him and I have constant communication with Him. I love Him and have no desire to try to live without Him. It is my desire to represent Him properly, live for Him and I love sharing Him with everyone I come in contact with.

Inside Woman: Can a person have a relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ?

Toni-Brooke Brown: Never. Jesus is the Way, the truth and the life…No man comes to the Father but only through Jesus.
Inside Woman: How did you discover your life’s purpose?

Toni-Brooke Brown: God had shown me my purpose before I was saved. He had shown me a facility where people would come and live for a period of time. The people would be from the streets; struggling with addiction, brokenness and pain. Reaching out to the lost has always been my calling; however I had no idea that this calling would be spiritual and Christ centered until I received Christ in my life. It was then that God showed me the vision more clearly. I began evangelising on the streets; preaching and teaching, and GOD trained me up in the spiritual, as I was being trained/licensed and ordained in the Church. The plans GOD had for me opened up before my eyes.

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Inside Woman: What part of ministry do you feel closest to and what do you feel is your greatest calling?

Toni-Brooke Brown: I love street preaching/witnessing. I am called to the lost/ hurting/addicted/ abused and bound. I love to see people give their lives to Jesus Christ and I live to see their lives transformed through the Word.

Inside Woman: How important is the spiritual guidance from your spiritual parents in your life?

Toni-Brooke Brown: My pastor has always supported me and the gifts that God has given me. He allowed me to use and develop the gifts, while he was teaching me patience/order and diligence. He also helped me grow in my faith, and step out into my true calling. His wisdom and faith has been a great encouragement to me. His no nonsense way of ministry helped me in submission and patience.

Inside Woman: What if a woman hears from God about starting a ministry, but her spiritual parent(s) isn’t behind her–doesn’t support her. Should she press forward?

Toni-Brooke Brown: God is in control. One must understand that GOD does everything decent and in order. I was given a vision many years before it unfolded. There was necessary training and preparation that I had to go through; a process that I needed to follow in order for me to be ready for what God called me to do. The same was true for Joseph, who waited 13 years for his dream; and Abraham who waited 25 years for Isaac. If we are not patient in the process, we never make it to the purpose. When it is time, God will orchestrate everything; putting them in the right place; giving us favour where needed and the resources that are necessary. Don’t worry…but you must learn to be faithful where you are; and GOD will lead you where He purposed you to be.

Inside Woman: Let’s talk about woman to woman relationships. It seems that women (more so than men) tend to struggle with issues like gossip and backbiting, and are often too quick to take offense. How can we help women to curb those so called natural female tendencies to really have healthy relationships that last?

Toni-Brooke Brown: Women tend to have low self-esteem. They feel badly about themselves or they compare themselves with others. We must learn to love ourselves, and focus on what God is doing in us. God has a plan for each of us, and if we direct our attention to walking in that plan, we have no time to gossip, back bite or get offended by others. When we focus on what God is doing in us, we learn to celebrate and lift up one another, instead of tearing each other down. We must know who we are in Christ and love ourselves.

Inside Woman: What are the keys that you have learned from your mother on being a godly woman and wife?

Toni-Brooke Brown: My mother has always been a praying woman; a loving wife and mother. My mom always put her family before her career and personal desires. She cooked the meals; made sure her children and my dad were cared for and the house was clean: and she still had a career. She taught us to respect ourselves; not to settle in relationships and to always work hard. My mom has been very ill for these last years, but she is still an inspiration and she is still filled with faith.

Inside Woman: What do you enjoy most about being married?

Toni-Brooke Brown: I like being married because my husband and I are a team in everything. We complement one another, working together at home and in ministry. He treats me like a queen and is happily involved in every area of our children’s lives. I like that we are one; love each other; and serve one another.

Inside Woman: Did you struggle when you were a single woman?

Toni-Brooke Brown: I did not really struggle as a single woman, because I had learned early on, to love myself. I enjoyed spending time with me. After the divorce from my first husband, I did not remarry for 11 years. So as a single woman I spent time before the Lord, as He trained me; groomed me; and strengthened me. God was molding me into a virtuous woman; a godly wife; and a better mother.

Inside Woman: Why do you think that many Christian ladies who are single are struggling with their singleness?

Toni-Brooke Brown: There are many ladies who are not comfortable with who they are; they feel that they need a man to complete them or support them. Some single women feel that they are not desirable, or that they are on a timetable to find a man/husband. Again, this stems from a woman not completely loving themselves, or knowing who they are in Christ.

Inside Woman: Nowadays many women are very aggressive and desperate when it comes to securing a husband. What can they do to trust God to orchestrate their love story?

Toni-Brooke Brown: Women need to step back and stop trying to come up with ways to get a man. The key is this; you must respect yourself and your body. Refuse to settle or compromise. You don’t need to seek or chase after a man. A man is supposed to find the woman. The best thing a woman can do to get a godly man, is to take her time as a single lady, to let God make her into a virtuous woman. God knows when you are ready, and HE knows who HE has prepared for you. Wait on the Lord.

Inside Woman: It’s easy to tell young women that sex before marriage is wrong but what about their desires? How do they deal with their desires for sex in a godly way?

Toni-Brooke Brown: Young women need to learn boundaries. As long as you are single, you should go to places that you can enjoy yourself without becoming so tempted. Going out on a date, drinking and going to dark hideaway places causes temptation… guards are down and it becomes more of a risk of giving in to feelings. Dress nice, but not seductive. Set limits, and look at your walk as an investment into your future. When you can control your flesh and respect your body, you are being prepared as a wife, instead of a girlfriend.

Inside Woman: What is your view on how women of God should dress? And is this still an issue that needs to be addressed?

Toni-Brooke Brown: Women need to dress classy, not trashy. There is no need to show areas of your body that are for you and your husband. It is ok to dress fashionable; but there is no need to show every dent, muscle and bump. A lady, who respects herself in her attire/attitude and conversation, will be respected.

Inside Woman: What would you say is the biggest struggle that female ministers face that maybe their male counterparts don’t deal with in ministry?

Toni-Brooke Brown: One struggle that female ministers face is disrespect. However, if a female minister stays in the Word, teaching the truth, and serving God with faithfulness and diligence, God takes care of the rest. A woman minister just needs to carry herself like a lady, and most of all like a servant of God. Don’t allow other people’s prejudices to stop you from fulfilling God’s purposes in your life.

Inside Woman: If you could sit down with some of the young girls and give them advice, what would you say to them?

Toni-Brooke Brown: Be the best you that you can be. Work hard at what you do, and know that you are special. Demand others, (especially boys) to respect you. Don’t put limits on yourself just because you are a girl. Believe God for greater things. Love yourself and don’t compromise who you are, by trying to be like others.

Inside Woman: What is your role as the older woman in the lives of the young women that God has given you?

Toni-Brooke Brown: I am a Spiritual mother to the young women God sends to me. I encourage them to stay away from toxic relationships and ungodly men. I teach women to learn to take care of themselves so they won’t become depend on a man. Ladies need to learn to be humble while being bold. You can be a lady without being weak. You can be bold, without taking on a man’s role. Learn to be holy.

Inside Woman: Should Christians read horoscopes, consult with Tarot cards and read star signs?

Toni-Brooke Brown: No.

Inside Woman: What are your words of encouragement for people who may have gifts, talents, desires and dreams but they feel ‘stuck’?

Toni-Brooke Brown: Learn to be faithful where ever you are. Joseph had a dream, but he had to go through the process of betrayal, persecution, imprisonment, and abandonment; but it was part of the journey. Don’t skip the process and miss the journey, trying to rush the dream. God’s timing is the best timing. Don’t step ahead of Him, but don’t lag behind either. Use your gifts, talents and desires to build the kingdom of God and to glory Him…then HE will elevate you. Wait on God.

Inside Woman: If there are any people far from God or struggling with their faith, what would you say to them?

Toni-Brooke Brown: In the presence of God is everything we need, so I would say to those who don’t know Him; are from Him, or are struggling with their faith, draw nearer to Him and He will draw nearer to you. The only way to draw nearer to God is to meditate on His Word, day and night; pray without ceasing and praise Him continuously. Remember that God is with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you. Remember that it is God who gave you breath in your body and warm blood flowing through your veins. Begin to seek Him like you have never sought after Him before. Remember that God has kept you; He has a plan for you and if you acknowledge Him in all your ways, He shall direct your paths.

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