VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: Rosie Montgomery
For nearly 15 years now, Rosie Montgomery has been conducting a weekly Bible study for the women at Jessie’s Place in downtown Birmingham. Upon meeting her, it quickly becomes apparent that she has been naturally gifted for service in women’s ministry. Rosie’s soft voice and gentle demeanor draw her audience in like the embrace of a loving mother and her words are spoken with delicate grace, yet unquestionable confidence and sincerity.
Her passion for others is undeniable and that devotion stems, at least partly, from her own unfortunate past. Rosie was a victim of relationship abuse early in her marriage and knows firsthand how essential it is for individuals, groups, and organizations to help those who are struggling in dark times. She feels led by the Lord to show others the same kindness that had once been shown to her and her family.
“I was drawn to Jessie’s Place because of my love for the lost,” she said. “My pastor is from Birmingham and he shared with me his passion for Jessie’s Place. I came looking for a way I could minister and they said they needed a Bible study.”
Rosie was quick to point out that even though her pastor encouraged her in this community outreach, it wasn’t something that either of them wanted labeled with the name of the congregation. Rather, the ministry should be about the people and sharing the World of God and not bringing recognition to any one church brand.
“When Christ sent his disciples out, he didn’t send them out with a label,” she said. “He sent them out with the gospel. And that’s what every follower of Jesus is called to do without a personal agenda or promotion of an institution. I came out for that reason.”
Rosie has taken several approaches to her women’s classes including a book-by-book survey of the Bible, in depth examinations of specific books, as well as topical studies.
The women are currently exploring Tony Evans’ materials on taming the tongue and his video series Watch Your Mouth. The group is also anchored in the scriptures, particularly the third chapter of James.
“I must be honest with you, when they said they needed someone here every week, I said to myself, ‘I can’t do every week,’” Rosie confided. “I didn’t realize how hard it was to give myself away and do what God had called me to do. But now you couldn’t take one of these days away from me.”
She also said that in the beginning she was afraid she’d “run out of material.” She soon realized just how “inexhaustible the Bible is.”
Rosie also admitted that the work isn’t always easy and that, at times, people will be disruptive or dismissive and even call into question everything individuals are trying to teach. She has learned through faith and experience, however, that the Holy Spirit continually works in ways that “never cease to amaze [her].”
“If we trust in Him and listen to His voice, we get so much love and compassion that it doesn’t even matter if people aren’t nice to you,” she said. “It can actually make you want to reach out more because you realize they don’t have that relationship [with God]. They’re hurting, there’s a need, but you’re not the problem.
“The joy of my life is doing the will of the Lord,” she added. “It’s our responsibility to not be judgmental, but to see a need to help guide our brother and a sister. Too many people don’t know they belong to Christ. Sometimes we can get caught up in our own prosperity and be doing so well and we forget to stop and be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Rosie isn’t alone in her volunteer efforts. Her children are also rooted in the work and one of her daughters, Christian, has been by her side at Jessie’s Place from the beginning. She and her family also conduct Bible studies for the women at First Light Shelter every Sunday evening.