'Transformed Leader' Facilitates Hope and Healing
Survivor Jennie Bennett has a special appreciation for Breast Cancer Awareness month – and life. Her personal journey spawned a thriving ministry to others with this diagnosis.
Surrounded by cancer stories in ministry work, Dr. Jennie Bennett states, “every day to live above ground and work for the Lord is counted as a blessing.” Having walked through the cancer journey personally, she has since followed a God-sized calling to educate others by creating a recovery-focused ministry.
Helpless, scared and out of balance. That’s how Jennie describes her state of mind when she was told she had breast cancer. “Then something hit me, my belief that the spirit of God comes to teach us all things we need to know,” she says. “Mine was a journey from despair to wholeness, and Reconstruction of a Survivor was birthed to bring hope and healing to other women with this diagnosis.”
Her ministry’s mission is to fill the gap to stand alongside women at any stage of breast cancer to transform their lives for a more fulfilling future. “Christ UMC, Faithbridge and Atascocita UMC as well as the Methodist Hospital System are currently using our ‘Navigating Life’s Road Map after Cancer,’ a scripture-focused curriculum. We want other congregations to provide not just spiritual healing, but help with emotional and physical healing beyond the diagnosis,” notes Jennie. While emerging on the other side of the journey herself, she recalls, “When I considered what God had done for me, I had to do something for Him. I did not see myself as a leader at the time, but I have found it is not hard to lead when the goal is God’s glory.”
The ministry trains facilitators to conduct support groups in churches as well as hospitals. “I pray and lay hands on as many people as I can, and I have seen dramatic examples of God taking the pain away," she says. Adds Jennie, “Since we began five years ago, we have touched 200 or more men and women and have not lost one single soul.”
Most people would stop short, not knowing how to start a ministry. “When God calls, He equips, and he sent someone into my path that knew how to start a nonprofit, and He also prepared me to know we were in His favor but that we would be working without funding initially.”
Now, the ministry is funded by grants, individuals, and partner organizations with similar causes. Jennie considers it an important leadership goal to develop other leaders knowing she won’t be here forever. “I believe you always want to reach back and take someone with you when you are climbing the leadership ladder,” she adds. “I encourage all leaders to look for the potential in those around them and guide them along until they take off on their own.” She recommends new leaders take a quick test: Spiritual Gifts Inventory with DISC Personality Profile https://www.discinsights.com/
What most excites Jennie is seeing God's healing power move. “Our support group sessions have taken one lady from a desire to commit suicide to distributing business cards and finding God's purpose for her life. She now bakes pies and cakes from scratch to pay for her treatment, and will soon give her story on the Debra Duncan Great Day Houston TV show.”
Jennie’s words of wisdom include a reminder that you do not have to start a ministry to be a leader. “Lead in small ways and you will also witness big changes – in yourself and others.”
To request a presentation or information on how to attend/start a support group, see www.roasurvivor.org.