Shirley M. Carpenter
Shirley Carpenter was born in Berea, Ohio. Raised in a Christian home, she accepted Jesus as her Savior as a young child. But, until 1969, she knew Him best as the God of her father and mother. At that time, with greater understanding and revelation of who Jesus was, she made Him Lord of her life. About a year later Jesus baptized her with the Holy Spirit. Accompanying her baptism was an insatiable hunger for the word of God. As a result she began teaching Sunday School and home Bible studies.
In spring of 1974 Shirley answered the call of God for full-time ministry. Later that fall the Lord laid it upon her heart to start an interdenominational retreat organization. As the number of retreats increased the demand for ministry increased also, and Shirley began sharing at churches, seminars, Women's Aglow meetings and various fellowships. Carpenter Ministries was then formed to take in the variety of audiences.
Shirley's hunger for greater understanding and drive for accuracy in interpreting the Word led her to the Midrasha, the college of Jewish studies in Southfield, Michigan. There she studied for almost three years learning from Israeli teachers whose native tongue was Hebrew. Much more than becoming familiar with the language, she learned about their culture and their unique way of thinking which has been a real asset in her teaching.
In November of 1980 God revealed to Dr. Iverna Tompkins the call on Shirley's life and she was ordained. Her ordination is currently under ITM, Iverna Tompkins Ministries in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In August of 1988 Shirley and her husband Greg moved to Phoenix, Arizona where Shirley taught in the monthly TLC weeks at Scottsdale Christian Training Center (SCTC). TLC, or Taking Leaders to Christ, which was headed by Dr. Iverna Tompkins.
God once again broadened Shirley's ministry as He opened new doors internationally. Adding to her active ministry in Canada, the opportunity to teach and preach in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, and Czechoslovakia, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia were realized, with new countries opening each year.
In addition to bringing the word of the Lord to various churches and gatherings, Shirley has enjoyed training and instructing teachers and preachers in creative methods of study and effective teaching techniques. Her oriental approach to Scripture has broadened doctors of theology as well as the blue collar workman. Her love and enthusiasm for the word stimulate others to dig for deeper truths on both layman and college levels alike. This also led to the birth of Gold Diggers, an intensive Bible research seminar. Since its inception in 1994, Gold Diggers has been held in several states and nations.
Greg's retirement in 2010 brought greater opportunity to Shirley's ministry. Because Greg is able to travel with her, she has been able to stay for an extended time in New Zealand giving her the privilege of teaching one semester a year in Faith Bible College in Tauranga, New Zealand. While in New Zealand, she also shares in a number of churches, colleges, and ministers' training schools. Due to the New Zealand immigration qualifications for a temporary work visa, Shirley was led to pursue her degree. Because of the extent of her studies through the years and her previous years of studies in the Midrasha, Shirley was awarded an earned Doctorate of Ministries in Biblical Studies from American International University.
Shirley is a wife having been married for over 35 years. She is a mother of two grown children who are married and she also enjoys responding to the title of "grandma" with seven grandchildren. Shirley's husband, Greg, has been an integral part of her ministry knowing that God has called them together. Although Greg has not been called to public ministry, his prayer support and beautiful gift of helps has kept the home front closely knit. Greg's attitude towards Shirley's active involvement in ministry is easily summed up in his statement, "The greatest gift I can give to God and the Church is my wife."
Shirley and Greg attend Echo Christian Fellowship, a small Bible teaching church that was planted by Carpenter Ministries and is now led and pastored by their son, Kevin Carpenter.
Greg was born in Cornelia, Georgia. He also was raised in a Christina home. At the age of six his family moved to the Cleveland area.
During Greg's sixth grade year, he moved to a suburb of Cleveland and started going to the same school as Shirley. Near the end of the tenth grade Shirley's family began to attend the same church Greg was going to and their high school romance began.
Greg and Shirley were married six months after graduation. Greg worked at the Detroit Tank Arsenal where he began by building army tanks and eventually moved up to inspector and then to test driver.
Greg's love for God, his wife and his family motivated him to excel in the gift of helps God had given him. With his blessings and prayerful protection, Greg sent his wife and family to minister, occasionally joining them when his work schedule permitted. Those who know Greg's tender heart toward his family know that this was a loving sacrifice.
When the door opened for Shirley to join the team at Scottsdale Christian Training Center in 1988, Greg left his job after twenty-two years. Knowing that test driving army tanks is not a popular occupation, Greg had to go back to school to obtain a marketable skill. Some may ask why a man with a decent paying job would give it up to start at the bottom of the pay scale in an area where wages are extremely low. But those who know Greg's heart towards God and his understanding of God's call on his wife see a man who exemplifies the heart of God. Greg's love is a demonstration of Ephesians 5:25-29, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church," Christ's desire was to see His Bride be all that she could be, and therefore He sacrificed Himself. Believing in Shirley's ministerial call, Greg sacrificed his comfort and security to see his bride fulfill God's purpose.
After retirement, Greg found fulfillment in using his gifts to benefit the ministries they go to. While Shirley teaches in the classroom at Faith Bible College, Greg uses his building skills to renovate and refurbish buildings and grounds on campus.
Greg continues to be a support to his wife and family. His heart of intercession, as well as willingness to help in the practical things of life, are a blessing. Greg's life serves as an example to fathers to love their children, and encourages husbands to love their wives. His relationship with his son and daughter continues to expand as Greg embraces his grandchildren and great grndchildren.
In 1998 Michele toke the position of Secretary/Treasure along with the position of Office Administrator. (complete with a cut in pay!) She had the privilegde of working full time up until 2006 when she found she needed to subsidize her income to provide for her family. In 2008 God lead Michele to another part time side job which has become Michele's full-time job and main avenue of income. We were thrilled that Michele was able to earn the neccessary income, but deeply saddened by the loss of her full-time work at the ministry.
Michele is the daughter of Greg and Shirley. She has grown up in a family where ministry was held in high priority and God was placed in the center of the home.
Michele has had a personal relationship with the Lord most of her life. At five years old, after having a scare with a bumble bee hive, she decided she needed God for sure! As she grew older, she came to know that life truly did have some stinging experiences, but Michele's trust in God's ability to bring change brought her through. We are excited that God has allowed a beam of sunshine in Michele's life. David Gough, Michele's husband since 2011, has been a source of encouragement and strength to Michele, as well as a blessing to Carpenter Ministries.
Marge was born in Brockton, Massachusetts. She was reared in a nominal Christian home which taught more about the religion of Christianity than relationship with Christ.
In 1964 Marge married Ray Lubelczyk later had two children, their son Jeff and daughter Tonya. Both Ray and Marge came to an awareness of the deficiency in their relationship with Jesus in 1969 and yielded their lives to His changing power. And change their lives He did. Ray's job in the U.S. forestry was transferred to Cadillac, Michigan in 1971. God began to expand their understanding of His operation in people's lives and they found greater expression in their Christian walk.
Shirley and Marge met in 1976 when Marge was on the Northern Michigan Women Aglow Fellowship area board. The ministry brought Shirley up for a memorable meeting and their lives have been knit ever since.
Today Marge is active in her home church, Covenant Life Church, where she serves as Director of Missions and Outreach. As well as functioning in a teaching capacity, she organizes outreach missions teams and also acts as liaison for the missionaries Covenant Life Church supports. Marge occasionally travels and supports their missions outreaches with teaching and the gift of helps. Marge has also accompanied Shirley to nations where it was necessary for her to have a traveling companion.
Besides all her ministerial duties, Marge enjoys being grandmother to her three grandchildren. Her home may be in a small, rural city, but Marge's heart touches the world.