Teaching, discipleship and the Christian lifestyle...
"Pure religion and undefiled is to visit the widows and the orphans in their affliction, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world."
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Father of Faith
(By Joanna Barratt)
Barratt Ministries is a non-profit ministry dedicated to sharing true discipleship teaching, and challenging Christians to live the lifestyle that Jesus taught in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. We have been doing this since the late 70s through the mediums of preaching, singing and literature. We produce books, CDs, DVDs, and other digital media, to get our message out - one we believe is vital for the church today.
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"Babylon, from its beginnings in Genesis to its culmination in the seduction of the church today. This is not a speculative ‘end-times study’ but a biblical survey of a subject we all need to understand."
It’s happened so often that I have come to recognise there must be a principle involved here. My family became Christians when I was only nine years old, but I’m afraid the lifestyle which we led caused me to grow up to be a very rebellious, stubborn, quick-witted and sarcastic teenager… not that I was aware then of my shortcomings; there always seemed to be some justifying reason why I didn’t get along with people. After discharging myself from school at the age of fifteen I talked my way into a clerical job which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved going out to work every day, and the idea of a wage and bonus at the end of the week proved an added incentive. I worked hard and within two months was promoted to a position of supervisor over two women older than me. Promotion must have gone to my head, as after another four weeks had passed I was told to do something quite menial by one of my superiors which I adamantly refused to do. The next day when I arrived at work I was called into the bosses office, handed a wage packet and told I was free to leave immediately. I was devastated and wondered what had gone wrong. I really had enjoyed my work, but I’m afraid that when it came to female superiors telling me what to do I just couldn’t handle it.
Bad Attitude - Bad Witness!
My next few jobs were no different - they all ended up in the same way, I would start off great, but then I would end up being sacked for my rebellious attitude. What seemed to make matters worse was the fact that people always knew that I was a Christian. From my very first day at work people used to question me as to what I did in my spare time and I told them that I went to church, I was the organist, I sang in a church-based group, and this always used to open up conversation about God and the gospel. So to end up being dismissed from my employment reflected badly on my Christianity and witness, and I felt that I was not only bringing disgrace on myself but also on God. Many times I pleaded with God to change my character, but it was no use. I always ended up losing my temper and doing something which I regretted later on. My problem was intensified by the fact that I used to live in a flat and I needed a regular income each week to pay the rent and bills - and I knew that if something didn’t happen soon to enable me to hold down a job then I would end up in real trouble.
It was at this point that I decided to join a temporary services bureau where people could take jobs on a temporary basis to cover for somebody in permanent employment who was ill or on holiday. It meant that I would stay at a firm no longer than one or maybe two weeks at a time before I was moved into some other temporary position. Some of the jobs were good, others were not so good, but this wasn’t important because I didn’t stay long enough to encounter any problems - except one particular time when I was sent to an insurance company and put in a typing pool filled with women, with a woman supervisor over all of us. Our work quota was to type sixty letters a day which meant that you had to be a swift, accurate typist. But often I had races with myself to see just how many letters I could complete, and sometimes I would end up with a hundred letters under my belt at the end of the day!
My work capacity was recognised by the male bosses and I was regularly asked if I would become a permanent member of staff, but I adamantly refused time and time again. The reason for this was because of the female supervisor who was over us - she didn’t take to me one little bit and would always be looking for opportunities to find fault with me. Because I was there as a temporary employee I used to ignore her snide remarks and think to myself “Well, I may not be here next week.” Other times I would think, “I don’t work for this firm, I work for the bureau,” and “she has no real authority over me”. Because of my change in attitude, I managed to hold down this job for nine months until a permanent person was found to take my place. I left the firm on good friendly terms and was reassured that if ever I wanted to come back to become a permanent member they would accept me without question.
Working For God
This “success” made me think, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I had been permanently employed there I wouldn’t have lasted nine months at all because there would have been a terrible confrontation between me and this woman supervisor at some stage. From this point my attitude completely changed and I realised that I wasn't even working for the bureau - I was working for God, and should treat every situation of employment in this manner whether I was permanent or temporary. A preacher friend of mine once said in a sermon, “if you can’t change your circumstances, change your attitude”. From then on I worked for many firms on a temporary basis and was able to witness for Jesus Christ without being disgracefully sacked, and every firm offered me permanent employment, which I refused, until I had the opportunity to work for an advertising agency. This was totally different to any other employment which I had been in so far, it was so exciting and vibrant. I came into contact with many famous people and was given the opportunity to model and do all sorts of things which I’d never dreamed I could have become involved with. When I was asked to work for this firm on a permanent footing I jumped at the chance.
Fulfillment And Frustration
I never dreamed I could be so fulfilled. The people I worked with were not all in a mould, as was usual in the ordinary run-of-the-mill office, but because of the nature of this business they were all incredibly individual. The advertising agency was situated in an old detached house with three storeys and basements where bedrooms and lounges had been converted characteristics into offices, and yet the original structure of the place had been kept intact. To get his inspiration, one of the “ideas men” used to run a bath full of cold water and sit in it in the hope that he would come up with some weird and wonderful slogan for a new advertising campaign which would catch the eye and imagination of the public! The people here were so eccentric that it didn't matter what ideas they had, however bizarre or strange. Consequently my Christianity was just accepted in the same manner as everybody else’s weird life-style - and it was never taken as something that could possibly challenge them. I witnessed and prayed for a long time that God would use my testimony and lifestyle to speak to these people and bring them to Christ, but nothing happened.
A New Challenge
I’d been at this job for nearly two years when the minister of my church decided that he would hold a crusade for the church members on the theme of The Sermon on the Mount. As I was the organist and worked very closely with the minister, he shared with me beforehand what his intentions were and stressed that it was very important that we as the leadership ought to prepare ourselves for these meetings. I had never done it before, but I decided that I would fast all day at work then ride to the church on my bicycle and have something small and light before the service and save my main meal until I got home. For a whole month I put the effort in, and as the crusade was meant to challenge the church I reaped the benefit of that challenge and my whole life was devastated. I found that I wasn’t thinking of the Sermon on the Mount only during the meetings, but God invaded my thoughts all through the day, and in the course of a month I changed dramatically without even realising it. By the end of that month I had heard twenty-four sermons on the Sermon on the Mount, the pastor had preached it so thoroughly that he’d only got through the first eight verses of Matthew chapter five!
So I was left in no shadow of a doubt about what God intended that the characteristics of a Christian should be. And I knew I didn’t match up - hence the challenge! I suppose it was this realisation that caused all my soul-searching during the day. I knew I wasn’t in the right place with God - but I didn’t know what to do about it. I need not have worried. God had seen my efforts over the month and now He was doing things in my life that I could never have done on my own.
A Bewildering Experience
I remember walking into the office of one of the directors’ secretaries one day to ask her something, and we were just chatting in the normal way when suddenly she stopped in her tracks, blushed, put her hand over her mouth and apologised for her foul language saying, “I’m really sorry Joanna, I didn’t mean to say that in front of you”. When I asked her what she meant she said to me so sincerely, ‘Well you’re holy and I really didn’t mean to say anything like that in front of you”. I walked back to my office feeling very bewildered, I didn’t know what had changed this girl’s attitude. She was recognised as the most shocking, sexually explicit, crude and daring girl in the company (which was really saying something amongst all these eccentric people!) and yet she was apologising to me for her language!
A week later she and three of her close pals at work asked if they could come along to one of the meetings at the church, after which they told everybody in the firm how much they had enjoyed it. A couple of weeks later one of the bosses came, then shortly afterwards two other girls came, one of whom was a Catholic, and the other one who had been saved and filled with the Holy Ghost on her first visit never stopped going to the church after that. My life at work took on a new meaning as I began to hold prayer meetings and Bible studies during the lunch hours for those who were interested, until the time when God told me to leave work and go full-time for Him in the ministry.
The Principle Of Self-Denial
I didn’t realise when I made the decision to deny myself meals for that month, that it would have an enormous effect on my life. At the time I was doing it because I felt responsible for the meetings, and I put effort in for the cause of the crusade, and yet God rewarded me personally. And this has happened so often in my life that I have to recognise that it is a principle. Accepting this lifestyle, and practising self-denial for the right reasons, provides God an opportunity to touch areas in our lives that He’s never been able to get near before.
Experiences from Life
by Joanna Barratt
Giving God rights...
"...practising self-denial for the right reasons, provides God an opportunity to touch areas in our lives that He’s never been able to get near before."
Maurice & Joanna Barratt
For many years Maurice and Joanna have traveled extensively both throughout the UK and abroad. They will prayerfully consider any invitation to speak because they are so passionate about discipleship and challenging Christians to live and experience what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. If you would like to get in touch with them please complete the following form:
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