Doing the Things that Matter
Audrey Broggi has just finished a full day of teaching and meetings, yet she still has a fresh pot of coffee waiting when I arrive at Community Bible Church in Beaufort on a late Friday afternoon. She is polished and articulate, sure of herself and her purpose, and yet immediately warm and engaging. In short, she has all the qualities you'd imagine a successful wife, mother, teacher, radio host, and blogger would have.
Audrey grew up in Florence, South Carolina and attended college at the University of North Carolina. During her involvement there with Campus Crusade for Christ, she met her husband, Carl Broggi, a leader in the organization. After she graduated with a degree in public health, Audrey and Carl married and spent the next five years at Duke University starting a Campus Crusade ministry there.
Her husband's calling to attend seminary led them next to Texas. After seminary, when Carl accepted a position as minister of Community Bible Church in 1990, they moved to Beaufort. She describes driving into Beaufort that first time, saying, "It was late in the day," and that, as they crossed the bridge over the Broad River, she was "overwhelmed with the vastness of the water" and the Spanish moss hanging low from the trees.
Ultimately, the Broggis had five children, and Audrey homeschooled them all. When she first considered the idea of homeschooling, she thought, "That's great, but that's for special people. I could never do that." And yet, eventually she did exactly that, deciding to homeschool after her first child finished kindergarten, and continuing on throughout the entirety of her children's education. She speaks humbly about her role as educator in their lives. "God will work in spite of you," she laughs, recalling some of her teaching experiences, and adds that her children are "highly educated in spite of me." Indeed, they all have impressive resumes themselves, including a compilation of advanced degrees, Ivy League educations, military service, and even White House internships.
A few years after settling in Beaufort, Audrey started Woman's Life, a Bible study in her home that quickly expanded into her church building. As the ministry continued to grow within her church, it also expanded beyond it, as she was asked to travel to other churches to teach her Bible studies based largely on a biblical passage from the book of Titus. Over the years, she has taught in many other settings, including backyard Bible clubs, vacation Bible schools, and high school girls' groups. She also assists with many of Community Bible Church's social events.
When I note that her ministry is largely centered around her husband's ministry, she's quick to agree, saying they are "in this thing together." However, she's also quick to note that she would have been in ministry even if she had remained single, explaining, "I decided I wanted to be in ministry before I met my husband."
About 12 years ago, Audrey broadened her ministry's reach by starting a Friday morning program on The Light 88.7 FM. Later she added a call-in program on Tuesday afternoons, where listeners can call-in or email questions to Audrey. She now also has a blog, Mothering from the Heart, where she addresses many of the issues facing women and mothers.
Today, she is the proud grandmother of what will soon be eight grandchildren. She speaks lovingly of her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren, and feels it is important to be an active part of their lives. With her youngest child now in college, her focus is turning increasingly toward her grandchildren. She says she wants to "invest in the things that matter most, which are people," and later adds, "What drives me most is home and family."
She has built a legacy of service to others, a legacy she hopes to continue. She contemplates this momentarily, reiterating, "I want to do the things that matter." It is exceedingly clear that she is, in fact, focused on what matters most. And everything she does, mothering included, is from the heart.
Exercise: She runs every day unless she's on vacation or visiting family. Then, she laughingly calls the time off her little "built-in break from the Lord."
Other interests: She's a self-described "political junkie" who loves political books and op-eds.
Her blog: Catch up with Audrey and her perspective on life at audreybroggi.com.
On homeschooling: When asked if she ever had moments of doubt, she answers, "All the time," but says the experience "increased my faith because it showed me that God is faithful."
Favorite word: "Bittersweet. It's the best word in the English language," she says, pointing out how it aptly describes so many moments in life.