Wednesday, August 25, 2010

“We’ve Come this Far By Faith: Women Together Lifting and Serving One Another”

For approximately one year, I have been privileged to work with a wonderful team of clergywomen to develop, plan and carry out last week’s female clergy conference, “Women Together Lifting and Serving One Another.” Rev. Yvonne Carter, Managing Director, Event Development - ABC Home Mission Societies; Rev. Dr. Wilma Johnson, Senior Pastor (and Host Pastor for the conference) of New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church and Rev. Marilyn Turner, Associate Executive Director, Program Ministries ABHMS prayed, strategized, “conference called” and surrendered our work to God and He gets the glory!

Clergywomen from across the country came to Detroit, Michigan to attend the conference. What a glorious, victorious, powerful time we had in the LORD! The conference was held on the “campus” of the New Prospect Baptist Church where the Rev. Dr. Wilma R. Johnson joyfully serves as Senior Pastor. What an amazing ministry they have! Each day a warm, welcoming and accommodating team of volunteers met us and assisted us in anyway needed.

The women worshipped together, prayed together, cried together, praised together and shared testimonies together regarding our ministry experiences and life journeys. Excellent, anointed, Holy Ghost filled women served as worship leaders, panelists, preachers and workshop facilitators. Together we grappled with issues among and between women – what helps and hinders our relationships and how we can push past the hurts of yesterday in order to embrace the blessings ahead.

Through powerful sermons and workshops, we were challenged to admit that we are not “Superwomen,” but called to take hold of that “one thing” (as Jesus told Martha) – to rest and be in relationship with Jesus Christ. Something was available for everyone! Workshops were designed to further equip, enhance, encourage and instruct senior pastors as well as ministers serving in a variety of capacities (associate/assistant ministers, pastoral counselors and chaplains).

Here’s a taste of the wonderful opportunities we experienced…

DYNAMIC WORSHIP LEADERS: Sister Joyce Lake and Sister Lizzett Alvarado

For Senior Pastors:

Workshop SP 1
Giving Away My Joy: Navigating the Waters of Pastoral Leadership”
Dr. Wilma Johnson, Pastor, New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church,
Detroit, Mich. God wants us to be successful in our leadership roles.
This workshop focused upon awakening our hearts to can reach God-sized visions
and goals.

Workshop SP 2
Pastor as Person: Balancing Life and Ministry”
Rev. Peg Nowling, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Lafayette, Ind.
Conquering the Oz Syndrome: Using the classic “Wizard of Oz,” we discussed
how to examine and own our choices and move ahead to find the
lives we need and want.

Additional Ministries…

Workshop SM 3

“Whole Woman/Whole Ministry”
Rev. Michelle M. Holmes, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer,
American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, Calif.

Feeling out of balance—taking care of ministry, but not yourself? This
interactive workshop shared ways to maintain balance when ministry
demands conspire to keep us off balance.

Workshop SM 4
Classism, Power, and Influence—Challenges in Ministry in and Beyond
the Local Church and Religious Community”
Rev. Marilyn P. Turner, Associate Executive Director, Center for Mission
and Ministry, American Baptist Home Mission Societies

This workshop explored the roots of and cures for some of the
“girls’-club-isms” that can threaten the ministry potential of women.

General Ministry

Workshop GM 5
Defining the Ministry: We All Have Gifts…Stay in your Lane”
Dr. Deedee Coleman, Pastor, Russell Street Baptist Church, Detroit, Mich.
This workshop helped participants define the ministry they have been called
to do. It was designed to explore how to stay in your lane by using and
nurturing the gifts God has given you! It also explored the dos and don’ts of
ministry along with staying focused on your task while supporting and
encouraging others.

Workshop GM 6
The Power, Purpose, and Importance of Prayer in the Life of the Minister”
Dr. Liliana DaValle, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches
of Rhode Island

This workshop explored the dynamics of a vibrant prayer life as a
necessary and indispensable tool for a healthy and successful ministry.

Focus of the Panel Discussion… “Issues of Support and Encouragement Between and Among Women in Ministry”

As female clergy coming together to “lift and serve one another,” it is
important to identify issues that tend to affect our relationships as
women. The panel discussion explored historic, theological and
cultural factors that inhibit fruitful mentoring and supportive ministry
partnerships. Panelists shared their perspectives and offered suggestions
concerning how we can overcome those factors when they exist and
sincerely support one another in Christian love.
Panel Moderator
Rev. Christine A. Smith, Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church, Wickliffe, Ohio

Rev. Judy G. Allbee, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches
of Connecticut
Rev. Patricia P. Hernandez, Consultant for Leadership Development,
American Baptist Churches of Michigan
Ms. Lunick Papin, Haitian Alliance, Bridgeport, Conn.
Rev. Naomi Kirstein, Pastor, Wellspring Community Church,
Des Moines, Iowa
Rev. Wilma Johnson, Pastor, New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church,
Detroit, Mich.
Rev. Marilyn P. Turner, Associate Executive Director, Center for Mission
and Ministry, American Baptist Home Mission Societies

Friday Evening Spiritual Direction Sessions
Rev. Patricia P. Hernandez, Certified in Spiritual Direction,
Shalom Institute of Spiritual Formation, Bethesda, Md.
The spiritual life is concerned with our relationship with God. Spiritual
direction involves paying attention to the movement of God in our lives.
Participants were given the opportunity to sign up on-site for a one-on-one session with Rev. Hernandez.

Rev. Marie Onwubuariri MacArthur Community Baptist Church,
San Pablo, Calif.; Preached Thursday Evening, “The Super Woman Takes a Seat!”
Luke 10: 38-42

Dr. Jan McCormack Assistant Professor of Chaplaincy and
Pastoral Counseling
, Denver Seminary, Littleton, Colo.;
Friday Afternoon Self-Care Seminar: “The Death of the Superwoman Syndrome”

Dr. Charles Adams Pastor, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church,
Detroit, Mich.; Friday Evening Worship

Oh what a time, what time! If you did not make it – you missed a tremendous blessing. However, here’s some good news – the women have requested that we do this again next year! Let’s pray together that God will open the necessary doors to make this time of refreshing and renewal available again in the coming year. Also, you will have an opportunity to meet some of the wonderful sisters I was privileged to meet during the conference through the upcoming blogs. Their testimonies will inspire, uplift and encourage you as their journeys come to life through the sharing of their ministerial experiences.

Have questions about the conference? Were you a participant? Do you have a testimony of praise and/or special insight that you would like to share? Post a comment or send me an email at

In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

1 comment:

  1. I bless the Lord, that I was able to attend the conference, and to be spiritually fed by
    Dr.Adams, Pastor Wilma Johnson, Pastor Dee Coleman, and others, Defining my Ministry spoke volumes to me. The one that had the most profound effect on me, was "The Death of the Superwoman." I truly took a close look at myself, and looked at all of the tings that I do in the course of one week, and wonder why God gives me much grace to accomplish the many things that I undertake. I have to prioritize my work, and also take some time for me.I also have a great mentor, who I can share my innermost concerns, and get advice from.She just happens to accept me Like Jesus does "Warts and all." It is comforting for me to have a female pastor, who knows and understands the dynamics and the struggles of women in Ministry. She is
    indeed my pastor. The Reverend C.A.Smith, The Shepastor