8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28: 8-10, NIV
Shepastor: “When God Sends Women…”
Jesus’ ministry was inclusive. He did not adhere to the societal norms that marginalized and disenfranchised people based upon their race, gender, religion or ethnicity. Jesus loves us. This particular passage of scripture shows how Jesus was not concerned about the fact that those who came to the tomb first were women. He did not dismiss them and say, “Go get men. These women can’t carry my message!”
NO! Jesus entrusted the women with the first word from the tomb! “Tell them that I am ALIVE!!!”
What an honor and blessing it was to the meet each week, November 2nd, 9th and 16th, 2020, with BEAUTIFUL Sisters who came together to listen, share and participate in the 3 week Master Class, “When God Sends Women,” (Based upon my book, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors, Judson Press, 2013) on the weekly Zoom Women’s Ministry program, “Let’s Talk.” Women shared openly and transparently as we explored together the concept and realities of the “Stained Glass Ceiling.”
We discussed barriers spoken and unspoken, words of wisdom, caution and encouragement and the importance of ”allies and power brokers.” I owe a special debt of gratitude to Rev. Jewel M. London and Dr. Carol Lynn Patterson who invited me to teach the class and provided their platforms weekly for the sessions. They also embraced, advanced and continue to advocate for the “Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling Endowment” for African American Women Senior Pastors of small, struggling congregations. I also shout out Pastor Patty Harris for sharing her radio platform for the replays of the classes. You can still hear session 3 on “Free Your Mind,” (See flyer above). To God be the glory for the GREAT things He has done!!!
While the class was free, participants were encouraged to make a donation to the Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling Endowment (select the pull down menu and click on ISOE Beyond the Stained Glass Endowment). This fund was born out of a desire to help African American women pastors to survive and thrive. So often women in general and African American women in particular find themselves only receiving calls to “Lazarus” churches (learn more about that in the class!). This endowment will offer 2 grants per year to two selected pastors based upon the grant criteria.
During Session 3, we invited “allies and power brokers,” to join us. We were blessed by the presence and words of Rev. Miriam Mendez, Executive Minister of American Baptist Churches of New Jersey; Rev. Jeffrey Johnson, Senior Pastor of Eastern Star Church of Indianapolis; and. Bro. Vincent Dent, Chief Development Officer of the American Baptist Home Missions Societies.
Each guest shared their own personal experiences as or with women in ministry, the authenticity of our calls, the importance and necessity of our leadership and the necessary response of the Church. I also thank my own spiritual father, my seminary pastor, the Rev. Dr. Cleopatrick Lacy, for speaking to us about his history of learning and serving alongside women in ministry, as well as the doors the Lord has blessed him to open for women pastors, including me!
While the class has ended, the mission continues! We praise God for those who not only verbally recognize, but support and advocate for the women God chooses to send! May we continue to press on, by faith!
In faith, hope and perseverance,