Arise Releases Video in Support of Women in Ministry
By Melanie Thigpen
The statements read and heard by various women in ministry within the Church of God should be no surprise, especially to most women called to ministry and those leading as pastors. A new video released by Arise provides some of the most prominent, often shocking, examples. Many clergywomen have been affirmed throughout the church, but that’s not every woman’s story. Many haven’t been supported, advocated for, or affirmed. They have experienced prejudice or heard negative comments regarding their God-given abilities to preach, prophesy, and dream (Acts 2:17). To those who haven’t, God indeed affirms women in ministry, and so do we.
Have you ever been amazed at the strength and vitality of women, especially through adversity? Think about it. We all know someone who has had to overcome a “bump in the road.” Imagine the number of women who had to overcome several bumps along their journeys. Some women feel the bumps in the road may seem natural. Women keep going while many of the bumps grow to be hills and, eventually, mountains. Many of these mountains aren’t natural to their environment. They’ve been constructed slowly, over time. Stone by stone, the bumps and hills continue to grow, yet still, women continue the trek.
Throughout history, we’ve seen women consistently rise above obstacles that would constrain and restrict them. Shiphrar and Puah overcame a king’s command to murder Hebrew children. Tamar overcame her patriarchal society, while Rahab wisely tread uphill to survive through war and death. Phoebe was a leader in the church in a time when women were not readily given leadership roles—that’s a mountain terrain in and of itself! In some places, it seems that women like Susan B. Anthony continued to have an uphill journey so women could control their earnings, own property, and vote. Rosa Parks didn’t allow the mountain to stop her, and her choice to continue sparked a journey that allowed many to gain equal rights. Although many historical women had difficult paths, today there is no lack of bumps, cracks, holes, ditches, hills, valleys, and, of course, mountains along the way.
A glimpse into the life and path of women in ministry shows it isn’t always an adventurous and refreshing hike. Unfortunately, in the evangelical church, it can be treacherous. For many clergywomen, it’s much more like an uphill expedition on a mountain where she and her male counterparts receive what they need except, along the way, she may hear how inferior she is compared to her male cohorts. As she treks higher, the oxygen levels deplete, and everyone looks to see if she will break down emotionally or strap on the oxygen. Another woman may hear how she looks better going up the hill than down, while everyone else didn’t want her on this journey in the first place. Still, she continues upward.
“Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed, the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world, and all the inhabitants in it.” —Nahum 1:5 NASB
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” —Isaiah 60:1 NIV
Sisters, continue to speak to the mountains of adversity and climb high. Clergywomen, arise, shine, and thrive in your call to the glory of God!
Rev. Dr. Arnetta McNeese Bailey, Arise women in ministry convener
Rev. Tatum M. Osbourne, Arise NextGen coordinator
Rev. Kayla Robinson Harden, Arise women in ministry liaison
Rev. Jim Lyon, Church of God Ministries general director; Rev. Clifton McDowell, National Association of the Church of God presiding elder and board chairman; Rev. Dr. Steve Rennick, Christian Women Connection board member, regional pastor; Rev. Handel Smith, Church of God Ministries executive director of US & Canada Strategy
Exodus 1:17–20; Genesis 38:1–30; Joshua 2; Romans 16:1–2; Nahum 1; Isaiah 60
Learn more about Arise at www.arisechog.org.