Tag Archives: women pastors

Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: Mississippi Minister Gives Life Beyond Her Own

Elizabeth & Keith Hall (back) with Delores Bailey.

By Carl Stagner

The pastor of Shady Grove Church of God in Meridian, Mississippi, kept leading her congregation for five-and-a-half years. Others might have opted to let up, slow down, or quit altogether, but Delores Bailey wasn’t going to let cancer get the best of her. She had a divine calling on her life to go and preach the gospel, regardless of the circumstances. Her cancer journey was no cakewalk, but neither were the journeys of people all around her living without Jesus. She had peace; others within her reach needed that same peace. The day before she began her last hospital stay, only one week before she breathed her last, she led two teens to Christ. Her deteriorating condition wouldn’t allow her to baptize these new believers, but as Providence would have it, Delores’s bold witness would continue to give life beyond her own. Continue reading

From the Archives: God is an Equal Opportunity Employer

By Lillie S. McCutcheon

God, our great Creator, designed creation with a purpose. The Scriptures proclaim, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11). Human beings are the crown of creation, made in God’s likeness; and God made them male and female. Continue reading

Celebrating Church of God Women in Leadership Around the World

A collage of Dorothy Colney, Mailes Ndao, and Courtney Rice.

By Megan DeBruyn

At the turn of the twentieth century, labor movements across North America and Europe were gaining momentum, and the landscape of a post-war society was beginning to shift. Birthed out of this movement came women’s suffrage in the western hemisphere, and International Women’s Day along with it. In the years that followed, this worldwide observance has taken on global significance for women in modernized and developing countries alike, seeking to rally around the common goal of female advancement, both politically and economically. Continue reading

Stuck in the Past: Women Still Denied Their Place in Church Leadership

By Megan DeBruyn

Since the early 1900s, American women have been fighting for equal rights and impartial treatment in both society and the workplace. This movement has developed monumentally since its humble origins, and today, women enjoy freedoms across a plethora of fields. The single institution that lags behind the rest is the church. Continue reading

Then and Now: A Closer Look at Two Women Pastors in the Church of God

Photo: Lillie S. McCutcheon

By Megan DeBruyn

The Church of God movement is one born out of a devout commitment to telling the ongoing story of how God is at work among his people. The Church of God is in the business of changing the world around them by making Jesus the subject, and by demonstrating the love of Christ, just as Jesus did. A large part of this narrative, that is both historical and still permeates into congregational discourse communities today, is the role of women within the scope of the movement. Continue reading

Women in Ministry: What Would People Think?

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By Nabil Safi

“What would people think?” is a common response I often got in the past, and still get today, when I have conversations about senior leadership with women from the Middle East. The fear of being judged has crippled women in general to be thriving in the community at-large and, in particular, inside the local church. The fact that a woman lives in a lopsided society that promotes males over females makes it very difficult for her to navigate the conflicting values of equality and personal achievement versus honor-shame and community’s best interest. Consequently, when faced with an invitation to lead, her immediate response is, What would people think? Continue reading

Women in Ministry: The Heart of the Matter

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Photo: Ann Smith speaks at the CWC Luncheon in June 2016.

By Ann Smith

One of the prayers I frequently pray is, “God, make me a contagious follower of you. Remind me that my task is not to defend you, but to reflect you.” In the early days of my faith journey, I felt the main task of a Christian was to defend God and, as a result, I became an abrasive Christian. What a relief it was to discover God was big enough to take care of himself and did not need my defense. Continue reading

Supporting Women in Ministry is NOT Progressive

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Photo: Joshua Brandt

By Joshua Brandt

A while back, I received an e-mail from one of my friends. She was concerned about a church she was checking out online. This church made it very clear that they did not support women in leadership, especially as pastors. She could not believe it. She asked, “Don’t they know it is 2016?” Continue reading

Northern Indiana Church Welcomes First Woman Pastor

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Photo: Kathy Nelson presiding over a Good Friday service.

By Carl Stagner

History has been made at Akron Church of God in Akron, Indiana. Through the years, the flock has been led by shepherds of the highest caliber. These men of God have led the congregation to a deeper walk with Christ and a more pronounced presence in their small town. Under the leadership of these pastors, the church’s journey has been marked by blessings too numerous to count. But now the baton is being passed once again—this time not to a man of God, but to a woman of God. This month, the church celebrates the arrival of Kathy Nelson—Akron’s first-ever woman pastor. Continue reading

Our Sad Secret in the Church of God

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Photo: Lillie McCutcheon

By Bob Moss

Long before I ever heard the word egalitarianism, I saw it being lived out in the church of my childhood. For me it was completely normal and natural to see men and women serving and working together in the church. There was no subjugation of women in the Church of God—or so I thought.

Normal, in my childhood, meant a woman stood in the pulpit. Our pastor, Lillie McCutcheon, a.k.a. “Sister Lillie,” was an iconic figure. My grandparents accepted Christ under her preaching. She presided at my parents’ wedding. She launched my grandfather as a church planter and, as a result of her preaching ministry, I heard God’s call to ministry. Continue reading

Women Senior Pastors Speak Out: An Interview

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By Carl Stagner

From the earliest days of the Church of God movement, women have skillfully served as senior pastors and evangelists. Church of God pioneers like Mary Cole and Lena Shoffner paved the way for more recent heroes of the faith, like the late Lillie McCutcheon (and countless others), who faithfully demonstrated by their gifts their divinely-called roles in the body of Christ. Today, women ministers in the Church of God are speaking out. Offering a glimpse into what it’s like to serve in the vastly male-dominated field of ministry leadership, the following women senior pastors responded to a series of questions in a recent interview with Church of God Ministries: Cheryl Sanders (Third Street Church of God, Washington, D.C.), Diana Swoope (Arlington Church of God, Akron, Ohio), Donna Rothenberger (Whole Life Community Church of God, El Cajon, California), Melissa Pratt (Teays Valley Church of God, Scott Depot, West Virginia), and Shannon New-Spangler (Harvest Point Church of God, Lordstown, Ohio). Continue reading