The church has banned the no-lipstick rule. Pants, shorts, sandals, T-shirts, even doughnuts and coffee are in. Yet, as your last cover story stated, some 20-somethings are not biting ("Looking for Reality," by Cameron Strang, May/June). Perhaps we need more sermons such as Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, huh? That seemed to work well! Sure we need to work on our bait as fishers of men but perhaps the difference in the effectiveness between God's bait and the devil's is in the eye of the beholder. Romans 1:20 says that the crude bait of conscience and nature leaves even the remotest person "without excuse," much less a 20-something in gospel-saturated America. After all, they have not stopped investing on Wall Street because of Enron and Global Crossing!
You did a wonderful job on your article on ministering to singles ("Standing Alone," by Cristina Foor, May/June). This is vital to the life of each church. I know there are hundreds of needy moms who are single for one reason or another. On Mother's Day, how many will attend services to honor the sacrifices that these parents make every day? They must be the father and mother of the family. Many are singled out for sin they may not have committed. Our churches require revival beginning with the heart and spreading into our social lives. Thank you for standing with the needy and the mothers who are more than mothers.
Thank you for featuring our church, Broken Arrow Assembly of God, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in the May/June issue ("Two Churches 'Trading Spaces,'" Ministry Matters). We are delighted you were able to share our story with your readers. Recognition in your publication means a great deal to us, and perhaps news of this will inspire other congregations to find avenues to work together. I can tell you that almost a year later, we are closer to our friends at First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow than we are to some of our own Assemblies of God churches! The article was accurate in every detail, save one minor detail. While I was quoted in the article, I am "a" pastor on a staff of nine, but I am not "the" pastor. Michael Goldsmith is the senior pastor of Broken Arrow Assembly. A quick read could easily mistake me as "the pastor." I understand this error is hardly worth mentioning, and there have been absolutely no repercussions. I thought a kind word and thank you would be in order. I just wanted you to know for your records. Thank you for the service you offer to the body of Christ. We need Ministries Today.
Broken Arrow Assembly of God
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Larry Keefauver, I appreciated your column, "Equipped for What?" (Practical Pastoring, May/June). It was right to the point. Sadly, most pastor-led churches tend to be strong in nurture and care but marginal at best at preparing, equipping and leading. Many (Peter Wagner, others) would indicate that the missing element is the apostolic/prophetic foundations. I would certainly concur. The reality is that most pastors either believe they are equipping the saints via the Sunday a.m./Wednesday night (or home fellowship group) format, are ill-equipped (have never been trained), or do not have the resources (adequate materials and support) to actually prepare a man or woman for effective kingdom service. Again, thanks for your spot-on article. Keep up the good work.
Stan E. DeKovaen, Ph.D.
Women in Ministry:The Debate Continues
I must take exception to the article by Sharon Predovich, "Overcoming the Obstacles to Women in Ministry" (March/April). How does she deal with 1 Timothy 3:1-2, which reads: "This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach"? (emphasis mine, KJV). The same goes for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-12. Perhaps the problem lies in the place of service. God may be calling her and other women who claim a calling to the ministry to a work suited for women. They can teach children, serve in medical ministries and perform other works that they feel are demeaning. The fact of the matter is they cannot deny the words "man," "he" and "husband." There is plenty of work to do, including evangelizing to neighbors and friends. Let us all be about the Great Commission.
Orange Springs, Florida
Pastor Sharon, having just finished your article on overcoming gender prejudice, I was stirred to respond. Because of my own experience as a female senior pastor, I have come to the conclusion that when Father God calls a woman into pulpit ministry it is because He personally has faith in His heavenly creation, or He uniquely enjoys challenging a woman, or because of His extreme sense of humor. Maybe it's all three, but nevertheless, before I heard the "call" or felt the "fire," I was thrilled with a career in art. I was born with a natural talent in painting and illustration, and my work was my hobby. I did not look, try, cry or desire to be in "ministry." But I heard His call and answered. My desire was to please Jesus no matter what the cost. Little did I know how costly it would be. Immediate persecution came from the church and the body of Christ, followed by indignation and humiliation of the family. Being a female pastor has not been the most popular profession on God's earth, but it certainly has been a challenge. The article was great, Sharon. Thanks for spilling the beans, and hopefully you have enlightened many of those of us who have risen out of the same pew. We bless you!
Sharon, I just finished reading your excellent article. It is apparent that you love the Lord and have purposed to serve Him with your whole life. It sounds like you have had to fight much opposition and judgment in your life as a believer, and I personally know how much that can hurt. I am glad that you have found peace about all of this with your Maker. I feel the need to speak what God has spoken (for quite some time now) to my heart about women pastors. This is in no way a judgment of you, or any women in church leadership, but it is what God has spoken to me through His Word. I am sure that you have studied scriptures such as 1 Timothy 2:11-14, 1 Corinthians 14:33-38, Ephesians 5:22-33 and Genesis 3:16, which all deal with the subject of submission. My point is that God has a divine reason for these instructions for men (only) to fill the office of deacon or bishop. I don't fully understand this, but our almighty God does. I am not telling you that you should not be the senior pastor of your church; that is between you and God. What I am saying is that we all, both men and women, must take heed of the Apostle's Doctrine. My sister, I share your heart, passion and conviction for the Lord. I am just saying that the Lord knows best and He has a reason for the divine order of men and women in His church.
Pastor Sharon, thank you so very much for your article. As an ordained minister, I too have experienced many of the things that you have written about. Thanks be to God for the fivefold ministry gifts that are operating in the body of Christ in the way He intended, not by position only but through commissioning. Thank you for embracing your "boot camp" that gave birth to Women's International Ministries Network (WIMN). I am so excited that there is a network for women in ministry that gives support like WIMN.