Thriving Together is a newsletter for women serving in or preparing for ministerial leadership in The Wesleyan Church. Each month, we want to embody 1 Thessalonians 5:11: 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Encouraging One Another

“In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Gen 1:27, 31)  

God created us female. As a female pastor and preacher, sometimes this feels like a good thing, at other times it doesn’t. I might not say it this directly, but how I think about myself as a preacher makes it plain. Sometimes, as I practice a sermon, I compare myself to male preachers. I find myself speaking in ways that aren’t me. This happens if I try to imitate any preacher, but since the pastoral world is still male-dominated, the values of how a good preacher preaches can be skewed toward characteristics that tend to be more male.

When I realize what I am doing, I have feelings of not being enough – not bold enough, not competitive enough… not male enough. I laughed after writing that. I may not be male enough, but I am female enough! God made me female, and he called this very good.

Think about others God made.

God made Zacchaeus short. God used his stature to preach.

God created Mary of Bethany female. Jesus used her gender to preach.

God designed you and me female, and he uses our gender when we preach.

Who God created you to be is the very thing he is using to bring his grace into your world. Our culture takes God’s good things and calls them liabilities. In the Kingdom, these are the very things that God uses to preach. God’s creative variety is always more beautiful than the narrowness humans value.

Be who God created you to be, especially as you preach. Preach like a girl!  

Rev. Catherine Howie is the campus pastor of Trinity Church / Garfield Park in Indianapolis and preaches weekly. Her most important ministry, however, is to her three granddaughters who “play” church and take turns preaching. 

Building Each Other Up

I was sitting in my mentor’s office when he said, “you have been called.” I knew this to be true, but he was the first to say it out loud. This meeting was the beginning of a journey that took me from my private dealings with God on this matter to the pursuit of ordination.

March of 2022, I attended the Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy conference. While there, the Lord revealed that He wanted me to preach. I let my pastor know that I was preparing regardless if I had the opportunity or not. His response was to put me on the calendar to preach, and I did.

That same pastor, my mentor, soon left to serve another church. I thought my preaching opportunities might have left with him. They did not  I thought his mentoring had ended. It has not. I preached again and am scheduled to preach multiple times over the next few months. My former pastor watched the sermon that was delivered after he had moved on. He gave me the quality feedback I have always come to know.

If the Lord is prompting you to pursue pastoral ministry, speak it to a trusted mentor. If you are called to preach, begin to prepare. PreacHer Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate and encourage women to preach the Word of God. Let it be known you are ready.

Rev. Nancy Pike has been on staff as worship pastor at LifeSpring Wesleyan Church in Richmond, Indiana for the past seventeen years. She received her Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Wesley Seminary in 2021 and was ordained in June of 2022. 

Doing Ministry

I am Pastor Bethany Tippin, and I recently jumped out of my previous ministry position as a Worship and Creative Arts Pastor (Sheridan, WY) and into the wilderness of the “unknown,” following the compassionate voice of Jesus unto my soul— “Bethany, come away with me for a while and rest; I need you strong for what is next.” This change came on the heels of five years of active church ministry and the culmination of my MDiv degree with Wesley Seminary. God is rewriting my definitions of doing ministry and what it means to represent female leaders in the kingdom of God.

Today I work as the Spiritual Caregiver (hospice chaplain) for Sheridan Memorial Hospital, where I am privileged to minister directly to patients and families who stand at the precipice between life and death. Chaplaincy is deep-in-the-trenches, hands-on, pastoral work. It looks like purposeful listening, active presence, encouragement, and acceptance via prayer, blessing, compassion, and pastoral counseling. I get to bring Communion and worship to those who can no longer attend church services, study scripture with those needing support, and hold space for those looking death in the eye, wondering about their final resting place. Daily, Jesus shows up and highlights his transformative Presence. I witness real-life stories and testify to the importance of all people, pray with those who are finally ready to accept God, and sometimes even baptize! It is incredible to take spiritual life and development beyond the church walls and into folk’s living rooms, shifting their faith experience from Sundays to every day.

Additionally, I actively disciple 18 women at various stages of life and faith. This discipleship looks like spiritual mentoring, friendship, and spiritual direction in both 1-1 and group settings. I recently began a writing and ministry platform via Facebook and Instagram @lectioinlife with a friend, where we share devotional posts and reels focused on helping people see God in every day. Lastly, I am actively praying through, developing, experimenting with, and proposing a virtual church plant through the Northwest District.

Rejoicing, Praying, Giving Thanks

“Father, we praise You for women who were and are preaching your Gospel with fervor and anointing. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!”

Dr. Dee Stokes is a former collegiate basketball coach who now coaches on cultural intelligence and leadership. She is a teaching pastor at Greensboro Christ Wesleyan Church.