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.”
District conferences begin in The Wesleyan Church in June. Many ministers will be recognized in the ordination services. In this edition, we share the experiences of our sisters in Christ and their perspectives regarding ministerial preparation.
Encouraging One Another
Bringing the Good News and getting fruit is a challenging task. The only way to make disciples is to persist in the way of Christ. God sends the people who will be part of your development to make you grow and form you in this process. And at the same time, God allows you to be part of the formation and process of others who will bear witness of Christ in their lives.
The word says that “the harvest is great, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). In the Great Lakes Region, this is being fulfilled: The Hispanic Church is growing and developing, and the Lord is raising those leaders who seek Him in spirit and truth, who are heartily committed to prepare and work for the Kingdom, fulfilling the mission of the Children of God: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
We are living a revival in this Kairos of God; many young people want to serve in the Kingdom.
Iglesia Casa De Restauración (House of Restoration Church) in Wisconsin is committed, has a vision for expansion, and is preparing the leaders who, with their testimony in Christ, will be part of those workers sent by God.
Knowing that many of our church members are studying to become ministers fills us with joy and victory because we know that our work for the kingdom is not in vain. I am grateful to God for being part of this process in the life of each one of these leaders, to be able to see their development between successes and failures, but always moving forward focused on the only one who deserves all the glory and honor, Jesus Christ. I am grateful to be part of this ministry where God planted me and to be able to fulfill his assignment for his grace and undeserved love towards me.
Pastor Adriana Ortiz, along with her husband and three children serve as part of the leadership team at Casa de Restauración Church in New Berlin, Wisconsin.
Building Each Other Up
Why do we go to college?
In the societies in which we live, people are encouraged to study and prepare to be someone well known, to have better opportunities, to obtain diplomas, and even to earn more money and obtain a better quality of life. However, as women who love God, we believe that in our case, it is different. The reasons for which we get training do not contemplate personal motivations or to satisfy the demands of the society; we prepare ourselves to fulfill a mission that is bigger than our life itself: it’s God’s mission.
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1: 14-15 that he feels a debt, not with himself; he has a burden for people, and this is to share the gospel and preach the good news of Salvation. In this text, we find the reason for this effort, the preparation, the education, and the formation. That reason is the duty, the urgency, and the need to be the representatives of Jesus in our house, the city, and the society.
The God of all grace thought that women like you and me, with weaknesses and strengths, would be a leading part of His mission. To this extent, He allows us to influence others, to speak words that can change the history of generations, to stop evil with authority in prayer, and power to illuminate amid the darkness. It is incredible to know that our existence is not fleeting and should not be monotonous and much less meaningless. The life that the Creator has given us belongs to His purpose, to be missionaries filled with the Spirit, to love what the Father loves, and to do even greater things than Jesus did (John 14:12).
For all this, we take a step forward; in the midst of daily fatigue and obligations as women, we walk with our heads held high, looking for a way to acquire and use the tools and weapons that the giver of the mission gives to be effective in the task that has been entrusted to us. This is the reason why we get up early and go to bed late, studying and meditating on the Word, and we open our cupboards and pockets to give joyfully. This is why we take classes, study and read, seek advice, and follow instructions from our mentors and pastors. For all of the above, we get on our knees every day to seek to change the world from there.
Because we are designed to fulfill God’s mission, we leave the name of the Lord high, marking our history and making a difference in this distant land, but promised at the same time. We feel obligated to a world that needs Christ. Therein lies our sense of urgency as we prepare ourselves and fulfill the mission given to us entirely and with all excellence.
Rev. Ingrid Martinez. DMin, Originally from Colombia, she lives in Ohio where, together with her husband, they Pastor the network of churches called: Casa Sobre la Roca (House on the Rock).
Our Wesleyan Heritage
The Wesleyan Church has a rich heritage in the anti-slavery movement in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. One of the precedent bodies of the present denomination was born and flourished under just such a banner. While the current culture is more subtle in its expressions of prejudice than were those of an earlier era, The Wesleyan Church today is and must continue to be as clear cut in denouncing prejudice as were our founding fathers.
“We believe each individual possesses the fundamental right to live and be respected as a human being. These rights are derived from being created in the image of God, and from the vicarious death of Jesus Christ for all persons” (Church and Culture, p. 10).
“No person for whom Christ died is worthless. Each individual should be respected as a person of intrinsic worth and dignity, and not subjected to discrimination. Discrimination between people on the basis of ethnicity, color, national origin, gender, age, wealth, or physical challenge should be overcome by the unity of Christian love and common personal submission to Christ” (Church and Culture, p. 10).
“The Wesleyan Church upholds the right of all individuals to equal opportunity politically, economically and religiously, and pledges itself to an active effort to bring about the possession of dignity and happiness by all people everywhere” (2016 Discipline 410:1).
“In spite of some forces which seek to undo our long-standing position on the ordination of women, we refuse to budge on this issue—we will not tolerate the blocking of a person’s ordination due to his or her gender, for we believe that both men and women are called to the ministry and thus should be ordained. Furthermore, we condemn any practice of exclusive male- only leadership on boards or committees in the church, excluding women from these positions by either public policy or unofficial behind-the-scenes agreed-upon policy, for we believe that when it comes to God’s gifts, graces and callings, there is neither male nor female” (“Statement on Social Issues,” adopted by the 1996 General Conference).
We believe that our experience over the past 150 years affirms the fact that the Holy Spirit anoints and blesses the ministry of women. We can provide examples of pastors, evangelists, preachers, teachers, missionaries, church planters and church leaders who have rendered Spirit-anointed and Spirit-empowered service. They have won thousands of converts, recruited scores of ministers and leaders (both male and female), established scores of churches, developed mission fields, and taught entire generations of ministers in some overseas fields— often serving where no one else would go.
On the basis of the total teaching of Scripture, the sovereign call of God to women, and the demonstration of divine sanction and empowerment of women in ministry in our own denominational history, as well as that of the larger holiness movement, The Wesleyan Church affirms that woman is fully equal to man in terms of her responsibility, as directed by the Holy Spirit and authorized by the Church, to preach, teach, lead, govern or serve in any office or ministry of the Church.
Prepared by the Task Force on Women in the Ministry appointed by the General Board of The Wesleyan Church; Revised 2019. “Our Wesleyan Heritage” excerpt from www.wesleyan.org/ecd/women-in-leadership
When you think you can run away from God (haha)!
I could run away from God’s call to go to seminary, but neither the language, nor the culture, nor the distances would prevent God’s plans for my life; I also thought the same thing when I left my native country, “I left God’s call for my life in the South.” But no, that is not possible. Or that’s what I thought, that when I left my home country – I left God’s call for my life in the South.” It was evident that I had yet to read Psalm 139.
When I had my “Jesus moment,” that is, when I “accepted Him into my heart” in the summer of 2012 here in the North, in my prayer times, God reminded me of the words He spoke about me as a child. But still, I decided to take action on my own, to get married and do the things I didn’t plan to do but knew would honor God. From time to time, my pastor, in comments, would highlight some God-given gifts and talents for me, and I always made excuses until, one day, I ran out of them. So instead of going to seminary (for ministry training), seminary came to me.
In 2014, I took my first FLAMA class, and although it seemed like an eternity while raising my babies, in 2019, I regained some focus, and with the support of my family and again at the invitation of my pastor, I returned to what my daughters call “The School of God.”
It has not been easy, but I want to remind you that if God has given you a word or a promise, keep believing, keep trusting, keep giving, and don’t give up on doing good.
As a young mother working part-time, involved in different ministries, and a ministerial student, the word “overwhelming” can be an understatement. But praise God for his help and strength.
This summer, there are many things to celebrate; my eleventh year of being born again, my tenth wedding anniversary, and last but not least, I finished the first line of my “ministerial career,” becoming a Licensed Minister in The Wesleyan Church.
While my desire is to become an ordained minister, for now, I want to pause, enjoy God’s blessings, and encourage you if you are a ministerial student. I know it is difficult, but we can do all things with God’s strength.
Daniela Galindo-Cabriales, a disciple of Jesus, wife, mom & worship leader, wannabe Podcaster, created the “RedRoom Conversations” podcast RedRoom Conversations • A podcast on Spotify for Podcasters— and blog The Daniela Writes Journal (redroomconversations.blogspot.com) Wisconsinite by adoption, Mexican at heart.