Thirteen hundred women gathered in March at the first-ever national
Assemblies of God Women in Ministry Conference in Springfield, Mo.,
designed to encourage, motivate and strengthen women in their ministerial
calling. A task force committee formed to organize the conference.
college students, missionaries, pastors, pastors wives and
layworkers, came from 46 states and 22 countries.
"We find ourselves at a point in which the role of women in the
church and ministry is being debated within the evangelical community
and even within our own ranks in America," says conference coordinator
Beth Grant. "This conference is a tangible expression of our executive
leaderships support for women in ministry."
Those who attended the conference availed themselves of a variety of
growth opportunities that included five general sessions and two days
of workshops, all focused on the importance and roles of women in ministry
and on equipping women through a deeper relationship with God.
Attendees, including college students, missionaries, pastors, pastors
wives and layworkers, came from 46 states and 22 countries. One hundred
and forty college students attended the conference.
"The different speakers and sessions inspired and challenged me
to let there be no limit to what I believe God can do through me,"
says Sarah Holmes, student at Central Bible College. "Jesus knows
and loves who I am, and He makes no mistakes in His call."
For many attendees, meeting other women encouraged them that they were
not alone. "What I appreciated most about the conference was seeing
that there are women like me out there," says Jennifer Gale, associate
pastor at Evangel Temple Christian Center (Springfield, Mo.). "Sometimes
we dont see many women ministers."
The conference focus was not on gender issues, but on Gods call
for individuals. Grant believes that the future of the A/G depends on
the faithfulness of individuals, both men and women, to what God has
called and empowered them to do.
According to George O. Wood, general secretary of the A/G, the Board
of Administration hoped to raise the visibility of women in ministry
through the conference and to keep faith with the Pentecostal movements
"In the Assemblies of God, we have always believed God is an equal
opportunity employer," Wood says. "We want to do everything
we can to encourage the development of women in ministry, and encourage
young women who are in training for ministry in our schools."