The Just Gospel Conference was a series of conversations, centered around the topic of Justice and the Gospel. In terms of ministry, professionally and personally, this weekend was confirmation for me in many ways. The conversations introduced at the Women’s Panel challenged and convicted me!
In so many ways, I have felt unheard, unknown, and unseen as a woman navigating through the beauties and the realities of the Gospel. In so many ways, I have felt unheard, unknown, and unseen as a single Black woman. I know I am not alone.
This panel was an overview and a teaser of conversations that I hope are happening in living rooms, on pulpits, in coffee shops across gender and ages in America. It’s worth listening to several times. This reflection will be a snippet of the glimpses of grace I encountered in my seat! I’d encourage you to take a listen and begin to process for yourself!
The panelists were Christina Edmondson, Zakiya Jackson, Jadine Johnson, Trillia Newbell, Dennae Pierre, Kristie Anyabwile and Jamie Love. It ran for under 45 minutes and introduced topics such as discipleship, sexual assault and abuse, misogyny, racism, purity culture, mental illness, privilege, leaders as servants, talents and gifts.
Permission to Pursue
Hearing the Women’s Voices on Issues of Justice gave me permission to pursue freedom, to be challenged in my convictions, live boldly and to think and submit to loving God with all my soul, strength, and more specifically mind.
Differences have a place in the body of Christ, and we all can wrestle with the implications of the text while still maintaining the relationship as indispensable members of one another. I don’t have to agree with every conviction stated on that stage that evening and that’s actually okay. I submit to the Word of God, and am still in process.
I fear sometimes as believers we rather overlook the reality that sin has tainted everything, that even in our redeemed state, we are capable of grievous sins. Instead of being realistic with the presence of sin, we deny its existence and call those hurt by sin’s realities crazy, or divisive.
Instead I wish it would be something that propels us towards Christ, towards His mercy and grace, and towards His forgiveness.
The presence of women at The Just Gospel encouraged me to begin to dig deeper in exploring the call to flourish within the means of grace we have been given as Christians! One of the closing questions was: How might women fulfill their purpose while not violating God’s principles?
Christina Edmondson’s asked a thought-provoking question: “How can you be able to guard yourself from the deeply rooted sin of sexism?” I have never heard the question asked, but I beg that pastors will humbly ask themselves.
Jadine Johnson also noted women should not just be made comfortable, but given an opportunity to thrive.
As a single in my late twenties, I too desire to have leadership that is committed to training and preparing women for ministry in the spheres of what is right and biblical. I have no desire to be divisive, but I have seen and experienced the discouragement that several women face in local church contexts — wondering if we might have a seat at the table? The table where truth prevails, where the Holy Spirit lives, teaches and comforts?
There are women who desire to be discipled, pursued and spurred onto good deeds, yet are silenced. The panel did a great job of highlighting the importance of talking about subjects that are often labeled taboo. Among them, mental illness and sexual assault.
The support from the brethren was heavily felt that evening. I was encouraged by several men’s responses. Countless times, I looked over and men were taking notes. Hearing men who love the Lord and His Word, affirm and apologize that these conversations should have been and need to continue was a sort of therapy for me.
I looked over at my pastor who attended the conference, and I could not help but be brought to tears. I thank my Lord for having a shepherd that is aware and willing to learn more about the unique struggles I face as a single, black woman in full-time ministry.
We have a long way to go, but I am hopeful for the future! Not for my sake only, but for the women who have gone before me, and will come after me so that in everything. we might adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.