There is work to be done for the Kingdom of God, and something powerful happens when God’s children partner together in ministry.
During the 2017 General Assembly, I gave a Friday night message based on one of God’s greatest promises. It is quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and is found in Joel 2: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).
What God promised through the prophet Joel, He did on the day of Pentecost.
God poured out His Spirit so that we can be empowered and be bold witnesses—starting where we are and going to “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This is a promise for all groups of people. God does not discriminate because of gender, age, or status. The Holy Spirit is available to all of us.
From the time that Phineas Bresee founded the First Church of the Nazarene in Los Angeles, California, USA, to its union with other Holiness groups in 1908, women preachers and leaders have very much been a part of the life of our church. In a Herald of Holiness article penned in 1930, General Superintendent J. B. Chapman articulated the denominational stance: “The fact is that God calls men and women to preach the gospel, and when He does so call them, they should gladly obey Him and members of the church and of the ministry should encourage and help them in the fulfillment of their task. This is the teaching of the New Testament, the logic of the new dispensation, the position of the Church of the Nazarene.”
We rejoice that women clergy are using their gifts and serving God and our denomination as senior pastors, co-pastors, church planters, chaplains, educators, evangelists, compassionate ministries directors, and in other areas of ministry. The last twenty years have seen a significant increase in the number of young women called into ministry. Today nearly 30 percent of all religion students in Nazarene institutions are women. In 2017 in the United States/Canada region, 33.7 percent of the newly ordained clergy, 21.4 percent of total clergy, 36.1 percent of associate pastors, and 10.2 percent of senior pastors were women. These percentages were all record highs.
Something powerful happens when God’s sons and daughters partner together in ministry. They provide a glimpse of the coming kingdom already at work in the world.
David W. Graves is a general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene.
Holiness Today, Sept/Oct 2018