Psalm 94: Praying our Anger by Alicia Porterfield

“O Lord, you God of vengeance . . . give to the proud what they deserve! . . . Repay them for their iniquity and wipe them our for their wickedness; the Lord our God will wipe them out!”–Psalm 94:1-2, 23

The “imprecatory” parts of the Psalms tend to make us modern Christians squirm a bit. It’s understandable. How do we hold together the people’s call for God’s vengeance against enemies with Jesus’ call to love our enemies? Do we really want to pray that God will “wipe them out?”

In the true spirit of authenticity that pervades the Psalms, the ancient Israelites did not edit out this vengeful part of themselves. Here in Book IV of the Psalms, the Israelites are exiled to Babylon, clinging to their salvation story with God, scraping together every bit of their history and faith to get through this desperate time. The days of an independent, flourishing kingdom of Israel are gone. They are defeated and the temple destroyed. They are living from the underside, captives in a foreign land.

From this trodden-down place of defeat, they pray the fullness of their emotions and experience. They are in desperate distress and God is their only hope of help and rescue. So they call for God’s faithful judgment to rain down, bringing deliverance for the victims and immediate disempowerment for those abusing their power.

I am reminded that before I judge too harshly this call for vengeance against evildoers, that I have never been the direct victim of a horrible wrong. I have never been displaced, physically harmed or wounded, sexually assaulted or lost a loved one to violence. Who am I to judge the honest prayers of those who have been harmed?

At some level, it seems to me that the cry for vengeance is one line in a song, a desperate, angry high note for the violence to stop and life to be made right again. The singer longs for the evildoers to experience the depth of their wrongs against others. But the larger song is a call for justice, for people to live in right relationship with God and one another.

And it is only in the hands of God where our feelings of vengeance on the way to justice can be held safe and ultimately, transformed. Perhaps it is when we tell the truth in prayer about what we are really, truly feeling—especially those “unacceptable” feelings like vengefulness—that we are on the way to being shaped into peacemakers.
 

Alicia Davis Porterfield is a minister, mom, and moderator of a communal blog, Ministry and Motherhood. A board certified chaplain, she is currently serving as interim pastor at First Baptist Church, Carolina Beach, North Carolina, and loves learning alongside her clergy husband and three boys, ages nine, eleven, and thirteen.

Because I Know What It’s Like to Live Without Support by Tracy Hartman

“Why do I give to Baptist Women in Ministry? Because I know the importance of support for women ministers, and I know what it’s like to live without that kind of support.” – Tracy Hartman

 

 
Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join Tracy as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.
 

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Tracy Hartman is the Daniel O. Aleshire Professor of Homiletics and Practical Theology at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. In addition to teaching, she enjoys serving as a coach, interim pastor, and supply preacher. She and her husband Jay have two grown children.

Because We All Have Something to Give by Catherine Bahn

Mary Lillian Warner.

Corn bread, greens, pork chops, and hugs.

These are the reasons why I give to Baptist Women in Ministry.

I met Mary Warner eight years ago, while working in the Arkansas Delta. Mary cooked for the hundreds of volunteers that our organization hosted during the summer. Each morning she would rise before the sun and begin to prepare food for people that she didn’t know. Through the years, I watched as our volunteers grew to know Mary, love Mary, and devour her food.

In the eyes of the world, Mary didn’t have much to offer, but she constantly gave all she had. Mary spent her life serving other people. She gave up school to take care of her family, gave up a career to raise other people’s children. She took in her friends when they had nowhere to go.

She was a Baptist woman in ministry.

One of the most important lessons I learned from Mary is that we all have gifts. We all have something to give. And it’s our job as Christians to affirm the gifts of others around us—our children, our parents, our students, our co-workers.

BWIM affirmed my gift as a young Baptist woman serving in ministry in the Delta.

I support BWIM monthly to help affirm the gifts of other women. I give to affirm the Mary Warners in the world. And I pray we affirm those around us daily.

Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join Catherine as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.

Catherine Bahn lives and works at the Lucky Star Farm in Rush, Arkansas. She previously served as co-director of Together for Hope, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Rural Poverty Initiative in the Arkansas Delta. 

 

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THIS IS WHAT A MINISTER LOOKS LIKE: Joy Yee

Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister, and today, we are pleased to introduce you to Joy Yee.

Joy, tell us about your current ministry?

I serve as the lead pastor at Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco, California, where I have been since 2005 after a church merge. The church is small, diverse, and filled with wonderful people I love.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced in your ministry journey?

There have been several major challenges in my ministry journey. The first was overcoming the prevalent idea in Baptist life at the time that women should not be senior pastors. I felt this challenge at the national, state, local, and church family level, with the latter being the most difficult to handle because I was in the community that had raised and nurtured me in faith.

A  second challenge I have faced was leading a church people away from Robert’s Rules toward a discernment model for decision-making. Acts 15 become our model for conversation, prayer, scripture, and trust in God’s Spirit to lead within the wisdom of the community. This shift took about five years to be fully engaged and shaped.

A third challenge for me has been figuring out how to be and do church in an urban area that is filled with people who are open to spirituality but distrust Christianity for one reason or another.

A  fourth challenge is a current one. A mentor shared with me once that in order to pastor long term, we need to “reinvent” ourselves two or three times. We cannot stay the same all the time. I’m not exactly sure what that means for me or my ministry, but I have been feeling the need for something to change in who I am, how I am, and what I do as a pastor.

A final challenge has been ongoing from the beginning of my ministry. About every fourth month in my thirty years of ministry, I wonder if I’m doing a good enough job and whether there is anything I should be doing differently or better. Sometimes I think everything is okay. Other times I consider launching all sorts of great outreach programs, preaching in the original Hebrew and Greek, and becoming more of a winsome extrovert. These plans last about a half a day, and then sanity returns.

What do you love best about your ministry position?

I love the long term relationships I have within the church family–serving with people from birth to death. It is a blessing to walk alongside people through all the experiences of life. I also love pointing people to God.

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Ministry is all about being faithful, not necessarily successful.
Try not to get in the way of what God is doing in a person’s life.
Whatever happens in a church can be used to mature people in Christ.

Because Minister Doesn’t Mean Mr. by Jake Hall

“We give to Baptist Women in Ministry because we want to at least be as smart as our three year old.”


 
Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join Jake as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.
 

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Jake Hall is pastor at Highland Hills Baptist Church, Macon, Georgia.

Because Someone Gave Before Me by Tiffany Brown

I give for Emma. So that at three-years-old she can preach with abandon, proclaiming “God says. . .,” at the foot of a putt-putt hole marker. I give so that she will continue to be inspired by women in ministry and her calling won’t be limited, capped, or squashed.

I give for Kathy. So that when her church closes their doors on her, she can still find a voice. I give so that a woman in the pulpit will encourage her, fill her lifelong emptiness with a new perspective of God, and give her the courage needed to reshape her faith.

I give for Adam. So that when he condemns and questions the calling of the women ministers in his life, they find a safe place to explore their calling and find support and financial assistance to enable them to be true to who God has created them to be. I give for Adam, because one day he will find himself working alongside gifted women in ministry, and perhaps one day God will change his heart.

I give because someone gave before me. Someone before me believed that women were capable of this honorable calling to ministry. Someone before me shared my pain and joy for this calling and then reminded me of who I was and whose I was. Someone before me helped me to drown out negative voices and see vast potential in God’s Kingdom.

I am a monthly giver to Baptist Women in Ministry, because I have felt personally the energy that comes from their advocacy, the strength that comes with connecting to other women, and the power that comes with their network. That experience has in turn been passed on to Emma, Kathy, and Adam.

May the ripples never cease!

Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join Tiffany as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.

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Tiffany Brown is the associate pastor of First Baptist Church, Mocksville, North Carolina.

Because I Have Been a Witness by Courtney Allen

“Because I have been a witness to the powerful ministry of remarkable women, I give to Baptist Women in Ministry.”–Courtney Allen, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia

Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join Tracy as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.

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Courtney Allen is pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia.

Because No One Should Sit Alone by David Tew

I give monthly to Baptist Women in Ministry, because women need to be resourced in fulfilling their calling in ministry and churches need to be encouraged to practice the equanimity of believers taught by Jesus Christ. At our church, as is the case with many faithful Baptist churches, we are blessed by the ministry of ordained women on our ministerial staff. We frequently hear female voices in proclamation from our pulpit. Women have been ordained into both the deaconate and ministry here. Looking at our church, and Baptist churches like us, the need for BWIM might not be apparent.

Yet our church is still not the norm in Baptist life. Many churches still do not consider women candidates during their pastor-search processes. Many pulpits are closed to women preachers except on rare special occasions. Women are still titled “director,” while men on the same staff are given the “minister.” Women seeking to be the ministers God called them to be need the resources of BWIM to overcome enormous obstacles. Churches need to be encouraged to exemplify kingdom values in providing places for women to serve in ministry. Through doing both, BWIM helps us realize the full potential of the community of faith.

Recently, my wife visited our daughter’s church, a church where I formerly served. A couple invited my wife to sit with them. As the service began, a worship leader announced that there was a health crisis in the pastor’s family and that a woman minister on the staff (ordained during my tenure) was preaching. The couple got up and left the service, leaving my wife sitting alone.

There are too many Baptists who believe that God has gifted and called women into ministry but who are still sitting alone. That is why I give monthly to Baptist Women in Ministry.

David Tew is pastor of First Baptist Church, Morrow, Georgia.

Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join David as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.
 

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Because You are a Minister by Sarah Greenfield

With misty eyes and a half-consumed cup of coffee, I leaned in and said the words, “You are a minister. You are called.” It would take the rest of my cup of coffee to comfort my young, female minister friend as she took in the gravity of my statement. These are familiar words that I often repeat to myself. They were said to me, in much the same fashion, by my trusted friends and mentors. All ministers, perhaps particularly women ministers, face challenges and difficulties in the midst of discerning calling and beyond, and need to hear “You are a minister. You are called.”

Sources of wisdom and encouragement are vital to the successful pursuit of a life lived in ministry. Baptist Women in Ministry has provided me with that life source and for that I am eternally grateful. Connections created because of the ministry of BWIM have sustained me in ways that I never could have imagined. These treasured people cry with me through life’s difficulties, challenge me to embrace and live out my calling, and celebrate with me in sweet moments of ministry.

This time last year I made a commitment to be a BWIM monthly giver. My commitment has caused me to be more invested in the work of BWIM and to seek ways that I can be involved. My husband and I make room in our budgets and in our lives for things that matter. BWIM matters. Women around the world need someone present in their lives to lean in and mutter the words, “You are a minister. You are called.”

Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join Sarah as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.
 

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Sarah Greenfield is Pastor of University Students at First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas.

Because I Love to Connect With Other Women in Ministry by Lynn Brinkley

“Because I love to connect with other women through BWIM mentorships. . .I give because they matter. I give because you matter. I give because I matter.”  – Lynn Brinkley

 


 
Fifty More! Baptist Women in Ministry currently has fifty individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. This week we hope to add fifty more monthly givers to that list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for our work and allow BWIM to continue being an advocate, a network, and a connection for Baptist women ministers! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! We invite you to join Lynn as a monthly giver and to be one of Fifty More by filling out the form below.
 

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C. Lynn Brinkley serves as the director of student services and alumni relations at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Lynn is also an adjunct professor at Campbell and an ordained minister at First Baptist Church in Clinton. For more information about proper attire in the pulpit, check out Lynn’s new book: Manners & Money: A Manual on Preaching Etiquette.