I was in the Bahamas about a month ago to meet with several pastors there regarding affiliating with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida. A couple of weeks prior to my visit, Bob Mulkey, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Port Orange, had been there for a week to teach in the Abaco Theological Institute, a ministry of CBF Florida.
During our respective trips we discovered from one of the Bahamian pastors that he had been told by an American pastor from another denomination to stay away from Cooperative Baptists because we let women serve as pastors of congregations. This Bahamian pastor’s response? He stepped into his pulpit and preached that Mary Magdalene, a woman by all biblical accounts, was the first person to preach the good news that Jesus had arisen.
Lately, I have had it impressed upon me that there is a lot of good news in CBF life for women (and, therefore, for men!). This past Sunday I was in New York with my wife and my daughter. Holly was finishing her last week as a Student.Go summer intern, and we wanted to visit her and her new family of faith, the Greater Restoration Baptist Church in Brooklyn. The preacher for the morning was Betty Bogan, and I’m here to say that God’s Spirit fell upon her. (By the way, Greater Restoration lost financial support from another Baptist congregation because the church let women preach.)
And there is a new book, titled This is What a Preacher Looks Like. It’s a collection of thirty-eight sermons by, gasp, women. You can get information about it on the Baptist Women in Ministry website. There is also a conference being sponsored by Global Women in in October. Looks like it will be an awesome event. I wish I could be there, but time and finances won’t permit it. Maybe, though, you can go.
Finally, I’m reminded that CBF Florida just called its first strategic church planter, Susan Rogers. And, with a name like Susan, you can guess that she’s a woman. The Tallahassee Fellowship is pastored by Candace McKibben. Leah Crowley has just left Open House Ministries to pursue an M.Div. at Gardner-Webb. Wanda Ashworth Valencia, the director of OHM, is an awesome speaker/preacher. (You ought to bring her to your church sometime to hear her.) Right now, four of the nine CBF Florida academic scholarship recipients are women, all of whom are pursuing masters of divinity
The word of God is being fulfilled in our midst, “and your women will prophesy.”
Thanks be to God!
Ray Johnson is coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida. This article is reprinted from the CBF of Florida e-newsletter.