By Jaye Rodenbush
Perhaps as a backlash to the feminist movement, or perhaps just a natural response to cultural expectations, the women who had pioneered the Apostolic movement raised daughters who were, for the most part, content to raise families and support churches from the pews as opposed to the pulpits. As a result, there have been precious few role models for young women who felt a call to pulpit ministry in the past two generations. Even Christian women, raised in the ’80s and ’90s in an era when women were making great strides in business, were primarily unchallenged to make strides in the church.
Now, gone is much of the negative stigma attached with females in ministry. We have entered the era of the female televangelist, the female co-pastor, the female worship pastor and all of a sudden it has become almost cool for young women to pursue the ministry.
This new era is ripe with opportunity for young women; however, it is not without challenge. While endtime revival will require that both men and women take up the Cross and preach the Gospel, the women who take up that Cross in today’s world must first be certain of their calling. They will face a bold and prepared enemy and so too must they be bold and prepared. It must be more than a desire for popularity or notoriety.
Second, they cannot ignore history. The tragedy among many modern young women is that they feel as if they are the pioneers. Forgotten are the great female evangelists of the early 20th century who suffered through harsh persecution and hardships to help give birth to early Pentecostal revival in the United States and around the world. The women instrumental in the Azusa Street revival were taking up their cross before women in America even had the right to vote. The average young Apostolic woman has no idea of her ministerial heritage.
The names Oma Ellis, Maude Wilkins and Johnnie Caughron are unrecognized. The stories of the female missionaries, Mother McCartney, Margaret Calhoun, Carrie Eastridge and others who pioneered nations, started Bible schools, loved the orphaned children in India, Brazil, Africa and many other third-world nations, are untold.
The Women’s Ministry department of Indiana Bible College seeks to provide training and opportunity to young women who feel called to the ministry. However, to do so without properly laying an accurate historical foundation would be a tragic mistake. At IBC, our goal is to provide historical context and biblical foundation for each aspect of Women’s Ministry. For the young women of this generation are not pioneers but beneficiaries of a rich legacy of Oneness Apostolic ministry. They must find the confidence to do what God has called them to do and when placed in the proper context, the comparative sacrifice seems inadequate.
The Women’s Ministry department is dedicated to encouraging students to become confident in what God has called them to do whether it involves a pulpit ministry, Christian education, missions, evangelism or hospitality. Through hours of classroom instruction, special chapel services, in-depth Bible studies and one-on-one mentoring, the dedicated faculty and staff of IBC are committed to helping every student succeed.
Through courses taught by dynamic and engaged instructors with varying areas of ministerial interest, students gain the understanding that no two ministers or ministries are exactly alike. Our Women’s Ministry faculty and outstanding guest lectures impart a wealth of wisdom on topics such as women of the Bible, leadership for women, social dynamics affecting 21st century women, women’s ministries in the church, hospitality and etiquette and more.
Ladies’ Chapel Services
Once each month the ladies of IBC host a chapel service in the evening featuring worship leading, preaching and teaching by the female students and staff. This is an opportunity for students to hone their speaking and worship leading ability as well as provide a time to grow in Christ together.
The diverse group of faculty allows each female student at IBC the opportunity to meet and counsel with a staff member whose area of ministerial calling and interest mirrors their own. Whether she plans to pursue music, missions, education or counseling ministries, there are staff members with rich experiences in these areas who are ready and willing to provide guidance and to be a sounding board for ideas.