God’s Decision Supersedes All by Rev. Dr. Nearline Anderson

“A Reflection Leading Us Back to the Cornerstone”

In reflection on the most recent decision by the Southern Baptist Convention, my heart is saddened yet again. If you are a woman in ministry, no doubt you have struggled with similar obstacles as your sisters in ministry – the residual of sin from the Garden of Eden.

Of the number of couples, I have had the privilege to counsel, and the number of individuals from whom I have learned so much through advisement – this is, and will be, a never-ending test of faith. There are numerous reasons that can be twisted into some kind of reality to control how and who exhibits leadership in the church. However, at the end of the day, the function of who leads is ultimately left up to God – if we, as women, seek God first through prayer and fasting as necessary (individually and with the prayer team/church).

Many of us have dealt with the minimization of our desire to please Christ, by being provided a scripted expectation of what Christian identity entails for women. Be reminded of this… God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV 2 Timothy 1:7).

With our “sound mind,” we should strive to handle “first things first,” “What does GOD say?” Are our actions being executed according to His instructions for you? We are of tremendous value to the Kingdom of God! We don’t have to be in pulpits to bring glory to God! Jesus taught from wherever it was necessary. Hence my saying, “I get in where I fit in.” There is no time to get into debates about who should be the pastor when there is so much work in the vineyard to do!

Getting in where I fit in has permitted me to seamlessly transition through ministry almost without a hitch. My journey of ministry awareness began around 1997, while my memory of childhood experiences long ago made me realize that God had a mission already set for me. Over time He would engineer my circumstances to shape me into who I have become today. He would send the help, bless me with a strong husband in Christ to cover me, and bless me with favor of ministry support on different levels to carry out that mission. While we work together, we all help each other along on the co-laboring journey.

Sure, I have had some emotional attacks from time to time; yes, I have done some midnight crying; and absolutely, I have had numerous experiences with being excluded – but did not our Jesus suffer more? I have accepted that these are experiences that go with the mission! We have to be about our Heavenly Fathers’ business even when we are under attack! He will take care of all the other stuff!

There have been experiences throughout history where we, as women, did not have the male leadership needed or desired in our churches. Yet, we endured and stood in the gap to lead the people in the way to go. Those things happen, but in all things we must do them in order. Go back to The New Covenant (Jesus Christ) and pray for His guidance, not what others say and believe or even teach about us. Whatever God permits will stand if He is included in our planning process. That does not mean that including Him as a sidebar gives us the right to run headlong into what we believe is for us. It means that we must be still and know He is God and that as we wait quietly on His guidance, our victory will come from Him! This is only a minor setback, in preparation for a “setup”! He will get the glory, not the men, women, or religious organization, BUT GOD!

In the meantime, do not be deceived! The root of the confusion lies in the trick of the enemy, who, if we are not careful, will place stumbling blocks in the way of Gods’ ministry to His people. I pray your heart’s desires be met according to the fullness of Christs’ plan for you. God bless you abundantly in your various ministries as you reconcile His people back to Him!