Two Covenant Leaders Featured in Magazine Articles

Post a Comment » Written on November 12th, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (November 12, 2008) – Two women leaders in the Evangelical Covenant Church are profiled in Called magazine, which is targeted to “female pastors and women in ministry.”

The separate articles focus on Lisa Orris and Catherine Gilliard. Orris is the director of evangelism for the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism and was the planning director for The Feast this past June in Green Lake, Wisconsin.

Gilliard is pastor of Commissioned Disciples Covenant Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and serves as president of the African American Ministers Association as well as the Association for Covenant Clergy Women. She also was the first woman to chair the denomination’s Executive Board.

The article profiling Orris quotes her as saying the church must not change the gospel it communicates, but that it needs to change the way it communicates the gospel. Fifty years ago, Orris says, “people still trusted the church. People still thought Christianity was a good thing. Not everybody thinks like that today.”

That change means doing more listening. “Our approach to evangelism can’t be this idea of ‘I have all the answers, you know nothing – I’m saved, you’re not – I’m churched, you’re not,’ ” Orris says. “It’s got to be more of a sharing, and a listening, and appreciating people’s stories and where they’re at, which we haven’t done for years as Christians.”

In the article profiling Gilliard, the pastor shares how she has had to overcome racism and the belief among some in the church that women should not be pastors.

“You go through that whole thing, and you just faithfully stand and wait on God,” Gilliard says. “Eventually, he makes room for your gifts.”

Commissioned Disciples is committed to making room for people who are marginalized. This includes ex-offenders who have been incarcerated, Gilliard says. “I’ve watched over and over again people who’ve entered into our community say to us, ‘I’ve read about this kind of love in Guidepost, but I never would have believed that there was a place where I could personally experience it myself.’ ”

Gilliard’s diverse congregation is small, and she cautions ministers against succumbing to a mentality that bigger is better. “I often ask people who are struggling to stay faithful to calls in small ministry, ‘What if this is all God has for you? What if these 20 people are all he wants you to mentor for the rest of your life? Will that be enough for you?’ ”

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