At Cornerstone Church in Maumee, from left, Kathi Pitts of Cornerstone, Nancy Alcorn of Mercy Ministries, Lisa Bevere of ‘The Messenger,' and Jane Hamon of the ‘700 Club' discuss women in leadership.
Kathi Pitts of Cornerstone hosted the Thursday-morning session featuring Nancy Alcorn, founder and president of Mercy Ministries; Lisa Bevere, author and co-host of The Messenger television program, and Jane Hamon, who co-hosts the 700 Club and has been the co-pastor for nearly 25 years of a church in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
The panelists, seated in cozy, white living room furniture, were part of Cornerstone's annual Impact Women's Conference, whose theme this year was "Love Is …"
The conference also featured a concert by gospel music star CeCe Winans at the Maumee church Thursday night.
Ms. Hamon said her mother always told her not to let anyone hold her back because she's a woman.
"The first time anybody ever told me I can't do something or be something because I'm a woman was after I got born again [at age 14] and came to church, and I think that's very sad," Ms. Hamon said.
But such chauvinism is not as prevalent in the church today, she said.
"Ladies, this is probably the greatest time since the birth of the church to be born a woman," Ms. Hamon said to enthusiastic applause.
As a pastor and conference speaker, she said she has seen two mistakes that women often make when God calls them into the ministry.
"Number one, they pursued the call of God and left their marriages and families behind … or they put off their calling and said, ‘When my children are grown…'"
But women are multitaskers who can "do it all" without falling into the "superwoman syndrome," she said. "God knew when he called me that I would be a wife and a mother."
Ms. Bevere, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said she and her husband, Tom, and their four sons are a "ministry team" who complement and support one another.
"Marriage is not a power struggle. Marriage is a power union," she said.
Your strengths combine with your spouse's strengths to create a ministry that is greater than the individual parts.
"Don't you dare paint a picture that is too small for God to move in," she said.
Ms. Alcorn, who is single, offered advice to the unmarried women in the audience.
"Don't sit around and wait for Mr. Wonderful," she said, "because you already have him. His name is Jesus."
She said women need to be humble before others as well as before God, and she encouraged them to examine the motives of their own heart.
If one's motives are pure, God will be with you even when you make a mistake, she said.
Mercy Ministries, which Ms. Alcorn founded in 1983, helps young women around the world overcome problems ranging from eating disorders to drug and alcohol addiction to victimization from human trafficking.
Ms. Pitts, the wife of Cornerstone pastor Bishop Michael Pitts, said life does not always follow the path one expects, but every season has its purpose and its opportunities.
Ms. Hamon said the nation's current economic strife provides opportunity for growth.
"Champions need challenges and overcomers need obstacles," she said.
"David would never have become a champion if he hadn't had a Goliath to face. … Everybody wants victory, but let me clue you in on something: There is no victory without a battle."
Contact David Yonke at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6154.