The annual event Days of Celebration, presented by Washington Conference Regional Ministries, made history in January by featuring an all-female line-up of keynote speakers and a concert artist.
“A lot of people, particularly in regional churches, may not understand why our planning team chose all female speakers,” said EuGene Lewis, Washington Conference regional ministries coordinator. “It’s important to hear from both female and male voices when it comes to understanding the gospel better.”
Pastor Michelle Mota, who recently accepted a senior pastor role in Brooklyn, New York, shared two messages about living out one’s faith in all aspects of life.
“God is calling us to have mercy on the very people who live lives that we might have lived once ourselves,” Mota said. “If we were all to name the streets we walk on, it would be called the same thing: the walk of faith.”
This walk of faith requires compassion, mercy and grace, so Mota chose the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 to unpack three key lessons. When approaching Jesus about her daughter, the woman focused on her soul first, asking to “have mercy on me.” Then, following the treatment she received from the disciples, the Canaanite woman refused to allow societal rejection to keep her from Jesus. Finally, the woman’s faith was bigger than her circumstance.
“The goal of your past is not to remind you of all your wrong doing — it’s to remind you of where you’ve been so when you encounter people who reside on streets that you once frequented yourself, you would have the courage to bring people to Jesus,” Mota said. “Jesus is a 'walk down your street' kind of God. No one is too broken to come to God. Jesus is interested in setting you free, in addressing your doubts, in healing your body, in saving your soul.”
In her second message, Mota challenged listeners to be prepared with the armor of God, as described in Ephesians 6.
“Leave your house every morning with the armor of God,” Mota counseled. “Living out your faith simply requires putting one foot in front of the other. Walk out in the covering of God's blessings. Your shoes are your shoes. Your testimony is your testimony. Your experience with the gospel is yours. Bring hope to your world and be an agent of peace.”
Dr. Jeanne Mogusu, a pastor in Kenya, joined Days of Celebration remotely to share insights about women in ministry. “This is an emotive topic and everyone has an idea of what it could or should be,” Mogusu acknowledged. The focus, Mogusu suggested, should be on an understanding of biblical leadership and the internal call of God.
“When we understand who we are in God, then we can be able to delve into the many tasks God has for us,” Mogusu said. “We need to make sure our relationship with God is solid — whether you are male or female.”
Sherice Tomlin, a worship leader from Maryland, a COVID-19 survivor and child-loss survivor, closed out Days of Celebration with a virtual concert that included personal stories about times she has praised God through many storms in her life.
“There is so much more we can do by the grace of God to grow our work,” Lewis said. “God has a role for each woman and each man in carrying out the gospel. I believe God is preparing a table before us, in Seattle and beyond, to live out our faith and grow the mission God has given each and every one of us.”
Watch the Days of Celebration programs on-demand at washingtonconference.org/regionaldays