Girls’ Ministries reached a major milestone this quadrennium as she celebrated her 70th birthday. The celebration spanned the twelve months of 2016 and was based on the praise concept of Psalm 145. Verses 4-7 are a fitting description of the mission of Girls’ Ministries. “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty….They tell of the power of your awesome works…They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”
For 70 years, women from several generations have been doing that very thing–passing on their knowledge of Jesus Christ to the girls and young ladies of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. It was in 1946, just one year after the organization of IPHC Women’s Ministries on the national level, that Lila Berry and her board declared the need to follow the Titus 2 mandate to train girls. Over the course of these 70 years, women have stepped up to the plate to serve in Girls’ Ministries. Honoring some of those key women on the national level was a big part of the 70th birthday celebration. Beulah Sturkie was the first appointed director of the Girl’s Auxiliary in 1973. She served in that part-time position until 1989 and was instrumental in helping to develop the GEMS program that was then initiated under the leadership of the second director, Linda Parnell. In 1999, Linda Riddle became the first full-time Girls’ Ministries director and paved the way for the transition to adapting the Missionettes curriculum for the IPHC. It was my honor to step in when Linda moved to a new ministry in 2001. This quadrennium marked the first time Girls’ Ministries operated with its own general level board.
While national leaders are important to the mission of Girls’ Ministries, the key to a successful ministry is having conference and local level leaders who have a passion for ministering to girls. As these women give of their time, finances, and energy, the ministry to girls flourishes as it partners with parents and local churches to minister to girls and their families.
Whether local churches use the gender specific Mpact/TGM curriculum or some other format, the purpose remains the same: to win girls to Jesus Christ and to disciple them along their journey of growing into mature believers. Conferences provide training events for the leaders and annual events for girls. These times allow churches to interact with each other and with the conference leadership.
A highlight on the national level this quadrennium was Power Chicks ’15, our third national girls event. Held every four years, Power Chicks is open to girls from grades 3 through 12. Fifty churches from 16 conferences were represented at Power Chicks’ 15 with an attendance of 630. That was a 21% increase over 2011. Roxie Lewis was the third recipient of the Beulah Sturkie Passion Award given quadrennially at Power Chicks. At each of the three events to date, girls and leaders have raised money for a special Power Chicks project. A fun, theme-related auction on opening night and special offerings brought by the groups have resulted in offerings of about $5,000 each time! The 2015 recipient, Ali’i Academy in Kailua, Hawaii, inspired our Aloha theme for Power Chicks ’15.
Someone jokingly commented, “What happens at Power Chicks, stays at Power Chicks.” On the contrary, what happens at Power Chicks is meant to empower the girls and leaders to return to their local churches and communities energized and full of the Holy Spirit! What happens at Power Chicks is equally a snapshot of what is happening in Girls’ Ministries in the local churches. The girls come with a zeal for learning and an expectation of fun activities. They truly worship God as an all-girl band leads them. They leave the event with great enthusiasm to take the message of Christ to their own towns and beyond.
As Girls’ Ministries looks to the future, the prayer is that more women will accept the call of God to be leaders and mentors. Every girl needs a mentor! Every church needs a ministry to girls! Let’s celebrate our victories at Power Chicks ’19 in Ridgecrest, North Carolina!