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An Interview with Rock Church's Women Pastors
By Vittoria Allen

This year, we announced Point Loma as a campus and with that, we announced some of our new pastors! Although all of them have been a part of the Rock Church staff and family for many years now, we have eight incredible women that have joined the pastoral team! 

We want YOU to get to know them a little better so we sat down with a few of these women and asked them a few questions about their ministry and journey.

What is your take on the role of women in the church and what it means to be a pastor? 

Karen Stevens (Women's Ministry): He has given women different gifts of the Spirit as He has determined, just as He has given them to man as well. Women need to be faithful to use their gifts and lead as God has gifted them to do and let God be glorified.

Brenda Stewart (Counseling Pastor): I think God has called women to lead in as many different ways that men are called to lead. There is no one person who leads exactly the same as other person, so some may be called to be pastors, teachers, administrators, and the list can go on. I believe the important thing is that we individually discover how God has designed us and that we follow the passion that God has personally given us and that is when we will discover our calling. 

Teresa Holderby (Women's Ministry): I believe God has called women to teach, encourage, pray for, and equip women to come to maturity in Christ and to serve.

As a leader in one of the largest churches in San Diego (and the nation) how do you hope to inspire the women in our community? 

Karen: That living for God and honoring Him in my life brings about fulfillment, satisfaction and true joy!

Brenda: I would like to expose the heart of God to the women in our community. I would like them to know that this culture and world is not reality, but it is based on many lies. I hope to reveal that God’s plan for them is reality, that is, God’s heart and will for them before He created them. He is a God that loves and champions women. He does not want to condemn them, but desires to empower them to be the reflection of his image. His guidelines in his Word is to protect them and to establish a loving relationship with them.

Teresa: I pray that other women will see the need for women to lead and will by faith step out to lead in their churches and community.

Debbie Smith ( Point Loma Associate Campus Pastor - Outreach): I pray that each woman fulfills the design God has intended for their life so they can help others who are in need. Encouraging them to get involved in ministry and not to miss out on what God is doing IN them and THROUGH them. We are all designed to be in community and not to live life alone, we need the encouragement from one another to live the purposeful, hopeful, joyful life Christ designed for us to walk in everyday. 

Rock Church’s vision is to establish Pervasive Hope throughout San Diego and beyond. How do you see that happening through the women in our community? 

Karen: Women are learning that nothing, material or physical, can give them true peace, hope, joy and a future – it only comes through knowing Jesus.

Brenda: I would like women to know that God has a strategic calling and future in mind for them. Part of my calling is helping women find out what God has designed them for in their Kingdom Contribution.

Teresa: I see women in our community reaching out to establish Pervasive Hope through several outreaches including a Christmas event, workshops and partnering with other ministry’s such as RYC, Kairos, Women’s Restoration and Angels Closet.

Debbie: Each woman has a redemptive love story how the Lord has healed or saved them, she should be sharing her story with other women, giving them the hope of Christ within them. So many are isolated without hope because the accuser makes them feel they are the ONLY ones experiencing pain or trials. The Bible says in Revelation 12:11 that we can triumph over the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.

What is something either in your specific department or for the church in general that you are extremely passionate about? 

Karen: Seeing women have victory in their life over past sin, failures, or lifestyles by coming to know the truth of God’s Word and applying it to their life. They are learning to take all of their thoughts and beliefs captive and replacing the lies with the truth from God’s Word.

Brenda: I love to help people see the true heart of God when I see that because of their life experiences, or lack of intimate relationship has made their view of God tainted. Our God has a big heart for us and I love helping people see the true knowledge of God.

Debbie: I’m passionate about building platforms of ministry so leaders, volunteers and citizens can be a solution to their local community needs. Being a pervasive light of hope in Jesus' name wherever that leads us.

When do you feel like you knew what God was calling you to do with your life and gifts? 

Karen: When I started co-leading Women’s Ministry with Teresa Holderby and starting teaching Bible studies to adult women. I love to study and prepare and to teach the Word! I know that I can do nothing on my own and I have nothing to give, but I love that the Word of God is living and active and that it does not return void – it will accomplish what God has planned for it.

Brenda: Honestly, the first half of my life I was told that women could not be pastors, but I just kept leaning into God, asking who He made me to be, and followed the passion that He placed within me. I did not have the title of a pastor, but everything I was asked to do as a leader was a pastoring role. I was happy without a title as long as I could do what He designed me to do!

Teresa: I realized the call after going through a difficult time with our son and had a burden to help other women get through the good and difficult seasons of life.

Debbie: Since I was a little girl, I have been always drawn to people in need and now knowing one of my strengths is restorative, God created my heart to answer this calling my whole life. It’s been a blessing to serve in the county of San Diego for over 30 years, through working at a Career Center helping people find jobs or resources, starting a non-profit that helped high-risk gang kids, Miles Ahead Ministries and currently through Rock Your City Events, Toys for Joy and Outreach Ministries. 

What are some of the qualities that describe a godly woman?

Karen: A woman who takes the time to spend with Jesus – in the Word, in prayer, in worship and listening to Him. A woman who admits her shortcomings and confesses them and is emptied of self every day. A woman who is filled and led by the Holy Spirit and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit in her life. A woman who guards her tongue (still working on that one)!

Brenda: I believe that I have no godly qualities without spending time with God, so I believe the number one quality is realizing the importance and intentionally making space for God in my life. I need lots of time with him, reflecting on his Word and what He is speaking and what He wants to change in me. 

Teresa: Faithful to God and their family, committed to prayer and seeking the Lord daily, is virtuous, has a desire to serve the Lord, is wise and fears God.

Debbie: Women who connect and identify with how God designed them to love others while obeying God no matter what season they are in their life. His love for us withstands any storm, hurt, pain and He uses our life experience so we can help others who are hurting.

In your opinion, what is one of the greatest issues women face today? How do you hope to influence women in that area?

Karen: Unworthiness, unwanted, unloved, lonely, needing a man to make them feel loved and fulfilled. I hope to encourage women through the truth of God’s Word about their identity in Christ – that all of their worth and value comes from God and that there is no love like the love of the Father, which was expressed in the death of His Son.

Brenda: Their identity! They do not know who they are, who has created them and whose image they bear.

Teresa: There are several, but marriage challenges, being single and a mom and the issue of comparing through social media about who they are instead of whose they are.

Debbie: Isolation in what ever season they find themselves in and not being in an accountability group of loving friends or community. If the enemy keeps us isolated we won’t be completely WHOLE in Christ.

If you could pick one piece of knowledge to share with other ladies, what would that be? 

Karen: Make Jesus your first love – Honor God and He will honor you.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Brenda: It would be the experiential knowledge of how to hear the voice of God.

Teresa: Remain steadfast and committed and do not EVER give up!

Debbie: Cling to the truth of God’s word about where you find your true identity. Your greatest weapon against the enemies schemes is with the Word of God!

Just for fun, what’s something about you most people may not know?  

Karen: Cherokee Indian – My paternal great grandmotherwas full-blooded Cherokee.

Brenda: My biggest accomplishment has been raising four kids with my husband of 30 years!

Teresa: I gave my life to Christ when I was 44 years old.

Debbie: I am adopted. Youngest in my biological family, oldest in my adopted forever family.