On Memorial Day Sunday, 20 years ago, I stood before a waiting congregation in Zoe Outreach Ministries under the leadership of Melvin Hargrove. I stood to preach my first sermon.
A lot has happened since May 25, 2003. I have evolved and I am evolving in my thinking, living and being. Even so, God is deeper, wider and richer in my life. I know to which I am called and I have given in to it.
Yes, there have been so many struggles and situations as people have tried to put me in a gendered box for which God has not designed. HOWEVER, there have been many successes as I am now on the cusp of becoming Dr. Sherri L. Jackson, a doctor of the church.
As I spend time in prayer and reflection, God loudly says SHFIT! While I'm not clear on what this means, I am willing to follow where God leads me. In this season, two scriptures scream loudly to me and at me. First, there is 1 Samuel 16:1, "God addressed Samuel: “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.” And then in that same mind, Deuteronomy 2:3 states, ‘You have been skirting this hill country long enough. Head north,As always, I suspect, it means to move in unknown territories." I suspect God is pushing me to my next and I can finally say that I am ready. I do not know where twill be, but I do not want to miss where, when, and how.
For now, I am celebrating what God is doing in this moment. In commemoration of my 20th year of preaching the liberating gospel of Jesus, the Christ, I have written my fourth book, Evolving: 20 Years of Preaching & Passionately Disrupting Patriarchy
Here's a synopsis:
On May 25, 2003, Sherri L. Brown Jackson, a Black woman entrenched in the Black Baptist tradition of the South, did the unthinkable. A once passionate defender of the inherited patriarchal views regarding women in ministry, she preached her first sermon. Twenty years later she is passionately disrupting patriarchal systems and practices that seek to silence women called to preach. Grounding her work in personal stories of trials and triumphs, she sets out to guide women in breaking their silence so that they may answer their call to preach. Finally, to stir up the gifts in women, Jackson provides moments of reflection to guide women in using their voices. This book is ideal for women who are struggling with rejection and enhancing their understanding of preaching women and for male pastors, who are exploring ways to help women fulfill their God-ordained call to preach.