After two successful nights of Women in Worship so far this semester, women at Oklahoma Christian University can attend two more women-only worship events before the end of the school year.
Madeline Roseke, a Freshman Experience advisor, created Women in Worship to be a uniting time for the women on campus and a platform to speak, learn and feel empowered. Roseke said she had the idea for the series from her own experience as a student at Oklahoma Christian and her time growing up in the church.
“I, for a couple years, have internally struggled with the ‘women’s roles’ argument regarding the church,” Roseke said. “I have read Scripture, discussed with mentors and peers and spent time in prayer over the matter and still am unsure where I land on the discussion. But, this sparked the memories of lack of opportunity in leadership development in public forums.
“The idea of Women in Worship was developed to give girls the opportunity to share, to lead, to worship and to encourage one another. There is no push for any agenda, just leadership development. I believe testimonies, experiences and gifts should be shared, so my hope was that Women in Worship would be that platform.”
According to Roseke, she believes God has created a special space when women worship together. She said she hopes the series will allow women to develop in their leadership and public speaking skills as well as create bonds between sisters in Christ.
“I believe the Holy Spirit has been very present in the past two nights we have had [Women in Worship],” Roseke said. “There is a beautiful ability to simply breathe when we are worshiping. So, my prayer is that it continues to give a safe and empowering place for every girl to let down their guard and come as they are—broken, joyful, confused, stressed or empowered.”
Roseke said she chooses speakers through prayer and the desire to hear from people from different places, experiences, years and diversities.
“I believe that [Women in Worship] is a safe place, and if the Spirit is leading them to speak, I hope one day they do,” Roseke said. “I do not give them a topic to speak on—it is truly whatever God has been teaching them the last year. One particular thing I am pretty adamant about is the necessity to end it with the hope and power of Christ.
Sometimes everyone can leave a worship time feeling wiped out or heavy, and there is a time and place for this, but I love ending in the hope of Jesus or how He is guiding them through the struggle or has guided them.”
Sophomore Hannah Siebold was the speaker for February’s Women in Worship. She said she heard about the event from her friend and was excited when she learned what it was. After helping lead worship during the first event in January, she said her excitement grew. Siebold then asked Roseke if she could speak at Women in Worship in the future.
“I really enjoy public speaking and leading devotionals, so I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity,” Siebold said. “I think it’s really important to give girls a platform to lead and share, especially because we don’t always have the space to do that at Oklahoma Christian.”
According to Siebold, she has been going through a tough time in her life, and the week she spoke at Women in Worship was especially hard. She said she decided to share where she was at during her talk.
“I talked about how I have been feeling very broken and weak lately, but I refuse to let that keep me from loving people, pursuing God and allowing Him to use me,” Siebold said. “I wanted the girls who came to leave feeling really hopeful, in the sense that no matter how broken or weak they may feel or how much they’re struggling, God is still at work, and we don’t have to let the enemy conquer us. Through God, we are made strong.”
Anywhere from 20 to 40 people have attended the first two events, according to Roseke. Although she will not be on campus next year, Roseke said she has full intent of passing Women in Worship on to a current student if they desire to continue the series.
“I hope this only grows and the Holy Spirit uses it in incredible ways we cannot even imagine,” Roseke said. “My one hope though, is that it is not ever used to push any agenda. I solely want it to be used for continued growth. So, with that being said, I do pray for the future of Women in Worship in its ability to empower but never to overpower.”
Siebold said she loves the series and thinks it is very necessary to have a place where girls are completely free to exercise the gifts they have.
“I really hope that girls who have not had the opportunity to lead will use this as a space where they can freely use gifts they may have never had the chance to use before, like leading worship or giving a devotional,” Siebold said. “On the contrary, I had a few guy friends who wanted to come hear me speak, but since it is a women-only worship event, they were obviously unable to. I think it would be really incredible if Women in Worship were to eventually become a devotional time led entirely by women, but where anyone—guys and girls—are free to attend.”
Racquelle Idlebird will speak Thursday, March 14th, and the last Women in Worship event is scheduled for April 11th. It starts at 9:00 p.m. in Scott Chapel and is Ethos approved.