Connections: Judy Rachels
May 11, 2014
Judy Rachels is national chair of the Assemblies of God Network for Women in Ministry. With husband T. Ray Rachels, AG executive presbyter and former superintendent of the Southern California District Council, Judy has enjoyed an array of ministries. She spoke recently with Scott Harrup, Pentecostal Evangel managing editor.
evangel: This Mother’s Day, what influence do you remember your mother having on your life?
JUDY RACHELS: My parents, Cy and Ruth Homer, enjoyed more than 40 years of marriage and ministry together. While my mom was expecting me, she co-pastored a church with my dad in Ohio. On Sunday afternoons she drove to the town nearby and planted a church on her own. She was absolutely passionate about propagating the gospel message.
Mom was an inspiring teacher with a magnetic personality. Her godly lifestyle was marked by personal disciplines of prayer, study and memorization of Scripture. She was an energetic and fully committed co-pastor. As the only child of this “ministry teams” I always considered myself as “part of the team.” Mom attempted to keep life fun for me even though I spent more time at church than at home.
evangel: How were you intentional in shaping your children’s lives?
RACHELS: Ray and I did our best to live lives that honored the Christ we valued. A major issue with our family life while pastoring was the demanding schedule of church activities. One of our priorities was to attempt to form habits with our children that enhanced individual relationships. Our nightly “tuck-in time” with each of them included reading, telling them real-life stories of our growing up, and closing by each of us praying aloud. We took seriously the challenge of widening their growing understanding of the BIG God who loved them. Authenticity in daily lifestyle was our goal.
evangel: With so many opportunities for ministry today, and so many parenting challenges, how can moms in ministry fulfill both their callings?
RACHELS: After a lifetime of ministry — as a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother — I believe that when there are children in the family, a foremost priority for both partners is to be aware of the challenge of nurturing in them the image of God.
evangel: What new ministry opportunities have you discovered in your retirement years?
RACHELS: I am very surprised to have more opportunities for ministry than I can complete. After a lifetime of study, participation, and leadership, I enjoy the challenge of mentoring and speaking out for the value women can bring to ministry opportunities.
There is great fulfillment in living a mentoring lifestyle built on the lessons Ray and I have learned together. I’m very optimistic about this generation of Christ-followers. They are passionate, prepared and stepping up to ministry. My deepest hope is that doors will continue to open for women who are called and committed to the gospel ministry.
evangel: Any other thoughts?
RACHELS: I want women to know our Assemblies of God Fellowship welcomes them into ministry. I understand the struggles and limitations that are facing women today who are praying and seeking places to commit their ministry giftings. One of the “growing edges” for our AG Fellowship is in helping to open doors for the gifted-and-able work force of God-called women. I am dedicated to raising the awareness of local leaders to include women in a greater sphere of communicating the gospel.