To have a clearer understanding of the National Women’s Department, you need to know the history of the Assemblies of God. We are a Fellowship that has been richly blessed by God’s power and grace.
Our founders were committed to reaching the world for Christ, which explains why missions has always been a major focus within the Fellowship. This rich heritage founded on biblical principles continues to touch the hearts of men and women around the world.
Following the pattern set by the Early Church at Pentecost (see Acts 1 and 2), Christians at the turn of the 20th century experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Pockets of revival began to spread throughout the United States initiating the modern Pentecostal Movement.
Leaders within this Movement came together and established the General Council of the Assemblies of God in 1914 and later came to an agreement on sixteen biblical fundamental truths which remain the foundational tenets of our Fellowship to this day.
For more information about the Assemblies of God, visit ag.org.
The History of the National Women’s Department
Eleven years after the formation of the Assemblies of God, women within the Fellowship began to seek ways they could become involved in ministry. In 1925, Etta Calhoun organized a group of women for intercessory prayer in Houston, Texas. Originally meeting for intercessory prayer for missionaries, the women quickly found practical ways to provide support. The group became the first Women’s Missionary Council, the forerunner of today’s National Women’s Department.
Ministry to women has continued to grow across the United States and in other countries. The following is an overview of the development of the National Women’s Department from 1925 to present.
National Women’s Department Historical Timeline:
Etta Calhoun forms the first Women’s Missionary Council (WMC) in Houston, Texas.
District Women’s Missionary Councils organize in twenty-seven districts
The first District Women’s Missionary Council convenes with the District Council in Harlingen, Texas.
The Pentecostal Evangel reports on the organized Women’s Missionary Council groups’ numerous activities across the nation and overseas.
The Women’s Missionary Council is recognized as a national organization by the General Council.
Edith Whipple Clevenger is appointed the first national Women’s Ministries director (1952–1960).
The Etta Calhoun Missions Fund is established. WMC Slant, a quarterly magazine for leaders, begins publication.
The Library Fund is established to provide books for missions Bible schools. Mildred Smuland serves as national Women's Ministries director (1960–1971).
The first edition of the WMC Leader is published.
Combined Women's Ministries and Missionettes membership is 100,400.
Goldia Anderson is appointed national Women's Ministries director (1972–1975).
Joy Fellowship, an evangelism outreach ministry, is formed.
Women's Missionary Council changes its name to Women's Ministries, reflecting a broader range of ministries.
Elva Hoover serves as national Women's Ministries director (1976–1985).
Woman's Touch, a bimonthly magazine for all women, succeeds WMC Slant.
Combined Women's Ministries and Missionettes contributions exceed $5 million annually.
Women's Ministries and Missionettes combined giving reaches $6.5 million.
Sandra Clopine is appointed national Women's Ministries director (1985–1994).
Aggregate giving to Assemblies of God ministries reaches $125 million in thirty-six years.
Women's Ministries Leader is revised.
Peggy Musgrove is appointed national Women's Ministries director (1994–1998).
Combined Women's Ministries and Missionettes annual giving reaches $10.4 million.
The first National Women's Ministries/Missionettes Leadership Seminar is held for district and sectional leaders.
Combined annual giving of Women's Ministries and Missionettes exceeds $15.4 million; aggregate giving to Assemblies of God ministries reaches $250 million in forty-seven years. “Women Touching the World” is introduced.
The “Touch the World Fund” is established to impact the lives of women and children around the world.
Lillian Sparks is appointed national Women's Ministries director (1998–2003).
Women’s Ministries Training Manual is revised to become Leadership Guide for Successfully Ministering to Women. Combined annual giving of Women’s Ministries and Missionettes exceeds $16 million.
Joy Fellowship changes its name to Event Evangelism. Encourages each church to choose its own name for their outreach ministry. Resource Guide with one hundred ministry ideas introduced; Program Plans for Event Evangelism introduced.
Snuff Out Cancer prayer ministry introduced. Touch with Hope ministry to single moms introduced.
Arlene Allen is appointed national Women’s Ministries director (2003-2010).
Giving totals reach $13 million.
First of four studies released in the Bible Studies for Today’s Pentecostal Woman series.
Woman’s Touch receives Evangelical Press Association’s Award of Merit.
Women’s Ministries celebrates 80th anniversary.
Woman’s Touch transitions to the Webzine WTOnline. Style Ministry Packet is introduced.
First issue of All About Moms magazine is introduced, as a gift for pastors to give to the women of their congregations for Mother's Day. First issue of Side by Side, magazine for pastors’ wives, introduced.
First edition of Ministering to Women was provided to every Assemblies of God church, as an annual resource magazine, outlining the annual theme, and resources for ministry to women.
National Women’s Ministries renamed National Women’s Department, reflecting a focus on ministry to every woman, rather than a monthly meeting. “For Every Woman” brand/logo introduced.
Secrets: Transforming Your Life and Marriage by Kerry Clarensau, released as our first women’s Bible study with DVD and Internet components.
Women.ag.org renovated into three levels of resources, including online ministry training for women in English and Spanish.
Kerry Clarensau is appointed national Women's director (2011-2016).
Kerry authors Love Revealed: Experiencing God's Authentic Love.
Giving by women 1951-2011 (60-year history) reaches $398,823,820.
Kerry authors Redeemed!: Embracing a Transformed Life.
Facebook group, Twitter, and Pinterest introduced for AG women.
Her Green Room, an online community for ministry wives (at hergreenroom.com), was launched at a live event at General Council, Orlando, Florida.
The Jesus-Hearted Woman, by Jodi Detrick, was the theme book, to coordinate with the theme, “A Heart to Know Me.”
During the Assemblies of God Centennial Celebration in August, in Springfield, MO, we recognized the work that women have accomplished for the Kingdom of God, and established a Facebook group for former district Women’s Ministries Directors.
A Beautiful Life: Discovering the Freedom of Selfless Love, by Kerry Clarensau, is released as the theme book, with ancillary products. The theme is: “A Beautiful Life,” with the theme Scripture, “Love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
The theme for this year is “Selah—finding rest for your soul.” The book Rhythms of Grace, by Kerri Weems, is the study for this year. Kerry Clarensau wrote the Selah: 21-Day Devotional to accompany the study book.
Kay Burnett is appointed National Women's Ministries Director. (2016-
“Live Fully” is the theme for 2017. The book, Fully His: Making the Life God Offers Your Own by Kerry Clarensau, is the study for this year.
Women.ag.org launches an all-new look and content.