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Woman goes from music leader to mayor

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–Rita Stephens wasn’t even sure she wanted to be mayor. But she felt God saying, “Run,” and she obeyed.

Stephens was one of 1,300-plus women who attended the National Women’s Leadership Forum hosted by LifeWay Christian Resources at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C.

“I have done so many of the women’s Bible studies at my church,” said Stephens, a member of Mt. Eden Baptist Church in Hawesville, Ky., a town of about 1,000 people near Owensboro. The church has about 100 members.

“We even draw women in from surrounding towns. I have led the praise and worship at the studies for a long time, but now, being mayor, I’ll have to give that responsibility up.”

What made a singing and praising Bible study woman run for mayor?

“God just spoke to me and told me I needed to run,” she said. “I told God I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be mayor, with politics being what it is and all. But then God let me know He was just asking me to run. He didn’t tell me I was going to win.”

Interestingly, God didn’t give her much time to be nervous about her campaign.

“I decided to run as a write-in candidate less than a week before the election,” she said. “I campaigned for five days.”

Before starting her time as Hawesville’s chief executive, though, Stephens wanted to join other women at Ridgecrest in November learning how to be even a better servant.

“Being with all these women has been an amazing experience; just so good,” she said. “The fellowship time and the breakouts have given all of us so many new ideas to take back. I sat in Kelly Minter’s conference on Women’s Ministry and Mission. She reminded us that it’s time we get up and get out, not just stay in our churches and isolate ourselves from the people outside.”

Stephens laughed and said, “I guess that won’t be an option for me now, will it?”
Polly House writes for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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