5 minutes with Elissa ...
Tell us a little about you:
Hi, my name is Elissa Macpherson. I am in my fabulous fifties. I have been married 32 years and three adult children. For the last 22 years I have lived in country Queensland. My husband and I own a vineyard and winery. Although since 2007 I have been primarily working in women’s ministry as a speaker. I have written two Christian books for women. Currently, I am the President of the Baptist Women of the pacific and represent their needs and interests at a global level. My team and I also seek to connect, equip, and mobilise the Baptist Women of the Pacific. We are specifically trying to address issues of DV, infant mortality and literacy.
Favourite Bible passage and why?
Currently I am trying to live in John 1:16 which says, “From out of His fullness and abundance we have received grace upon grace upon grace”. At times, I am painfully aware of my weaknesses and failures and that can make me feel despair. I fear disappointing God so much, I want to run away in shame. This verse however, calls me back with such tenderness and faithfulness, bathing me in continual waves of grace. Such generosity of kindness and mercy is staggering and puts me back on my feet.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
There is the obvious tried and true answers such as prayer, reading my Bible, listening to worship songs and church. Yet, I feel there is more you build around this, because in the darkest times or the most mundane times this is not enough. I guess it in a conviction, I hold so deeply that is has become the circulatory system of my soul, and it is this: God is true, good, loving, and faithful. That nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing I do, nothing I feel, or experience will change that for me. Even when I am blind to his reality, I just wait patiently until my eyes fix on him once again. He always comes through.
What would you like the next generation of women to know?
They are beautiful. Not in a frivolous and fluffy sense. I am not talking about cultural norms of attractiveness and prettiness, I am talking about the God glory manifested in them, I am talking about unpacking the truth they are made in his image.
I believe current Christian culture is comfortable with understanding God’s glory in terms of power and might and in terms of truth and goodness. But much of the Bible also describes God’s glory as splendour, as beauty, as light and colour. I believe when we leave that aspect out of the equation, we miss out on what God has for us.
I believe one reason our culture leaves this out is because at its essence it is feminine and that is unconsciously construed as lesser than. When we as women reclaim this part of the God image in us, when we connect it to the truth and goodness, he has given us, we discover a goldy boldness and confidence that empowers us to live fully glorious for God!
What’s one thing you love about the local church?
That together we can do so much more than as an individual. That when we combine heart, passion and resources are efforts are exponential. Our accrued wisdom, experiences, and gifting form a powerful movement for good and grace.
What did you learn about God during a hard time in your life?
His grace is endless. He never gives up on me. His grace is for everyone even the worst human. That can be hard to reconcile but its nuclear in its power.
What are you passionate about?
Gender equity. Fire burns in my bones when I see women oppressed, discarded, minimised, and abused simply because they are a female. It is so contrary to Eden’s design for women and men to govern Earth together as a unified team. I am passionate about rethinking what women’s ministry is all about, that it is beyond scones and tea and craft groups. It’s about the church being a positive force for good and grace regarding issues effecting women in our community. As long as women suffer DV, endure sexual harassment and rape in our own parliament, are portrayed as objects to use and abuse in porn, the church needs a ministry to and for women.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
Reading happy romantic books and watching funny, happy, romantic movies. It counterbalances the darkness I deal with in ministry, plus it’s enjoyable. I love going to restaurants for fine food and wine with my hubby. I love vintage shopping. I also like a walk in the bush or by water. I love a good nana nap.