Morung Express Feature
Kohima | January 9
While it is relatively rare for women to occupy senior leadership positions in the church, Kakheli Inato Jimomi has set a benchmark by closely following her passion to serve God and also uplift women.
In her many years of experience as a woman pastor, she was branded as not being feminine enough when she spoke boldly or as being weak when she did not act with power. But it was her total commitment to her calling that she moved ahead, and over the years, she has impacted thousands of lives, especially those of women.
In this exclusive interview with The Morung Express for the Beyond Pulpit series, Kakheli Inato Jimomi, who currently serves as the Secretary, Women Ministry, Western Sümi Baptist Akukhuhou Kukhakulu (WSBAK) spells hope and her aspiration to educate and teach all women to love God with all their hearts because, in her words, “only those God-fearing women can raise a better future for our society.”
MExN: Can you tell us about your calling into pastoral ministry?
Kakheli: Before my pastoral ministry, I was in the teaching ministry for about seven years during which there was a growing realization that God was directing me to the pastoral ministry so I submissively prayed to God and yielded to his will for his clear direction.
I desperately felt the need to serve the womenfolk in my small way and in the year 2010 on 27th March I started my pastoral ministry.
I enjoy working with the women and my passion grows stronger each day for which I am always grateful to God for the burden he always instils in me for uplifting women.
MExN: How was your experience like and what are the challenges you faced as a woman pastor?
Kakheli: There were both the best and the worst but most importantly I loved to focus more on the positive things that I have experienced.
For instance, seeing someone becoming a true follower of Christ, seeing people live the truth, seeing people giving cheerfully to help the needy with no strings attached of regrets and the amazing experience of knowing that serving God is never in vain no matter what.
There were numerous challenges that I faced as a woman pastor which indeed carries both positive and negative.
For instance, if I speak out boldly, I was branded as not being feminine at the same time if I don't act with power, I was branded as weak and yet despite all the branded names, hurdles, disrespect, ill-treatment for being who I am, there were also many resourceful people who strengthened me to realize both my weakness and strength which helped me to totally focus on my calling and commitment that helped me move forward and to achieve my goals and vision.
MExN: Please tell us your current roles and responsibilities as the Secretary of WSBAK.
Kakheli: The current roles and responsibilities as Secretary, Department of Women Ministry, WSBAK are very exciting at the same time challenging. We have 170 churches under WSBAK and taking care of thousands of women is not an easy job. However, I count it as a huge blessing, knowing all ages of special and amazing women of God.
Besides my administrative role as head of department, my role is also to coordinate with the women pastors of 170 churches and women executive members. I plan out the needs-based ministry and vision for uplifting the different groups of women and help each individual to realize the value of being a woman created in the image of God.
I keep visiting the women fellowship to create a closer and better relationship to grow stronger together and contribute the best we can to rebuild our home, society, and church.
MExN: What is your hope for your ministry and for women in Nagaland?
Kakheli: My hope for my ministry is to educate and teach all women to love God with all their hearts because only those God-fearing women can raise a better future for our society.
My biggest concern is that women often fail to realize that we are very precious and important beings in the sight of God therefore we should do away with all our inferiority complex and be that “SPECIAL WOMAN” that God has intended us to be and to live out the purpose of God in us very beautifully.
My hope and my earnest prayer for the women in Nagaland is to be united with a very pure heart and love that can build a very strong and close bond that can be a powerful channel of blessing and peace to many.
MExN: How do you balance between family and ministry?
Kakheli: My ministry involves lots and lots of travelling and if I am not travelling, I have to be in my office till late evening but I make sure that when I am home I do spend my valuable time with my family members making them feel special by thanking them, by having a fun time together, prayer together and sharing our ups and downs, and that makes us more closer (and helps us to develop a sense of love and understanding).
My hobby is also to cook and bake so in my very brief leisure time I usually cook and bake their favourite and to see that smile on their faces makes me the happiest person in this world. At times I switch off my phone just to be with them, to let them know how special and important they are to me.
I try my best not to mix my personal life with my professional life and so both my family and ministry get my undivided attention.
MExN: What do you think should be the role of women in the church?
Kakheli: When it comes to the world of women in the church, the majority of people still feel that it is the natural order decreed by God that women should forever be subservient to man, however it does not imply that a leadership role of a woman would be wrong in today's very advanced society.
Women can play a very important role in the church by becoming an agent of building bridges among the church members, train the young and old, reach out to the lost, single mothers, widows, people going through trauma, domestic violence, people with disabilities, etc. It is high time that the church recognizes the role of a woman so that justice is brought and God’s kingdom is established.
MExN: Are social issues and causes something the church should be involved in? Any specific cause you are passionate about?
Kakheli: Yes, I personally feel that the church has a major role to be involved in social issues. There are innumerable issues but a specific cause that I am passionate about is to rescue those who are into the flesh trade.
In a state called Nagaland for Christ it breaks my heart into a thousand pieces to see our people indulge in such heinous acts, their souls are miserably perishing and we will be accountable if we fail to address these issues immediately.
We must find ways for such people to come out clean and find alternate ways of living.
MExN: What is your understanding on the local church as an agent of social transformation?
Kakheli: My understanding of the local church as an agent of social transformation is that churches cannot be simply concerned with effectively connecting with their own community, she must go beyond her walls and the basic function of the church is to be involved in the reality of the life of every believer and creating bonds of love and humility following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ which is derived from Matthew 22:37-40; Matthew 28:19-20.
The role of the church as an agent of social transformation is to be the powerful voice of God's righteousness.
MExN: What do you perceive the major task of the church to be and what do you see as your role in that?
Kakheli: The major task of the church is to meet the needs of every individual, focus on home-based mission, to put believers into the right relationship with God, to teach the depth of biblical teaching since the people have been misled into believing a false truth. This pandemic has created so much fear in the minds of the people and most of the magnificent churches have become barren, the churches must create new ideas.
As a representative of Christ, I believe that I have a big role to instil an unfailing love for worship in the hearts of the believers. I feel that my major task is to educate the people not to focus only on materialistic development and also not to focus on building sophisticated mega-churches and spending gigantic amounts of money. It has rather become like a competition in today's world which in my opinion is not necessary.
"If I speak out boldly, I was branded as not being feminine at the same time if I don't act with power, I was branded as weak"
MExN: What are the ministries you are currently involved in?
Kakheli: I am currently involved with the women in the ministry and the women department is running a project called the ‘Samaritan Home’ where different activities are carried out to train the dropout girls to be self-reliant.
The second project is school evangelism where the traumatized students are being given counselling. In 2021 the women department is also going to take up another project called “ASHSA a journey of hope” to minister to the distressed and traumatized women to give them hope in life and another project called ‘Serve like Jesus; mission on your doorstep’ which focuses on the people who serve us such as cobblers, barbers, postman/woman, drivers, housemaids, etc.
MExN: Is there an older woman in your life whom you would consider your role model?
Kakheli: Yes, my mom Late Mrs. Toholi X Chishi was and always will be my role model. Who and what I am is because of my mom’s teaching and her exemplary life.
MExN: What overall impact does the gospel have on women, and what impact has it had on you?
Kakheli: Jesus’ attitude towards women in the gospel has been unusually positive, the sparkling virtues of courageous mothers, wives, and daughters as leaders and as outstanding contributors amid stereotypical man roles is one of the greatest impacts that the gospel has had on women.
The gospel that has impacted me personally is that the gospel has taught me to appreciate my worth as a woman created by and for God, and also to express myself freely without fear of being judged or rejected but come forth as self-confident and become a powerful partner and instrument in God’s mission.
"Churches cannot be simply concerned with effectively connecting with their own community; she must go beyond her walls"
MExN: Any message you would like to share with our readers?
Kakheli: Church and believers, as a bearer of the Good News, we are challenged to become one with the suffering people by listening to the voices of those who need us and should be realistic and relevant to redeem our lost sheep.
Somebody should love them, take care of them, help them out, somebody should introduce Jesus to them, and that somebody is you and me.