Pastor Darlene Bishop co-pastors Solid Rock Church with her husband in Monroe, Ohio. She is the founder of Home for life (a haven for women at risk), and Solid Rock Orphanage in Brazil. She has also authored three books: Your Life Follows Your Words, Spiritual Desire, and The Transforming Power of Spiritual Desires. Over the past 28 years, Pastor Darlene Bishop has graced the platforms of thousands of ministries; preaching a message of hope, healing, and deliverance. Her television program, Sisters, can be seen in over 200 countries. Throughout her life’s journey, she dared to go where there was no path and left a trail.
CALLED MAGAZINE: Have you ever felt ostracized or slighted in ministry?
DARLENE BISHOP: I began preaching in 1982. There was a lot of opposition to women in ministry. Many times, pastors would apologize because I was a woman. While introducing me to the congregation, they would often say, “If God can use a donkey, He can use anything.” My husband told me that I should respond by saying, “Thank God that a woman carried the Word for nine months before a man ever preached it.” On one occasion, eight men from our church requested a meeting with my husband. At that meeting, the spokesman said, “Pastor, this is about your wife. We love her and we believe she is anointed, but she should only preach to women.” My husband responded, “I will not allow anyone to touch the anointing on my wife’s life. This meeting is adjourned.” The men resigned from the church.
CM: How do you handle the opposition?
DB: I never try to force myself in when I sense opposition. Instead, I always take a step back. I never try to push my way in to be accepted. I believe your gift will make room for you. I have never asked to preach anywhere or handed out business cards; yet, doors have opened for me to preach.
CM: In your testimony, you describe a time when your husband neglected his relationship with God. How did you cope, and what advice would you offer other women facing a similar situation?
DB: I got married to my childhood sweetheart at age 17, and my husband became one of the top auctioneers in the nation. Soon he became consumed with his business, and was away from home four to five days per week. He went to church occasionally, and put God on the shelf. I continued to go to church and loved God; however, I had an emotional void and turned to shopping for fulfillment. One day, after one of my shopping excursions, my daughter pointed out that I had bought a dress exactly like another in my closet. At that point, I realized that I needed help. I began weeping before God and told Him, “I don’t care what my husband is doing. I just want you.” Instead of shopping, I began to spend my time studying the Word of God. Soon the Lord began to give me sermons. Sometimes I would stay up all night preaching to the grandfather clock in my home. A few months after my encounter with the Lord, my husband dedicated his life to God. Approximately 18 months later, we started a church with 12 people. My advice to women is, “Do what God has called you to do.” We will not be able to blame our husbands or anyone if we fail to do what God instructed us to do. In retrospect, I realize that I was focused on my husband and was not preparing myself. God wanted me to preach. My calling is not contingent on my husband’s relationship with God. As soon as I stopped trying to fix my husband, God started working on him. I worked on me, and God started working for me.
CM: How did your ministry become nationally known?
DB: In 1985, while attending a meeting, the speaker asked me if I was a preacher. At that time, I had only preached at small women’s conferences. The speaker said, “You are going to go through something, but if you hold on ... you will stand on the biggest platform I have ever seen.” A few months later, I found a lump in my breast. As time elapsed, the lump got larger and my breast began to hemorrhage. This was a very difficult time for me, but I held on to the prophetic word. In 1986, as I stood over the sink to wash the blood from my breast, I declared, “God, if this breast rots and falls off into this water, as long as there’s breath in my body, I’ll still preach that you’re Jehovah Rapha.” I heard the Lord say, “Darlene, because you’ve continued in my Word and not leaned on the arm of the flesh, as of this day you’re healed. Go! Proclaim it!” From that day I was healed. Dwight Thompson heard of my testimony, and invited me to be a guest on Trinity Broadcasting Network. Rod Parsley saw the program and invited me to preach at the World Harvest Church. Following this, TD Jakes extended an invitation for me to preach at the Woman Thou Art Loosed conference. It was then, in 1998 at the Woman Thou Art Loosed conference – preaching to 90,000 women – God whispered in my ear, “Didn’t I tell you that I would take you here?”