Pastors’ wives are a hidden treasure which have stood the test of time. They are particular jewels in the African-American Church scene. Even in the bonds of slavery, pastors’ wives were often called the “first true socialites” and have continued to evolve as a dynamic force to be reckoned with within the four walls of the church building and without. Michelle Harden is such a one.
First Lady Harden, along with her husband Randy Harden, has founded Kingdom View and she heads up their Gospel TV Today branch with excellence. Known as the “Church It Girl” of Houston, Texas, Harden has gained a wealth of experience–good and bad–over her years in ministry and has thus developed a ministry of encouragement to women like herself through The First Ladies Gathering ministry event.
GT: Please tell us about Kingdom View and your overall vision for impacting the world?
MH: Kingdom View’s overall vision of impacting the world is being an active participant in being an agent of change. This was shared with us by Dr. Myles Munroe, during an interview, and this is our responsibility. Kingdom View’s mission seeks to build lives through outreach programs and collaborations to advance youth, women and men, community and economic development. The current reach has been from the comfort of our headquarters in Houston, Texas all the way to our new kingdom connection in Zimbabwe, South Africa.
GT: Please tell us what is the purpose and vision of The First Ladies Gathering?
MH: The Gathering of First Ladies that was formerly called Houston’s First Ladies event has evolved since 2010. This platform was designed to bring first ladies together to inspire, empower, and encourage them for the work they do in their local church, community, and abroad. We were not quite sure how this ministry event would turn out or what the response from the churches would be.
Interestingly enough, our first year, we hosted 150 clergy wives. In the second year, we doubled that number. And the third year, close to 600 clergy wives were in attendance. Entering our fourth year, we wanted to change our location because of the numbers and to prepare for global expansion. In faith, we did all of that without even knowing who our special guest would be, but God knew. We now have first ladies from Washington, DC and the East Coast region as well as international first ladies from Zimbabwe traveling to The Gathering of First Ladies in Houston this year.
In all honesty, Kimberley [Yancey], I was inspired by you in 2009 and your book, Confessions of a Preacher’s Wifeto be a supporter and encourager of clergy wives and our intimate talks about the need to pray for our clergy families. This vision has been deposited by God as a means of restoration for the entire Body of Christ. Wounded, frustrated, tired, and weary leaders you will find on the front row trying to maintain composure and keep it all together. She is looking good on the outside but hurting badly on the inside. When you put her in a room of others who have overcome what she has and been where she is, she then discovers she is never alone.
[When you put] her in a room with others with similarities, who may have also accomplished great things in the midst of their storms, then that clergy wife is also encouraged to push through to her God-given destiny. She then can search for and discover her unique call, her purpose, her custom-made design, and then the daily “wear and tear” of serving during difficult seasons becomes easier now that clergy wife can live her life in and on purpose.
Kingdom View desires to be the wind that will blow and push [clergy wives] to their next place of strength, confidence, and endurance for their personal journey. This year we’ve selected some amazing first ladies that we will honor:
2. Clarice Freeman (93 years old & first lady of 60 years)
6. Peggy Spears
A special guest that is releasing her new CD is from Sunday Best – First Lady Andrea Helms.
GT: What motivated you to start a ministry such as this?
MH: The motivation to begin such a movement came after observing many first ladies become first ladies and not understand that there was a personal call from God on their lives that would strengthen the man of God. However, the greatest motivation was that God instructed me to.
GT: What you think of the latest personal failings of some of our church leaders within the last few months as well as the suicide rate among our clergy?
MH: The pain of personal failings of church leaders is felt across the globe. Is it something new or are the covers being lifted? The rate of suicide amongst clergy has accelerated from pain and stress of ministry and for this we MUST, as the family of God, begin to rebuild and educate the members of a Church Body on how to cover, protect, and properly pray for clergy families.
GT: How is the First Ladies Gathering different from other clergy wives conferences held across the country such as Lois Evans’ “First Ladies Conference” held in Dallas every year?
MH: The Gathering of First Ladies may not be much different than other conferences being held across the country. What I’m learning is that we are reaching small, medium, large, and mega congregations one at a time. NO FIRST LADY – LEFT BEHIND. All of these conferences are important, significant, and needed. The Gathering of First Ladies event invites church members to come and support their clergy families in a safe and celebratory atmosphere. It’s a party for the clergy wives servants who serve the saints.
GT: Who is Michelle Harden and why do they call you the “Brand Master?”
MH: The “Brand Master,” Michelle R. Harden, is an ordinary woman who serves an extraordinary God. I am a modern day “Harriet Tubman” who led the slaves to freedom. My desire is to help the people of God to reach their full potential and capture their own Promised Land in Christ while here on Earth. We all have a destiny and a duty to accomplish it.
GT: What other ministry endeavors do you see Kingdom View expanding within the next five years?
MH: Over the next five years, Kingdom View will unveil a community development center that not only helps first ladies, but anyone else desiring to birth their passion. We will show them how and present opportunities for them to display their services, events, and products globally. The KVRN Global Radio Network and Kingdom View Television Talk Show are two of our newest platforms that are growing daily.
GT: How can other First Ladies reach your ministry and people in general reach out to Kingdom View?
MH: We welcome all first ladies of any size church, denomination, and ethnicity. You can reach out to www.thegatheringoffirstladies.org or call our office 877.331.7106.
GT: Mrs. Michelle Harden, “The Church It Girl,” we thank you for taking the time to sit down with Gospel Today and give us an exclusive on The First Ladies Gathering Ministry Event happening June 27-28, 2014 in Houston, TX. And to learn more about Kingdom View. We look forward to God moving in a mighty way!