Leneita Fix

Leneita has been involved in youth or family ministry for over 24 years serving in rural, suburban and urban settings, camps, small and large churches and non-profits. She has authored or co-authored several youth ministry books, including Everybody’s Urban Understanding the Survival Mode of the Next Generation among others. Leneita is the ministry and training coordinator for BowDown Church, co-founded a coaching and training organization called Frontline Urban Resources (everybodysurban.org) and lives with her amazing husband John and four children in Florida.

A couple of weeks ago this tweet came across my phone:

93 years Ago today the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Sadly the church still has a way to go on recognizing women leaders.

— Pete Wilson (@pwilson) 

What was interesting to me was the slew of comments that followed.  There were all sorts of ideas about whether or not women should be pastors, or follow “culture” or if this idea of women in church leadership was “Biblical.”   Pete’s responses were gracious and void of malice.  My favorite response was this one:

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Nope. Not sure how you came to that conclusion from one tweet. Esteeming women and their God given purpose is a Biblical value.

The whole exchange really sat in the back of my brain.  It’s interesting that Pastor Wilson was not making a stand as to whether or not he felt women should take the pulpit or be in charge, he was saying that if God has put a call on your life, and you happen to be a woman you shouldn’t be looked over. (The idea that we draw conclusions from 140 characters is another post all together.)  I want to make it clear this post is not meant to be a theological debate.  I have heard very solid Biblically based arguments for all sides of where women should sit (or stand) in church leadership.  All I can give are some thoughts from a woman who has been in family ministry for 22 or so years.

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a purpose and a plan for our lives.  A plan for good and hope to prosper and not harm us.  That plan might include marriage.  Or not.  It might include children.  Or not.  It might include being called into “paid” ministry.  Or not.  It might mean that plan is to become an international missionary, or be the first person to swim from Cuba to America.  What I know is that whatever this plan is,  it does not go away.  It’s inclusive to all the seasons we go through.  Yet, somehow our culture often dictates for women in ministry it is supposed to “look” a particular way.  If it does not work out that way, something it “wrong.” Too often we are talking about our opinions and not the Bible at all.

I know that when I look at my daughters, Moms, women and girls growing up in my ministry, I want them to know how much Christ loves them.  When they grasp how high, wide and deep that love truly is my prayer is that the greatest cry of their heart would be to love and serve Him. Then I pray the Lord would help them understand that as we do everything for the Lord, as we serve, we lead. It will mean a variety of things wherever God places them. They may or may not be celebrated for it here on earth, and that has nothing to do with gender.  However, this journey with Jesus is the most important one we have.  For me he broke my heart for the least, the lost and the last.  I long to see families who are falling apart, put back together.  In this he has given me places where I lead.  I also agree with Pete’s original tweet, and I could tell you stories of ways I have been pushed down, stereotyped, and that people- who love Jesus- have been down right mean.  When I look at my girls,  the ones in my home, the ones in my youth group, my greatest desire is that they are willing to walk this life with Christ.  I trust He is big enough to lead them correctly and they will know when they seek him with their whole hearts.  Sometimes, I think we as people need to get out of His way.

I would love to hear from other women in ministry, what are your thoughts?

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  • Hey Leneita! Great post. One of my huge soap boxes is that we preach to teen girls about how they need to spread the Gospel, yet we have few real-life examples of women doing such. How can they lead others to Christ if there are no women leading THEM? It’s extremely frustrating. The “Women in Youth Ministry” argument is something I’m willing to fight for, as demonstrate by a few of my blogs in the last few months. We may not be able to change some minds, but hopefully we can inspire some of our young girls.

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Great post, Leneita! You know this has been my fight in YM in Brazil. I am sure God made no mistake when He called me to YM in Brazil, but it is a hard way to go through…

    • Leneita Fix Leneita Fix says:

      Ana thank you so much for your response. Yes- it is not easy anywhere, you are a great example of how the Lord uses us whoever and wherever we are!

  • christianprincess says:

    This has been a bit of a heartbreaking topic for me for years. I grew up in a reformation that has for almost 90 years now has space for women in ministry to serve. The “boundaries” of that space have been adamantly defined for most of that time by men and women who wanted to make sure “women don’t go trying to become preachers, pastors, and bishops”. I have put my hat into the ring of this fight a lot in the past and have more recently just taken the approach to serve in the capacity God has called me to and to encourage the girls and young women in my life to walk in the callings God has called them to.

    I recently had my niece express to me that women can’t be pastors and it broke my heart. She is 9 and based on observation alone (I thankfully go to a local church in which my pastor is very much in favor of women fulfilling all of the roles of ministry God has called them to) she has come to this conclusion. I was adamant about letting her know that yes they can, but I wonder what are we doing to our girls in these environments that describe them as less than worthy of carrying God’s Word and serving His people because of their gender? How do we justify that when our foundation is filled with women who God used to prophesy, teach, lead, and serve? What do we say to our boys about respecting women in authority (whether they be in church, school, jobs, or politics) who are raised in environments that teach them that this is bad, wrong, and “not God’s will”?

    I have quite a few more questions and comments that weigh on my heart, but thank you for writing this post. Blogs like this are why I miss the “More than Gossip” column sometimes. It was one of the few spaces I have found on the web written by a woman about ministering directly to girls and young women. They are also why I feel encouraged when those questions come to my heart to keep doing what He has called me to be,

    • Leneita Fix Leneita Fix says:

      I just had a teary eyed conversation with my hubby yesterday about my heart’s desire for my girls. I just want to trust that my Lord is big enough to use them however he calls them. I actually was doing a study with my girls (my daughters included) and read a commentary about how the whole idea of women leading in society is Biblical. It was cool because my 6th grader said, “So if God wants me to be President that could happen.” I said. “Yep.” She said, “Well then God may want to use me in big ways!” I think the debate will go on- all we can do with our girls is point them to the Word- and help them navigate the various opinions of that- rest in the arms of the Lord and be with Him wherever He takes them. I am going to be writing more posts in the future about “girl” issues- so keep looking 🙂 Thanks so much for your powerful words- and thank yo so much for allowing the Lord to use you to speak his truth into girls as well.

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