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.
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:
Nope. Not sure how you came to that conclusion from one tweet. Esteeming women and their God given purpose is a Biblical value.Encounter Jesus with other youth workers at Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2016! Register today.
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?