Women in Ministry
As a female in ministry we face our fair share of difficulty. Heck any of us in ministry do. Yet one thing that is a consensus all around the churched world today is the fact that women in ministry are put into a box. A box with many different sizes and variables, yet none the less a box. Let me be frank and say that this box is a metaphor to represent the scope of impact and influence in the context of ministry that women are placed in. Some might say that there are few women who dare to break this box and step outside of it, but I beg to differ and hope you too can see why.
Now before I dive into the reasons why I believe it is not only our calling as women to walk in our calling, regardless of how that might look, let me say that I take an equal amount of pride in being a woman called to love, serve, and devote her life to the leadership and direction of men in authority. I have the utmost respect for women all over the world who are devoted wives submissive to their husbands, and value devoted women who serve men in ministry, enabling them to fulfill their call. After all, I have devoted my entire life and submission to the person of Jesus Christ and his direction, and I consider it a great honor to one day have the possibility to do the same as a wife.
With that being said, let me now say that in no way do I intend to defend womens rights within ministry, I simply want to share a few things that may cause you to either rethink your ideas on the matter or inspire you to live and walk boldly in your calling.
There's an old saying that 'Behind every good man is a great woman' or something like that. At first I used to hate this saying and think, 'Pshhh how about putting that woman in front of him and giving her a chance to say something then!' Yet throughout my life, the Lord has been gracious enough to give me a birds eye view into marriages and relationships where this very saying is lived out.
There's something extremely powerful about a pastor coming home to his wife, sharing the struggles of his day, getting her input on his sermon prep, and allowing her to not only speak into his life, but influence the leadership and direction of the congregation he leads. There's something even more powerful about seeing a woman devoted to the Lord and using her calling as a wife to influence and change the world, and doing so behind the scenes. Would any of you dare say that her calling and influence is less because she isn't the one at the pulpit week in and week out?
Or how about the women who stay at home and daily teach and train their children in the way of the Lord. You know them as 'stay at home moms,' Christ knows them as faithful servants. Does anyone ever talk about them? How about Monica (St. Augustine's mother) and how she led her son to Christ and was his main source of counsel and advice? Not since I last checked, but isn't her role minimal because she wasn't the one who 'left a legacy we still talk about today'?
Has anyone ever stopped to think or notice that when Jesus resurrected from the dead that the first individuals he revealed himself to were not his disciples but his faithful devoted women? An Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and Mary Magdalene and said,
"Go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
Why do you think this is? I'm no theologian, but the response I keep hearing from the Holy Spirit is this. 'The Gospel was for all of mankind. Jesus was for all of mankind, and no partiality was shown.' For Jesus to first reveal himself and entrust this message of his resurrection to women for that day and age was a very, very big deal. Almost as big of a deal as a woman today preaching and teaching as a pastor week in and week out in a church. Yet, Jesus entrusted these women with the greatest news in all of history. He entrusted them to share that he in fact was not dead, but conquered death and would be coming to see his beloved disciples soon.
Literally the greatest news ever was first given to women. Think about that.
No, we don't have books on the Bible talking about the life and ministry of these women and their teachings on how to effectively serve in ministry, but that does not diminish the reality of the situation. They were the ones who were devoted and at the cross the day Jesus died. They were the ones who came back to the tomb while the rest stayed at home, faithful to Him and committed to him even in his death. And they were the ones who had the honor to first experience and celebrate the truth that they knew all along. HE WAS WHO HE SAID HE WAS AND HE WAS ALIVE!!
So what does that mean for women today?
I believe that it means this: we are called to be devoted and faithful right where we are. We are called to be obedient where we are and use the influence we have to cause a domino effect for greater influence. We are called to be bold when the Lord tells us to be and we are called to carry the sweetest message for all of mankind to hear. If Jesus gave authority for women to first see him and share the message that he resurrected to the 12, then we too have access to him and authority to share this good news today.
So if you're a mom sharing the gospel with her babies, if your a female pastor preaching and teaching to a congregation regularly, or if your still trying to figure out where you fit in, be faithful. Be devoted, and watch the Lord give you opportunities and chances you never thought possible.
He will. I'm a living testimony of it.