If you run in church circles at all, you’ve probably heard the drama of what’s been unfolding within the SBC. As I’ve been processing it all, I’ve held back from voicing my opinion. While it’s not true in all cases, and probably not even most cases, I think there are moments when opinions are useless unless shared.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have been so strong-willed. So convinced that with enough effort and the grace of God, anything can happen. I can actually remember a time when I asked my dad why they didn’t have an MLB for women. It just didn’t make sense to me…if a woman wants to get payed to play a professional sport, why can’t she? It seems silly now, but looking back, I can see how in His loving mercy, God took those burning passions and my inability to let them fade and molded them into something that brings honor and glory to Him. He actually created me that way on purpose.
While I never attempted the start of a female MLB league, there have been multiple occasions when I opened up my Bible to the passage of Scripture a pastor is preaching through on a given Sunday and the notes etched in my Bible are the title of the sermon or follow the same points in the outline. Is this because I’m amazing and prophetic? Not in the slightest. Is it because I should be the one on stage leading an entire church? Glory, no. It’s because God speaks to all His people. While we all have different God-given gifts and anointing, we are all as close to God as we choose to be. He will reveal Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit. While God does speak to leaders differently to some extent because they do have the responsibility of leading, men who are pastors do not posses the ability to hear from God any more clearly than the rest of God’s children do. That entire notion is completely ridiculous.
Hear me out:
Once you become a wife, that is your highest calling. Once you become a momma, that is your highest calling. There is so much beauty in the gift of being a wife and a mom and making a house a home. It is an honor to empower your husband and make him better. It is a privilege to raise kids. These are unique roles that God has specifically created women to fill. But these things do not define you. They are not who you are, they are what you do. I am not less valuable because I am not a wife or a mom or a homemaker. On the flip side, women who are those things are not more valuable because of it. Stop seeing them solely for the roles they play. See them for who they are. Regardless of what God has for me in the future, I will always be, first and foremost, His daughter. I am stamped with the imprint of Almighty God. I am exhaling the breath of life that He breathes into me because He has called me for such a time as this. I cannot escape His calling. I cannot avoid His prompting. I must obey.
You see, God knit me together in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Every day of my life was planned when as yet there was none of them. (Ps. 139) My value cannot increase or decrease.
Because of Jesus, I am more than what you expect of me.
Women play such an important role in the story of Jesus. They were the first people He revealed Himself to after accomplishing the most world-shattering feat in history. (Mark 16:9)
Miriam was a prophetess who helped lead the people of Israel out of Egypt beside her brothers. (Micah 6:8)
Rahab was the one chosen to save the spies. (Joshua 2)
Deborah was a prophet and a judge who led Israel, even in military pursuits. (Judges 4)
Esther was the one chosen to save the Jews. (Esther 4:14)
Anna was a prophetess who boldly and publicly proclaimed the hope of the coming Messiah to “all”. (Luke 2:36-28)
The Proverbs 31 woman did business and made investments like no other. (Proverbs 31:13, 16-18, 24)
Yes, they may have been wives and moms and homemakers – but they were so much more. Do you realize that some of these events were orchestrated by God and enabled the coming of Christ and the furthering of the gospel? Some of them could’ve stopped Jewish history in its tracks. One woman silenced or afraid to walk in obedience could’ve changed history.
Women have a place in the story of Jesus, in the story of the Bible, and in the story of the modern-day church.
We cannot keep silencing the voice of God that is speaking through the women He created. The women He molded and fashioned with a purpose – set ablaze with the burning hope of the gospel. When you shush us, you shush Him.
I fully support my denomination. No earthly organization is perfect because they are run by humans and no human is perfect. I am proud of the steps that have been taken. While we don’t claim to know it all, in the grand scheme of things, we get a lot of things (and the most important things) right. I can honestly say, I can’t think of a single man I have personally encountered within the denomination who does not see me and treat me as an equal. For that, I am thankful. But I think it’s time to move from understanding to action.
I think it’s time we see the need for women in church leadership for exactly what it is: just as crucial to the church body as any other part of it.
Being called to the role of submission does not mean forfeiting a role of leadership. It means leading within your respective bounds, just like any good leader would.
There is a way to implement women into leadership without losing the sacred calling placed on us to follow the head leadership of a man. We’re not asking to shepherd congregations. We’re asking for a seat at the table.