In Praise of Female Pastors Part I: The Call

ordination

 

 

 

People have been discriminated against for centuries based on their gender, skin color, preferences, socioeconomic status and abilities. Although clear and measurable progress is duly noted, it is unlikely (in my opinion) that discrimination on all levels will be abolished until Jesus returns and the first heaven and the first earth have passed away (Revelation 21:1). Until those events occur, my desire is to share what I  learn based on my education, experiences and Bible studies. The longing of my heart is to “set the captives free” (Isaiah 61:1).

I recently read two new books (titles and authors views will be shared in a later post) that I feel perfectly articulate what I have sensed in my soul for so long, but have been unable to verbalize. Both of these books affirm women in church leadership. The reason this material is so dear to me is obvious (if you know me): I am an ordained minister in the Nazarene church. I am also a licensed counselor and I find the two roles impossible to separate. I am a shepherd. What does a shepherd do? A shepherd cares for and feeds the flock of Jesus. I have been educated and trained in all kinds of counseling theories and techniques, but the Holy Spirit is the True Counselor (John 14:16) and He lives inside of me, enabling me to care for the flock.

I have never felt discriminated against, until I became a pastor. At times I am given the “cold shoulder,”  when I share that I am an ordained minister. Through my interactions with other Christians (mostly outside of my denomination), I receive comments such as “What’s the point of that?” and “Oh…” with a confused look, or I am simply ignored.

A few years ago, the pastor of a community church (where my children happen to attend school) held a luncheon with a motivating message for local pastors. The secretary called me because we knew one another; she wondered if I would extend a verbal invitation to the male pastors at my church. Since I was serving as an Associate Pastor alongside those brothers, I asked her if I was invited as well, to which she nervously responded “Oh, I’ll have to ask.” Sometimes I feel the church is the only place where you can still discriminate against women and not get into trouble.

These interactions have been hurtful to say the least, so most of the time I don’t even tell people that I am a pastor until I know them better. However, God has revealed to me that I have erred in hiding my calling. My education has been endorsed by an accredited university, my doctrine is sound, my understanding of Scripture is solid, my teaching and preaching gifts have been affirmed by those in leadership over me and appreciated by those who have learned from me. My call has been acknowledged by my denomination and sealed in an ordination service in Black Mountain, North Carolina on June 7, 2013. I have entered into a sacred covenant with God to teach his word at all times and I will endeavor to do so with excellence.

I have a burden to share a series of posts that I believe are liberating. I invite you on this journey with me as I write this four part series. I will share with you what I have learned from some amazing authors and women of God, the Holy Spirit and a proper exegesis of Scripture.

 

2 thoughts on “In Praise of Female Pastors Part I: The Call

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Are you familiar with CBE – Christians for Biblical Equality? They have lots of helpful material for encouraging women in the church. https://www.cbeinternational.org/

    I am not ordained, but I do have a seminary degree (a MABS). I do adult Bible teaching and some substitute preaching – as a lay person. I relate to your post. So many want to back women into a small corner in the church. A female with a teaching/preaching gift is a bizarre creature – what to do with her? Especially in the conservative southeast culture where I live.

    I feel most comfortable in and called to mixed-sex settings and using my gifts more broadly in the church. Yet many assume a woman will only work with children and other women exclusively. If a man does not feel called to exclusive men’s ministry, this is not a problem. No one thinks all gifted men should only do men’s ministry in the church! But ALL women are supposed to do women’s ministry. Grrrr. The church at large needs the voice of women too!

    I was in a Nazarene church for about 8 years, and now I am in a Methodist one. My personal theology does not quite align, but I have become loyal to the Wesleyan-Arminian branch of the church because they are more egalitarian in their views of women.

    I have not come across your name before in online egalitarian circles. Perhaps we have just bypassed each other. But there is a facebook group called “Biblical Christian Egalitarians” and the blog of Marg Mowczko is tremendous – extensive material about women in the church and home – scholarly yet written for everyday people. https://margmowczko.com/

    Again, I relate to your frustrations. I am solidly evangelical (although that word has lost some of its meaning) and so many in my Christian circles and in the Christian culture around me assume that if you think women can teach and preach then you are a liberal, abandoning the Bible. Sigh. Bang head.

    I have followed your blog. I am on wordpress too, and blog about women in the church sometimes.

    Like

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for your thoughtful response. I belong to the BCE group on Facebook and although I have never posted in the group, I read the posts daily. There is still much work to be done in the church!

      Liked by 1 person

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