Was reading my daily dose of Scripture this afternoon. And this is what I ended up writing for myself, but wanted a space to share it with others. So Mosaic Readers, here’s something a little different this afternoon. Raw, real, unedited thought on women in ministry.
I’m doing this Bible Study with a group of ladies. We are reading through the book of Psalms and today we read through Psalm 68. This verse popped out to me, verse 11:
“The Lord gave the command;
A great company of women brought the good news:”
That’s all it said.
But that’s also ALL it needed to say for me.
My heart got so excited, warm, fuzzy, giddy even as I thought about the women at the tomb of Jesus who ran off to tell the good news to the disciples that “He is risen!”
They were the first to preach and tell the good news of the resurrection.
But they were not the first women to tell of what God has done. Way back in the Old Testament, sometime after Israel had made it out of Sinai, after nations came against Israel, another “company of women” brought the good news of what God had done for His people.
That IGNITED my heart this afternoon.
I was never told that women “couldn’t” preach or teach the Gospel. But I never saw women actually preach the Gospel from a platform/stage/altar/the place you look towards in a church sanctuary until college, which is weird because I grew up in the Church. But I found out later that in my childhood church, women were not allowed in the pulpit unless it was the Pastor’s wife on certain occasions.
So what was I going to do with this burning desire in my heart to tell the Gospel when I’m one of the only women in most of my Bible classes? When I’m often the only woman in a room of ministry leaders? When I’m the only female speaker for a conference lineup? When I’m quite possibly the first female someone has seen in a pulpit?
I can’t tell you fully why, but I’ve always had the attitude of “Imma do it anyway. I’m going to do what God has called me to do. And trust that My God has got me.”
My mentor is a female MASTER ministry leader/trainer/teacher/preacher who I’ve watched often be the only woman, not to mention person of color in many ministry circles. And I’m so thankful for the way she has paved for me. I’m thankful for the opportunities she and her husband (a Bishop of the last church I was a part of) have given me in the pulpit and on ministry teams. They gave me the space to not only tell the good news of what God has done, but to practice telling it well, with excellence, with fun, and with all the personality that God has given me.
They made room for me and other women to serve in ministry at every level. They gave permission for a company of women to grow under their leadership, a permission that was first given by God.
After serving in that church for a decade, I had a friend come up to me and say, “The first time I saw you preach I thought to myself, ‘Wow, Rebekah’s preaching. And she looks mad cute. Wow, I’ve never seen a woman preach before. Rebekah is a woman and she’s preaching in her own way. I think I could do that.”
And friends, that friend of mine is one BAD (in the good way for those of you that are of a different generation) preacha woman. Not just preacher, but teacher with one of the most sincere voices I’ve ever heard. Her words are laced with the Holy Spirit and they cut to the heart. She knows scripture well. She has wrestled with it and can apply it to real life with such ease. When she preaches, I am reminded of that I am in AWESOME, POWERFUL, and GOOD company to tell the good news.
I write all this in my quiet time today Lord to say, “I want to be a woman that paves the way for someone else to know that they have the permission to tell the good news…no matter their gender. No matter their story. No matter the boundaries or invisible barriers that have been set.” And, “Lord, I don’t just want to pave a way, I want to blaze a wide trail where more women are on the road with me. I want my company, my crew, my squad of BAD (still in the good way- stay with me) preacher/teacher/leader women who tell the good news, even if the fellow disciples don’t know how to receive our words just yet. Even if the male disciples can’t yet comprehend how or why God chose women to be the first ones to see that Christ is risen. Even if the ministry men in the room look at us like we’re a little crazy. Because we can trust that God can prove himself in and through us in time. We just got to ‘do it anyway.’ ‘Tell the story anyway.’ ‘Preach anyway.’ We want to be faithful to the permission and command you gave us, Lord.”
If you are a woman feeling called to ministry at whatever capacity, you are not alone. You are in great company. If you are one of those women let me know, I want to know who my great company is and I want to ask them some questions.
What are you doing?
How are you educating yourself?
How are you serving your local church body?
Where are you already preaching the Gospel?
How are you trail blazing?
Who are you training under?
What are you reading?
What do your conversations with God look like?
How can I help you think and pray through some of the barriers that may be before you?
As a note, while I have a “Imma do it anyway” attitude, that doesn’t come without proper preparation. Those women at the tomb still spent time in the presence of Jesus, serving him and others. Learning from him. Being trained in their thoughts and actions by him. So if you’re called, yes, let’s do it. But the “let’s do it” comes with some work.
But again, if you’re called, you’re in great company.
…Just some thoughts on my reading today. And felt like sharing. For the ladies in great company with me. #greatcompany #womeninministry