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Women in Ministry

This one is for the daughters whose parents taught them, above all else, to submit to their husbands. For the wives whose husbands call them equals, but who are excluded from the decision-making table. For the women who work hard and raise up godly men, only to be placed beneath them in the body of Christ. For the women with advanced degrees whom God has called to pastor and lead deemed “unqualified” for the pastoral office. This one is for you, my friends. You are enough. You are worthy. You are a great warrior for the kingdom of God. I often read comments on the internet claiming that females are not qualified to be pastors or co-lead in a marriage. Some say that women should not hold any authoritative positions over men, either in the church, workplace, or home. Some... Read more
In my early twenties, I helped plant a church. At that point in my life, I'd never heard of biblical equality. All I knew was that men could lead men, women, and children, and women could lead women and children, but never men. I don't recall anyone explicitly explaining those distinctions; it was just how things were. People stuck to their roles, and it didn't occur to me to question that until I nearly fell off my folding chair one Sunday trying to repress inappropriate laughter.  That morning, the senior pastor made an announcement: "I'm pleased that someone is stepping up to the plate to lead us in worship."  The announcement came after weeks of singing without a worship leader with the accompaniment of a woman seated at a keyboard in the... Read more
In my post last month, I shared my confusion over my calling. I recalled wondering why, if the Lord had called me to preach like my father, did the Bible prohibit me from doing so? Well, part of the reason for my confusion was that I received very mixed signals at home regarding the roles of men and women. My mother was strong and smart. As is typical of a pastor’s wife in a small church community, she worked just as hard as my father. In our home, she shouldered equally heavy responsibilities—cooking our meals, keeping the parsonage clean and tidy for visitors, imposing discipline on me and my sisters, and paying the bills. We considered her the backbone of our family. The only thing she couldn’t do was lead. I was left with a troubling question—if she was so ca... Read more
Katia Cook
[Editor's note: As we near the end of our content series on youth and egaliatarianism, we'll be presenting the stories of two women at the intersection of two seemingly unrelated topics: egalitarianism and autism. Katia, who lives with autism, and her mother, Jeanette, will share interesting insights into these two topics through their own stories and their analysis of how egalitarians can work towards equality in realms that include people with high-functioning autism. We hope you enjoy the seres.] It was at a homeschool group pizza party when I was almost 12 that I faced the cold reality: I was different. The other girls in our group fit together. I was the misfit. So was my family. Unlike the other homeschool families in our area, Dad was not as involved as the other fathers,... Read more
When I was a child, I wanted to be just like my father. He was a preacher, and I loved watching him share the Word of God with his flock. I especially loved it when he expounded on the original Greek and Hebrew in the biblical text. I thought the most wonderful thing in the world would be to attend seminary, learn these languages, and then share my insights with others like my father. Unfortunately, I faced one very large hurdle: women weren’t supposed to preach. I knew this because I heard my parents discussing it. One day in our house they were complaining about how our denomination was simply becoming too extreme. I distinctly recall hearing my mother say, “Why, I hear that in some of our churches they’re even allowing women preachers!” A couple of years later... Read more
Liz Gentry
“Well, do you feel like God’s called you to ministry?” My mentor’s question made me laugh. Of course I feel like God has called me to ministry! For 5 years I’ve pursued ministry, and God’s call on my life has grown stronger. I’ve never questioned my calling—only my desire for ordination. He then said, “Well, then you should be ordained.” Simple yet profound. My journey toward ministry has been, at the same time, both incredibly beautiful and terribly messy. As a junior in high school, I knew God wanted me to go into vocational ministry and I pursued that calling from then on. I’ll be the first to admit, God has made my path much easier than some. At Milligan College, I never had condescending looks from Bible or ministry... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Grace Church began in 1991 near Indianapolis and has grown into a mega-church of about 6,000 weekly attendees. Their vision for an electric, passionate church has helped allow Grace Church to expand into a second location. On February 9, 2014, Grace Church boldly adopted an egalitarian stance on women in church leadership and people of their congregation and across the globe have been encouraged by their stance. We got in touch with Tim Ayers, the teaching pastor at Grace Church to learn more about the changes that have been made to their church currently and what these changes will mean for Grace Church as they move forward.   LEXI FRIESEN: What were the driving forces behind changing Grace Church’s stance to support women in leadership? TIM AYERS: About ten years ago... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Anna Muttathupadathu, was born in 1910 in Kerala, India. After experiencing the loss of her mother at a young age and then refusing pressure from her aunt to marry and become a housewife, Alphonsamma, as she was called locally, joined a convent at age seventeen. She completed her schooling through the Catholic Church, became a Franciscan nun, and taught at a girls’ high school. Her life as a teacher and sister was cut short as she suffered from multiple injuries and illnesses which lead to her death in 1946. Despite going through great pain, she remained faithful to God and became the first native Indian to be honored as a saint. At a ceremony to announce her canonization... Read more
Tim Krueger
Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin has a habit of making history. Hudson-Wilkin has overcome poverty, racism, sexism, and tradition to become a high-profile minister, trailblazer, and advocate. Born into poverty in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Hudson-Wilkin was raised by her father and aunt in Jamaica, but eventually moved to the UK where she pursued a career as a minister. Some highlights of her ministry include: In 1994, the first year the Church of England ordained women to the priesthood, she was ordained. In 2000, she became the priest of a parish in Hackney (an impoverished area of inner-city London). She was the first woman and the first person of color to lead this parish. In 2007, she became chaplain to the Queen of England. She is the first woman of color to hold this position.... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Harriet Beecher Stowe Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1811. An accomplished writer from a young age, Harriet decided early on that she wanted to use writing to make her voice heard and provide income for her family, especially since she was the seventh of thirteen children and her mother passed away when Harriet was only five years old. She studied and became a teacher at Harford Female Seminary while starting her publishing career, all before she married Calvin Stowe in 1832. Her big break came in 1851 when The National Era contracted her to “paint a word picture of slavery.” After Uncle Tom’s Cabin was released and energized many of the anti-slavery forces, she became a full-time writer. She published more... Read more