Did God make a mistake by using all these women to expand and build up the Kingdom?
What was God thinking to allow these women to lead and have such an impact on both men and women? Here are pioneers, women who have written some of our most profound worship texts, women who have preached the Gospel in our time, many at substantial personal cost. Their contributions to the body of Christ are staggering. Men and women alike have glorified God through these sisters’ powerful compositions. People from all nations have been transformed by the grace of God, revealed in their work. Thousands have been brought to the saving knowledge of Christ through their hymns, songs, and commitment to the Word. These are women who have counted the cost and run the race. Despite ridicule, rejection, discouragement, isolation, and in some cases, severe persecution, they have remained faithful.
It’s important to point out that these are just abbreviated lists of women who have led the body of Christ through worship and the Word, excised from the last century and a half of primarily western church history. What of the last 2000 years of women’s contributions? What of the work God has wrought through obedient women across the planet over that time period?
I wonder if we as the Church have really considered the disconnect between what we allow these women to do for God in public worship gatherings across the country and on CD and video, compared to what we allow the women in our own communities to do (or not to do) for the glory of God. How consistent are we as the body of Christ? If women are not to lead, then perhaps they should not write hymns and songs (an inherently theological, instructional activity). They should not evangelize in public. They should not lead at conferences, worship events, or for that matter, at the recording studio.
The next time you wonder if a woman should lead worship in your church, print up this lexicon of greats and paste it behind the copy machine. History has a way of reminding us that God’s ways are not always our ways. We need more lists like these.