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Women In Ministry
Should women be in ministry and leadership positions within a church? This has been a hot topic of discussion for quite some time. Bible colleges and seminary schools constantly grapple with the well known verse found in 1 Cor. 144-5, which says, “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” Based on that scripture, which has been taken completely out of context, some have decided that women should not be allowed to lead or be ordained into a church. I, on the other hand, believe that women should be in ministry and leadership positions.
When I accepted Christ, I did not think twice about gender. I never even put thought into the fact that the Bible does not mention whether God is male or female. What I did know was that whoever called upon the name of the Lord would be saved. Why, then, would it be wrong for women to be leaders in the church if they are saved the same way and by the same God as men? God says through Paul, “There is no male and female. We are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 8) Therefore, if we are all one in Jesus, I should be allowed to pursue my goal of becoming a woman minister.
Within me there is this desire to let the world know “Jesus is Lord.” This desire can not and will not be shut up by someone who tells me that I am just a woman and should be silent. God has gifted me with the ability to lead others in His presence. I will not let him down. 1 Timothy 414 says, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to your gift so that others may see your progress.” If I were to give into those of you who tell me I am not allowed to be a woman in ministry I would be going against my own beliefs.
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I am currently in a leadership position within my own church. I serve as a third and fourth grade Pioneer Club teacher and as a junior high youth sponsor. My responsibilities include preparing Bible lessons, leading the lessons, accompanying the kids on retreats, helping the kids with their problems, and above all bringing them closer to God. All of these responsibilities are similar or the same responsibilities that the women in the Old Testament had. As for now, my abilities to lead the kids have been sufficient and effective. Gender played no role in me earning my job. The church welcomed me as they would have any other leader, male or female.
Jesus welcomed women, talked to them, and responded to their ministry. Women were prominent figures in the life of Jesus. During Jesus’ travels through Samaria, Jesus stopped at a well for a drink of water. While at that well Jesus began talking to a woman who had also come to the well to fill her jug with water. The conversation that took place between this unnamed woman and Jesus was about theology, living water, and the expected Messiah. This woman recognized the man as Jesus, and left to go and tell her friends, neighbors, and townspeople that Jesus was at the well.
This story was very shocking to the people because Jesus was talking to a Samaritan. During this time period Jews and Samaritans were enemies, and Jesus was a Jew. But this is not the only reason this story was shocking. Not only was Jesus talking to a Samaritan, but he was talking to a Samaritan woman. A Jew talking to a woman was something no good Jewish man would do in public. Despite all of these barriers the Samaritan woman accomplished an important act on behalf of Jesus. She was an evangelist to her people, and because of her witness, many people came to hear and believe in Jesus and His mission.
The time period during the life of Jesus and after his death was a high point for women. While during this time there were no women ordained by Jesus, there were also no men, either. Although women were not among Jesus’ immediate twelve followers, they did travel with Him, and made up about half of the population of His inner circle. So I have to ask if it is so wrong for me as a woman to be placed in a leadership position within a church, why then would Jesus use them as messengers of His gospel?
The Samaritan woman is not the only example of women proclaiming Jesus’ message. Mary Magdalene is also an example of a woman in ministry. Mary was the first person to approach Jesus’ tomb, and while there an angel told her to go to Galilee to tell the disciples Jesus had been raised from the dead. She too was an apostle and evangelist for Jesus.
There were many other women in the leadership of developing the church after Jesus’ death. Paul mentions forty names in his letters of those forty people, 16 are women. Thats quite a large number of women involved in the missionary effort.
All of these female leaders served during a time when socially and culturally women rarely held positions of power; they were often considered property by their owners, which were their fathers and husbands.
Thankfully, times now are not so degrading for women. I make my own decisions, and belong to no one but myself. Women now are able to speak freely what they feel, and add much to society as a whole. It is important to the survival of churches now to have both male and female leaders. God created both men and women in his image, and we are all one in Him. Thus, the ordination of women speaks of the balance of God’s call to ministry. It is in that balance between men and women that we see the fullness of God.
When I decided to pursue a career in ministry, I never imagined the amount of grief I would be given for my decision. When people would ask me what I chose to go to college for and I answer, “religion,” they normally don‘t think twice about my decision. However, when I tell them what I plan on doing with my major, which is becoming a woman minister, I often get a different reaction. I am commonly told that I will never make it because I am a woman. I firmly believe I can achieve my goals. The only difference between me and a male minister is simple. It all comes down to gender, a gender difference that I had no control over.
It is people who do not know enough that pass judgment on to me. The common response I receive from those ignorant people is how I, as a Christian, am supposed to submit to men. However, those people obviously have not quoted their Bible in the right way. While the Bible does say I as a woman am supposed to submit to men, it also says I should submit to women, and they should also do the same for me. Christians are also supposed to submit to one another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5). Submission of all women to all men is never taught in Scripture. Rather, it is wives who submit to their own husbands and no other man. As a single woman, I do not have to submit to any man unless he is a fellow believer or a leader over me; and even then, I submit because he is a believer or in a position of authority and not because he is a man. I do not submit at all if I am asked to do something against God. People only pay attention to the woman’s side of the submission issue but the man equally is responsible as well.
So I say to all of those who condemn me for wanting to further God’s Kingdom, If any one of you is without sin, let them be the first to throw a stone at me.
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