The following piece is in honor of my father, who recently marked 30 years in pastoral ministry and who turns 60 years old today.Read More
During this seven-year period of largely waiting and silence, there was one area in which I continued to hear God speak to me. I didn't hear anything from God when I prayed about a ministry position. When I prayed for more opportunities to speak, teach, and write about his Word, I continued to hear, "Wait," and "Not yet." But when I prayed with open hands and open heart, "Lord, show me what you want me to do. Why have you called me?," God continued to speak to my heart a call to help women (especially young women) called to gospel ministry. During this time, the one area that grew in intensity was a God-given desire to help and serve women whom God had called to ministry. I was beginning to see that perhaps a large part of my calling was to help train and raise up women for gospel ministry. At the same time, I continued to wrestle with the question, How can I help other women when I am not serving full-time in a church ministry position?Read More
An audio transcript of John Piper answering a question about female professors in seminary has garnered a lot of (negative) attention since being posted yesterday. He says, "The issue is whether women should be models, mentors, and teachers for those preparing for a role that is biblically designed for spiritual men." His answer? No, women should not play any role in the formation of male pastors. Click here to read the full transcript at Desiring God.Read More
During my second year of studies at Beeson, I began intentionally praying about what was next. "God, what do you have for me? God, I trust you with my calling, but I still do not know what comes after seminary or where you are leading me." As I was praying about what was next, God brought to my mind young women he was calling to ministry. The thought was unexpected, something that had never crossed my mind on its own. And the more I prayed, testing these thoughts about mentoring and helping young women called to ministry, the more my thoughts drifted to them and the more passionate I became. God was planting and growing in my heart a desire to help young women–15-year-old Kristens–discern a call to ministry so they didn't feel alone or have to go at it alone and so that they would be able to live out the calling faithfully.Read More
Last week I had lunch with my friend and minister, Deborah.
Deborah is on the ministerial staff at The Cathedral Church of the Advent in downtown Birmingham, where my husband and I are members. Deborah has the gift of teaching and preaching. She is not only one of my favorite women Bible teachers but on of my top 10 favorite Bible teachers. She has a heart for the Lord and the gospel, is smart, and learned in the study of theology and exegesis. I'm so grateful to have her on staff at my church.
Deborah said something during our lunch that I've heard her say before, but today it struck me a little differently.
Following my most recent post last week about "Lost Women" she said something to the effect of "I want to move past these debates and get to the work of the Church, serving as a co-laborer next to my brothers and sisters." Then she said, "I believe we need in the Church, just like in our families, fathers and mothers."
Last year this summer we waited and watched as the Supreme Court made its ruling on marriage. Marriage--and all the benefits of marriage including having a family--was equally granted to homosexual couples as it has been for heterosexual couples. Christians mourned the loss of children not having both a father and mother in the home. Even though there are situations where children might be raised in a single family home, the ideal, nonetheless, is for every child to have a father and mother.
Whether it is the deep voice of my husband in times of discipline, his strength when I want to be too easy or tender, or the way he relates to our son differently than me, our son needs both his father and mother. We each have something that the other doesn't have, and together he sees the full image of God.
As I drove back to work from lunch, I thought about what Deborah said and I thought about most churches I know. In the family of God, we have lots of fathers. But where are the mothers? In egalitarian churches, this of course won't be the case (at least probably not). In fact the opposite might be true: Where are the fathers?
When we lived in England two years ago, we attended a church where the vicar was a male but the other two staff members were female. When lay leaders/deacons were involved with communion, prayer, etc, the majority of these were women. On some Sundays the absence of fathers was strong.
But in the States, and especially in complementarian churches, the absence of women in leadership is abysmal. Where are the mothers in the family of God?
Who are the fathers or mothers in a church? They are those called by God, set apart by him, for vocational gospel ministry to administer the Word of God for the people of God. These are the people called to shepherd and care for the souls. These are the ones who are called to feed the flock, take care of their physical and spiritual needs, and remind them of the Good News of Jesus. These in leadership--at least with men--are expected to have some kind of training because of the type of call that involves an authoritative teaching of the Word of God.
But even in complementarian churches where it is believed women can only have authority in preaching and teaching to other women there is room and ever need for mothers. We need men and women called by God and trained for this work helping with Sunday services. We need these called men and women available for prayer during an invitation. We need both fathers and mothers as co-laborers working together to raise up the children of God for the work of God. We need fathers and mothers co-laboring side by side to teach and preach the Word to the flock. If our families need both a father and a mother then why doesn't God's family need both too?
At the Advent the preaching is shared by all ministerial staff members even though our lead pastor--called "dean" because our church is a cathedral--carries most of the preaching responsibility. My husband has remarked on several occasions after Deborah has preached that she was able to speak to him in a way that Andrew or Matt cannot. He says, "In the same way a mother can provide for a son in a way that a father cannot, there are some things that a female preacher can provide that a male preacher cannot." He is not saying that her exegesis does not matter; rather, God uses the whole package--including gender--to minister.
God uses the complementarity of the sexes to minister to each of us--male and female. If God saw fit to give both a father and mother to children, then why should the family of God be void of mothers?
Happy 2015! I have lots of things to tell you and discuss with you this year. The past month I have been silent because my hard drive crashed on my computer. However, this time has allowed me to think through some topics, posts and discussions I would like to see happen this year. More on that later.
Today, I want to share with you a short video from a former professor of mine at Beeson Divinity School. If you or someone you know is interested in a theological education, Dr. Mark Gignilliat gives some excellent advice before entering seminary. Theological education is not just a discipline for the head. Rather, the best kind of theological education is one that involves both the head and the heart.
You can watch the video here.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what Mark has to say!