Tomorrow, I will facilitate a workshop with about 12 people (mostly men) who are all high level representatives of different church organizations – either executive directors, or senior level bureaucrats. They’re letting little ol’ me stand in front of them and lead their discussion. Not only that, but they’ve asked me to start the day with a 15 minute “Biblical framework”. In other words, at the beginning of the day, I get to stand in front of 10 churchy big-wigs and preach the Bible to them! Hehe! It’s a little heady, I have to admit. Many of them have been to seminary, worked in overseas missions, preached in pulpits, and lead large ministries. But they’re trusting ME to interpret scripture for THEM.
About twenty-five years ago, I was a teenager in a small conservative church. Because there weren’t always enough people to fulfill all the duties, I offered to read the scripture one Sunday morning. I wasn’t allowed to. Wrong gender. What would people think, letting a woman read the Bible aloud in church?
A few years later, I was in Bible college and wanted to serve in a leadership position. But I could only go so far. I was elected student vice-president. I couldn’t be president. Wrong gender. School rules. A woman can’t lead the men. (In the end, as my friend said, I “lead from behind”, since I had more natural leadership ability than the male elected president.)
All I can say is “I’ve come a long way, baby!”
Yes, I think women still have a long way to go in terms of having their leadership abilities affirmed in some Christian circles, but thank God I’ve found some circles that affirm mine. I can’t fit into a Christian paradigm that won’t let me live out my giftedness.
Tomorrow, I will continue to live out my calling. It may not be the most inspired thing this group of leaders will hear in their lifetime, but it will still be valuable. Even though I’m a woman.