“This is What a Leader Looks Like” is a series adapted from an interview project on women in leadership conducted by Naomi Hall. Naomi recently served as a student intern with the Center for Transformation Leadership, a joint endeavor of the Free Methodist Church of Southern California and Azusa Pacific University. Meet Natalia Álvarez. Natalia is from […]
Welcome to “This is What a Leader Looks Like”, a series adapted from an interview project conducted by Naomi Hall. Naomi recently served as a student intern with the Center for Transformation Leadership, a joint endeavor of the Free Methodist Church and Azusa Pacific University. Today’s interview is with Janette Ok, a Teaching Pastor at Ekko Church and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, New Testament at Azusa Pacific Seminary. She writes “In the fifth grade, I attended a camp for Korean-American youth. At the end of the camp, I received a “paper plate” award that read, ‘Janette is bound to become a Sae Jong camp counselor someday due to her leadership abilities.’ That was the first time I saw myself a leader and, ever since, I have tried to discover what it meant to be a great one.”
The Junia Project recently published an article written by my wife entitled, A Day in the Life of a Female Pastor.
The unfortunate reality for my wife and many other women who live with a burning passion for and calling to ministry, is that they have been told by some (mostly men) that the Bible frowns upon or even forbids women to serve as pastors/clergy.
The point of this post is not to address all of those issues, which have been batted around and debated for years. Personally, I still can’t believe that with all the pain, brokenness, disillusionment and despair in the world, there are people who think it’s a good and biblical idea to prevent one half of humanity from serving and giving themselves to its healing and wholeness.
But I digress.
So let me just share with you what my wife, a female pastor, did on the day her post was published and let that speak for itself.
A Day in the Life of a Female Pastor Most mornings I wake up to a certain heaviness in my body. I feel it from the inside out. It is as if every bit of unresolved brokenness from the day before wells up overnight and now balances on my chest like a heavy bucket of […]
Northern Seminary student Megan Westra recently posted a reflection on Facebook about starting classes for her Master of Divinity degree. We asked her to share more of that journey with you today, along with the original post.
To you it may just look like another chair in another classroom
But to me it represents the five-year-old girl who wanted to be a missionary
It represents the ten-year-old girl who planned out summer camps
and programs she could run in her backyard
It represents the teenage girl crying in her journal at night
because she felt like she would never fit,
because she just couldn’t keep quiet…
From the mailbox: “Just wanted to say thank you for your article on 1 Timothy 2. It was a great reference for me as my 13 yr old daughter asked me about it when she read it during her devotions. I was not sure how to respond to her until I found your article. Thank you!” God Bless, Brian. As long as 1 Timothy 2 continues to be used to restrict women from fulfilling their call to discipleship we will continue sharing good scholarship on this passage. Today’s “long form” post is by seminary professor Patrick Franklin. In it he identifies 3 general reasons and 6 specific problems with using the passage in this way. This is our most comprehensive post on 1 Timothy 2 to date – be sure to bookmark it for further reference.
On Saturday, October 29, 2016, the #SheLeads Summit will be convened by MissioAlliance. On that day, women and men will gather from coast to coast at regional sites, in churches, and in homes across the United States to talk about the unique challenges that women who lead in church and ministry contexts face and to advance a vision of shared leadership between men and women. The Junia Project is proud to be a sponsor of this event and hope you can join us, either in Pasadena or at a regional venue in your area. Mainstage speakers include Carolyn Custis James and Jo Saxton, and local venues will be adding their own flavor to the mix. Here are five reasons we think you won’t want to miss this event.
Most church planting conferences, books, and leaders that I interact with assume that church planters will be male. Moreover, there are some movements such as Act29 and others which highlight that men are the ones who must be starting churches and all the marketing around those movements focus on encouraging men to plant.
I am in the very beginning stages of church planting where I live in the inner city. Many of the new church plants here are dominated by men who are starting churches with ultra conservative theology which bar women from key leadership roles. The churches look contemporary, relevant, and attractive, yet their patriarchal theology disallows women from senior leadership and certainly from being church planters. I find all of this incredibly strange because I think women make wonderful church planters.
“The devil is among us here at our seminary: women are being told they can preach.”
Those were the first words of a classmate’s sermon in my preaching class. He went on to berate the class with his interpretation on 1 Timothy 2:8-15 for another 20 minutes.
In some seminaries this type of sermon may not have been surprising, but this seminary officially stated that women are affirmed at all levels of church leadership. So, to say the least, I was stunned. But I shouldn’t have been, because when it had been my turn to preach this student had been particularly critical of my sermon and delivery, even going as far as to accuse me of not having prepared or done good exegetical work. While other students had been encouraging in their feedback and constructive in their critiques, he had been unkind and unrestrained with his public criticism.
After he concluded his sermon, there was an uncomfortable silence in the room. Finally, a male classmate spoke up and said gently but firmly, “I don’t agree with your conclusion. I believe the same Bible you do, but I believe that women can and should be pastors. Where is your love for God’s people, for women, and for God’s word in your sermon? You didn’t bring good news to the people of God.”
Another person may have commented, but I honestly don’t remember anyone else saying anything substantive. I do remember that the other two women in the class were absent that day, so my professor, who has a Ph.D. in homiletics and is a preacher herself, and I were the only women there. All the other male classmates looked uncomfortable and sat in silence.
A few weeks ago, the pastoral leadership team of my church (which I am a part) was planning the upcoming sermon series. When asked if I wanted to preach one of the sermons, I enthusiastically said yes. My “yes” to preaching comes out of a deep sense of call to use my voice. I believe that preaching is one of the ways that God has empowered me to serve and minister to others. I didn’t always feel this way about preaching. My journey as a female preacher has been a twisting path, filled with fear and insecurity.
While I was a student in college, I was part of a campus ministry that had both men and women leading and preaching. The female preachers I witnessed were confident and strong speakers who spoke with authority and power. Something began stirring in me – it was a whisper of a question, “Could I ever do what those women are doing?