When Thanksgiving comes around we are reminded to stop and take stock of what we have to be thankful for. At The Junia Project, we are overwhelmed with thankfulness for the way God is moving to raise up women in the Church.
It has been amazing to witness these holy moments and to play some small part in them. We got so excited thinking about all of it, that we wanted to share some of these things with you, The Junia Project community, so that you might also be encouraged.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five things we are thankful for:
1. Men who publicly advocate for women
We appreciate the men who consistently advocate for women’s equality in public spaces. Men like Rob Dixon, Tim Fall, Nick Quient, Jeremiah Gibbs, JW Wartick, Bob Edwards, Eugene Cho, and many more who advocate through social media and blogging.
Men like John Ortberg (that link takes you to what may be one of the best introductory sermon on women’s equality in the church out there), Bill Hybels, Greg Boyd, and many more who advocate from the pulpit.
These public affirmations are gamechangers, folks. As Rob Dixon writes in his post “Taking My Cue From Jesus“:
Jesus was/is a gamechanger. He really saw women, he trusted them, he taught them as disciples, he respected them, he valued their stories and he mourned with them. And here’s the kicker…he did it all publicly. What I mean is that there was a public dimension to each of the stories. It’s not like Jesus was going around empowering women behind locked doors; he was engaging with women on the streets, in house meetings and surrounded by crowds.”
2. Denominations committed to the full inclusion of women leaders.
In September we were invited by Free Methodist Church leaders to speak to a group of 200 pastors and church leaders about the importance of their commitment to women in ministry leadership. This was on the heels of a live podcast sponsored by the Brethren in Christ Church, another denomination that supports women leaders.
Two weeks ago we attended a meeting with leaders from 12 conservative denominations that have made a renewed commitment to an egalitarian view. The Junia Project will be involved in providing training for pastors in how to be more intentional about including and supporting women in leadership.
That same week we met with women clergy from various Wesleyan and Holiness traditions as they strategized ways to encourage and equip ordained women in their denominations. We are also aware of similar commitments in the Evangelical Covenant Church (see the blog of their Commission on Gender Equality), the Churches of Christ (watch pastor Jarrod Robinson challenge church leaders in this message at the 2014 Pepperdine Bible Lectures), and in the house church movement under the leadership of Tony and Felicity Dale.
This week a friend who sits on the board of a large church called to let us know that the elders and lead pastor are changing their stance on women in church leadership and are beginning the process of embracing egalitarian theology.
Yesterday we sat with representatives from the Wesleyan Church and Azusa Pacific Seminary and planned a regional spring event to celebrate women serving in church leadership.
3. Women providing senior leadership in evangelical denominations, seminaries, and universities.
We’ll just give a quick run-down of the women leaders that come to mind (in no particular order). Please add others you know about in the comments section.
Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church
Deana Porterfield, president of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary
Shirley Hoogstra, president of The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (association of 176 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world)
Andrea P. Cook, president of Warner Pacific College
Carol Taylor, president of recently consolidated Evangel University, Central Bible College, and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
Kim Phipps, president of Messiah College
Molly T. Marshall, president, Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Carla Sunberg president of Nazarene Theological Seminary
Tammy Dunahoo, Vice President of U.S. Operations, General Supervisor; The Foursquare Church
We know most of these women personally and let us tell you, they are multi-talented and spiritually gifted leaders. Their impact as role models cannot be underestimated.
4. Women in academics who are publishing in biblical studies, church history, practical ministry, and theology.
We’ve addressed this in a previous post on the contributions of women scholars, but here are a few more scholars and works we are excited about:
Kara Powell: Sticky Faith Resources (for facilitating spiritual development)
Hmmm…these would make good Christmas gifts for the pastors in your life!
More than anything else, we are thankful for our Junia Project readers and supporters! You have made this past year an incredible one, and we have learned so much from you.
Many of you are advocating for women every day in your own way, whether that’s in a public role or through living out your commitment in every day life. The stories you have shared on the blog and in private messages have been humbling and inspiring.
We owe an extra measure of thanks to our blog contributors – all who write on a volunteer basis – and our thoughtful commenters. There is power in our collective voice!
So thanks for walking with us on this journey. Together let’s thank God for the incredible things happening in the Church!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
Latest posts by Gail Wallace (see all)
- Did Jesus Really Spend Most of His Time with Just 12 Men? - March 28, 2018
- BEST OF 2017: OUR TOP TEN POSTS - January 2, 2018
- The Women Who Stood Near the Cross - April 14, 2017