A God Who Calls Women to Pastor

Teanna Sunberg

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woman and bible

woman and bible

It is Friday afternoon and my 14-year old folds her tall frame into the passenger seat.  “Mom, I am so angry.” Uh-oh. My mother’s heart braces for teen-age trouble.

“Today in class, Mr. X. said that women cannot be pastors because they are inferior to men. And Mom, when I told him I think God has equipped women to be or to do anything that God calls them to, including pastor, he told me I was wrong and that my perspective was unbiblical.”

As third-culture kids, our four girls have spent their lives in mixed culture, mixed denominational, mixed theological settings.

They are well-schooled in the fact that many Christians, some that we call close friends,  disagree with our Wesleyan stance on women in ministry. We are learning to inhabit space where we are obedient to God’s call yet respectful of other opinions. This is healthy.  But Mr. X crossed a line with his blanket statement that left no room for conversation and no respect for women.

There are aspects of motherhood that are enormously challenging. The messy bun and french braid that she is counting on me to pull-off tomorrow. The decisions about how far to push chores. The ten breaths I force myself to take before I intervene in passionate sibling interchanges. But raising independent, compassionate, and called young women has been more joy than challenge.

Please don’t read ‘joy’ and infer easy or flawless, or smooth.

Working alongside my girls in refugee camps across the Balkan peninsula last summer was pure joy. Watching my girls play with Roma children in Bulgarian villages has been pure joy. Including them in theological conversations around the supper table with visiting professors has been pure joy.

Our girls have soaked up and soaked in the air of ministry and it has never been attached to their gender.

They are fully feminine and often fearless to a fault, but my most fervent mother’s prayer is that they will be fully available to God and his call on their lives. Full stop. Because God wants women in the pulpit, in the seminary classroom, and in the streets where freedom dies every day just as much as he wants us in the kitchen.

Luke 10 gives us the story of Mary and Martha to clarify something essential for us. The role of a Jewish woman in first century Israel was as a second-class citizen, at best. They were slaves to the needs, desires, and whims of their master who was either father or husband. But, in this passage, we find Mary in the posture of a student who is sitting at the feet of the Rabbi Jesus for the purpose of learning.

From our 21st century perspective, there seems to be nothing fearless or radical about  the feminine presence in the classroom or even the response that Jesus gives.

The  key here is that if we are not careful, we filter all of scripture through this 21st century perspective.  But Mary and Jesus are giving birth to a revolutionary, system-altering, cultural shift in this passage.  Mary is doing what women in that culture were forbidden to do. She is being taught, she is being trained, she is being prepared for ministry that would reach beyond the kitchen. And Jesus is unlocking the door.

As an ordained woman living, ministering, and mothering in cross cultural settings where the roles and freedoms of women are often complicated, I am aware of how cultural morés form invisible roadblocks. Like the interlinked pavers of a stone sidewalk, they become impenetrable walls, foundations, and ceilings. We repeatedly hear,  “God only calls men to pastor.” But, is this what we see in scripture?

In the Mary and Martha story, we find ourselves called to serve a wall-demolishing, roaring lion of a God who does the impossible, the unexpected, and the miraculous. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”  

If God wants to call women to pastor, he will do it. He is doing it.

We live in a historically fascinating and hope-filled point. God is roaring and the walls of cultures and religions that have hushed the Christ-message are being deconstructed. It should not surprise us that they are often also the walls that silence the voice of women.  

Over the last two years, more than 1 million people with non-Christian backgrounds have swept through the traditionally Orthodox and Catholic Balkans. These are the same locations where 25 years ago, Communism had unequivocally proclaimed ‘God is dead.’  Let’s not miss what God is doing. These very diverse cultures share one commonality: a failed attempt to control and domesticate the wild, roaring, powerful presence of God.

Even as I write this post, I am drinking a latte on the corner of a now peaceful Maidan Square in Kyiv.

This is where Ukrainians dug up the very pavers of the square’s sidewalk to shield themselves from bullets in 2014 and 2015.  Just down the street is an empty pedestal. It once held Lenin’s statue which had somehow weathered the storms of the fall of communism in the 1990’s. 

This square evolved into a global proclamation of the Ukrainian will to speak in the fall of 2014. Unarmed Ukrainians with the sheer numbers of common, ordinary people and the force of their will dismantled Lenin’s statue to send a clear message to the channels of power. “Our young people will not be treated with violence and disrespect.” The embryo of the Maidan protests began with a group of peacefully protesting Ukrainian youth.

I want young women and men to speak up when they see injustice.  I want young men and young women to use their feet, their arms, their mouths, and their minds to proclaim peace and well-being in a world where hope often bleeds in the street.

And I want young women and men to pastor and preach when they sense God’s call on their lives.

As a follower of Jesus who happens to be a woman, an ordained elder, a missionary, and a mom, it is my responsibility, my privilege and my call to not only be present in the streets proclaiming peace but to also be a common, everyday Mary who makes space for others at the feet of Jesus.

To imagine that God does not call women into ministry? There is nothing more unbiblical. May God give us fearless hearts and grace filled actions to answer his call wherever he leads us.

 

Image Credit: iStock

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53 Comments

  • Hello Teanna!

    My last pastoral position was as an associate pastor of a Southern Baptist church. I had no idea how outrageous that was to most Southern Baptists until after I accepted the call. It was a rough seven years!

    I recently travelled across the U.S. to study the Christian community for a book and documentary project. I met with hundreds of pastors, church leaders and church members to talk about the poor health and poor reputation of our community in America. I found, at the outset of my journey, I had to remove any reference to my being a “pastor” from my website and letterhead as it resulted in a lot of doors being shut in my face. I was surprised and disheartened by the bias. It didn’t matter that my mission was to build up the Church. I was dismissed out of hand because I “called myself a pastor”.

    The irony is, of course, I didn’t call myself a pastor. God did. I was more than a little reluctant to accept the call at the time. I had been raised to believe that only men could hold positions of authority and influence. But the call was real and I knew it in every fiber of my being. It’s been a difficult journey but I remain grateful and blessed by it.

    Here is the thumbnail sketch of my theological position on women and leadership:

    Men ruling over women was a curse which was the consequence of the fall in the Garden. I could go into the fallacy of the blame being laid at Eve’s feet but for the sake of simplicity and clarity I won’t. The bottom line is there was no human hierarchy before sin corrupted the world. Men and women were both created in God’s image.

    Christ came to redeem us from the curse. He died to set us FREE from the bondage of sin and death. So WHY WOULD WE CONTINUE TO LIVE UNDER THAT CURSE ? Who does it serve? God? Not at all. The Church? Definitely not. How can we effectively serve the mission of the Gospel using only 50% of the gifts and talents God imparted to us?

    It’s very difficult to give up power and control once it’s been exclusively yours for so long. Male dominance in ministry is rooted in a genuine sense of entitlement and righteousness. Those who fight against expanding the role of women in ministry sincerely believe they are protecting the foundations of Christianity. But the truth is the only thing served by perpetuating a curse set aside by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ … is male ego.

    I feel like I’m all alone sometimes. Being a born pleaser it’s hard for me to live against the grain. I don’t need the title. It isn’t about the title. It’s about the fact that God called me and I refuse to allow that to be demeaned or disqualified.

    I’ve put “pastor” back in my description. Perhaps I was wrong to have ever taken it out.

    In His love and service,
    Sharon Bollum

  • As a female pastor (in the ELCA – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), I am saddened but totally not surprised by what your daughter encountered. And I have a boatload of similar stories that I could share!

    It sure does make it harder to listen to God’s call when others decide and try to enforce their ideas of what God can and cannot do.

    My snarky response to the kind of comment that Mr. X ignorantly spoke is generally (’cause there is no point in arguing with arrogant people who think that women are weaker — that’s just a waste of breath), “Well, isn’t it amazing, then, that God choses what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; and choses what is weak in the world to shame the strong. And if you don’t know where that comes from, maybe you should read your Bible.”

  • I have a friend I work with who is adamant that the majority of the issues we face in our churches today can be traced to denominations permitting women to have positions of leadership over men. He takes a very paternalistic, almost misogynistic view of Scripture. He points to the classic passages in the Old Testament, as well as Paul’s admonitions in the New Testament, speaking against women having any form of leadership over men and extols the “weaker vessel” view of women. It is God’s will, he believes, that women play a lesser role in Church leadership due to the way they are created and because of Eve’s failure in the Garden, being the first to be deceived.

    Here’s my take on this matter…

    In His Beatitudes, Jesus consistently stated, “You have heard it said…but, I say unto you…” He took what was popular “religious” requirement and elevated it to the point of absolute simplicity and essential spiritual truth, based on one criteria….love.

    Using the same criteria of simplicity and love, I believe it is clear in Scripture that God would say to us that women have equal place in the Kingdom of God, where there is no longer male or female…but, we shall be as the angels of heaven (Mk 12:25).

    In the last days (which I believe we are in) Scripture tells us that God will pour His Spirit out on all flesh, male and female alike, and that our sons and daughters will prophesy (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28). If you look at Paul’s writings about the ministry gifts, prophesy is second only to the calling of apostles, and well above pastors/teachers (Eph. 4:11).

    Paul, who is often quoted by the misogynists in his writings about women being silent in the church (1 Cor 14:34), is also the same apostle who stated that in the Church there is “…no longer male and female…” (Gal. 3:28). How do we explain this seeming contradiction?

    Just as aspects of the Law were accommodations for the weakness and sinful bent of mankind (see Jesus’ discussion on divorce in Matt. 5), so rules regarding the lowered state of women in the church were, in my view, accommodations for a paternalistic, misogynistic culture of the day; as well as a response to various voices causing disorder in church gatherings (note: Paul also commands “tongue speakers” to be silent in the public gatherings).

    I believe the goal of the Holy Spirit, for the Church, is to elevate it out of this kind of “cultural” view to a spiritual “kingdom” view, that recognizes the equity and impartiality of the Holy Spirit in bestowing, on ALL FLESH, the gifts and offices He deems fit for the Kingdom…not what paternalistic, misogynists would permit. I believe part of the purification of the Bride (Eph 5:26-27) is the removal of all forms of inequity, including a disparity between the sexes and restrictions on their ability to serve. And isn’t that the more “loving” way?

    We are too late in this world to be arguing about the legitimacy of someone’s ministry because of their sex. This is what Paul would call “carnal thinking” and he warned us specifically against such reasoning (Rom. 8:7; Col. 2:18). We need to grow up in our view of the Kingdom and learn to see all aspects of church ministry and gifts with spiritual eyes, recognizing that we are all, male and female alike, equally able and equally responsible.

    God bless you all, as you seek to be obedient to your call and respecting the gifts and ministries given to others, impartially and without respect to sex, age, station or status and, thus, honoring the Giver of the gifts and calling, humbly submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit.

    • You are so right. Paternalism is next to Totalitarianism…the heart of one who proudly thinks they know much better than their inferiors and seeks to control. This is truly a danger to the faith of one who seek to follow the Christ. Either a woman or a man with this kind of spirit can be said to damage the church.

      Best to continue on and if the Lord is leading then the work will not fail. I fear, in many ways, that misogynists have gravitated to fundamentalist religions of all kinds and use the supposed authority of God for their advantage. That is why so many women today are leaving the churches. They are not as used to being put down as they were in the past and will not tolerate it. In a way this is a good thing, and the emptying of churches of authoritarians is a sign that Christ is indeed building HIS church…elsewhere…even outside the camp.

  • I have always felt blessed to be part of a church, where we had Co-Founders, and the Founder once stated; “My best men are Women”. I am speaking of The Salvation Army, and women were ordained from the very beginning 1865. Our Co-Founder Catherine preached her first sermon in 1860! God then continued to use her and she was well sought out as a preacher in her own right. I grew up not thinking it was odd. My first pastor that I remember was a woman, and I remember as a young girl, sitting listening to her speak, and thinking, “I could be a pastor like her”. She was such an inspiration. I also have an Aunt that was a Children’s Pastor and many other strong women of God showing me that women are more than equipped to be a pastor. I am blessed that next year I will mark my 25th year of being an ordained minister. Praises to God

    • I too, after 30 years in fundamentalism, went to the Salvation Army hoping to have a ministry there, but at my age it became obvious that this was impossible and I left. This organization is great for young women who seek to become officers…otherwise, and older woman like me just is unnecessary except in the same manner I was ‘needed’ in fundamentalism…to bake cookies.

      I can do that at home and now invite women to my home for interesting meetings focusing on different aspects of Christ’s ministry and seeking to know Him and his heart for women and to understand his effect of the women of his day. This is more interesting and each woman speaks from her heart and shares. It is really, to me, the best church I have been to.

  • When I answered my call to seek licensing as a pastor (UMC), gender wasn’t in my view. Since answering that call and going through the candidacy certification process, it has moved to the center of my call – not because it has become an issue for me, but because someone felt the need to have the “girls” in my group receive a “special talk” about “how to behave as a woman pastor. What a distraction from what I was seeking.

    Thank you for your article. Thank you for the reminder that Mary didn’t “learn while making, baking and serving the casserole that night, after making sure she wasn’t wearing too much perfume, too much makeup, and crossed her ankles rather than her knees”; that she sat down right next to the rest of the students and was taught.

  • It is astounding that women becoming pastors is still “news” in 2017. People wonder how to make the church more relevant. This isn’t it.

  • I am also an ordained UMC pastor and have faced some strange situations. I was once told I was such a good preacher that it was as if I was a man. Have never figured that one out! I tell people that I can throw scripture at them- Romans 16, numbers 6:2, and the Luke scripture. But someone will always be critical of me- I’m too young, too old, too tall, too short, etc. I just know I’m called, work every day to be faithful, and pray God will clear the way for what He needs for me to do. Thx for the encouragement!!

    • Great points, Diane! This issue will not go away with scripture wars – although the egalitarian scholarship is excellent these days! Too much cultural and social baggage goes along with it.

      • Perhaps not scripture “wars” but scripture has to be the answer. Personal feelings or a plea to gender rights only give humankind’s response to the issue. We have to do what God wants us to do and we can only discern that through proper sriptural exegesis. We need to stress that scripture must be understood in context and that constraints that Paul felt were necessary in 1st centuy Judea might no apply today.

        As I read more of these posts I am getting the feeling that egalitarianism is a Methodist – Holiness – Pentecostal issue. Do Presbyterians, Baptists and Lutherans have women ministers?

        • Yes, American Baptists, Cooperative Baptists, Presbyterians and Lutherans have women ministers. But you are correct that the Wesleyan Holiness streams have the longest history. Interestingly, the Southern Baptist Church even recognized women pastors pre 1970s.

          • Also Evangelical Covenant and Evangelical Friends denominations.

        • Not all Lutheran denominations ordain women. The Missouri Synod does not. I don’t think the Wisconsin Synod does either.

          • Right. But others do-not sure which ones though. Here in California we have both Lutheran churches that do support women’s ordination and that don’t. Same goes for Presbyterian. Thanks for the clarification!

  • I was called to teach — no doubt about it.

    God called me to a Christian college (I didn’t want to go there at first.)
    God called me to work in a publishing company. (I didn’t want to do that at first.)
    God called me to write material that today is used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. (I am not a good writer.)

    I just did what I was called to do. More than a million people around the world have been “taught by a woman” and they don’t even know it.

    • What an awesome response! Watchman Nee and other men used to hide behind a curtain to listen to female missionary Lottie Moon because they were not allowed to listen to her, but they learned so much they just had to listen…they had a hunger for God…too bad the hunger is ignored because of gender….this is not God’s way…God called women and will call women..Peter prophesied that this would happen…God’s handmaids are called by him and they must go…stiff, rules oriented men just can’t deal with it…Don’t worry about them…you have to go when you are called or disobey……but then we have to split hairs about the technical word for being a LABOURER in the harvest field like the woman at the well…to whom Jesus referred when he first stated that quotation. Paul called several women co-labourers…(check out the Greek).

  • We could argue about what has happened in past centuries, but what we can’t get around is Joel 2:28-29! It clearly tells us that in the Last Days of earth’s history that God will call everyone who is willing to respond. Time will be short before Christ comes, so God is willing to use anyone who is willing to respond, to get the Word out to a desperate world. And that DEFINITELY includes women!!! I struggled with my call for about 6 years, so I did not enter pastoral ministry lightly! I began pastoring in 1998, and have NEVER regretted answering God’s call. Praise God!!!

  • Funny thing that culture seems to ‘call’ more people than Christ. Culture is that entity that says men have always been in control (because of their brute strength and bad attitude) and that is the way it should always be…it is that thing that Satan created because he prefers male rule because it was the first man, Adam who excused what he, Satan, did in the garden and blamed God and the woman…yeah Adam turned his back on God and the woman and so God and the woman worked hard together and have always had a deeper relationship because the man so often takes Satan’s side. Men! Really think about this! When you close the door on women what is your reasoned REASON…reason WITH God about it honestly and sincerely….ask Him to reveal His Heart for women and THINK HARD AND LONG why your churches are full of women and bereft of men…because now the women are leaving too….

  • What IS unbiblical is this ongoing idea that God made women INFERIOR….chapter and verse please? These kinds of men are destroying the church as fast as Jesus builds it…they ARE mentioned in the Bible, actually , Ezekiel 34:1-7

    ” Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
    The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD.”

    Like so many sheep I too have been driven out from among the flock where I have found pasture and dwell with my true Shepherd…He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…the churches are becoming wastelands…

    “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” We need Christ, not a group that demeans us and starves us of nourishment. He is ENOUGH!

    • The idea of women as inferior has a long and a deep history. I am so glad to be living in this period of history where we see change happening.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I’m also a called, ordained woman and faced a lot of hypocrisy, being “put in my place”, by Senior Pastors, even told that I was going to hell because I dared to believe that God has called me for His purpose. I applaud you for creating an environment where these kind of things can be discussed.

    • Oh, Tammy Coleman — I had to chuckle a little bit about the space in hell. I’m so sorry for the discouragement. Please keep walking faithfully. Keep your ears attuned to the Lord’s call.

    • Tammy my friend I truly understand! Coming from the same place I faced much of the same discouragement. I am so thankful that God has brought people into my life who have affirmed and encouraged the call He gave me. Love you always sister!

      • Pharisees everywhere…they are so intent on destroying Christ’s church while thinking the are the purest of the pure.

        Truly it is the blind leading the blind when they rule.

  • Thank you for your encouragement for us to not let the “closed conversation” stand in the way of God’s clear message.

  • THANK YOU!!!
    As a professor in The School of Theology and Christian Ministry – I am blown away at the NUMBER of female/male students who are of a firm belief that women are not preaching/senior pastor material – using Paul to back themselves up. O God help us be faithful to open doors of communication, helpful discourse, and opportunity. Amen.

    • Hello Teresa Garner – i am also amazed at the conversation sometimes. Open and available, but often still surprised.

  • I once had a wise friend say to me ( when I was still an active woman preacher) that when God calls a woman into a pastorate ministry, it most likely means that at least 3 men refused to obey God’s call!!!

    It is God who places what we call “the Calling” in our hearts…male & female…it is The Holy Spirit who impresses upon us the direction God “invites” us to go, with Him in the lead. There are many examples of women in leadership roles throughout Scripture, and if you read Paul carefully, he never says, “God only allows men to be preachers.” He says, in fact, that “I do not permit a woman to speak in authority over men”…Paul spoke his preference, according to the culture…
    God does the calling, if we are to truly serve Him, then we are to obey. It is not up to “man” to dictate how that obedience “must be” played out.
    God uses our gifts, talents, experiences, passions to help guide us into His calling for our lives.

    • Yes RAe Baer – I agree. God gives and then uses our gifts, talents, experienced and passions for his purposes and his people.

  • Something I have asked before but have never received a complete answer to is, how do you know when God is calling you to a work? How do you distinguish this from a family member or friend who planted an idea in your mind when you were young or from an inspiration you received when reading a book about someone you look up to? I come from a denomination where the “calling” of men or women is not considered scriptural and I don’t have a firm grasp on the concept.

    • Dear Joe. For me it was my church that asked me to become a minister. I was volunteering in an Urban Aboriginal Mission … and I ended there because I saw in Television one of their leaders speaking and she asked for help. So I jumped into my car, walked into the mission and said – here I am what can I do – I heard your call. And some month after that the Minister who was in charge of this mission asked me to consider to start a way to ordination. And I didn’t even that they ordained women! So the church sent me to Theological College, I also went to University, and one fine day I was ordained Minister of the Uniting Church in Australia. Isn’t our Lord God wonderful … and I actually asked my God : are you sure about this – and He said: yes. Rev Anneli Sinkko, MPhil

      • So it was the people of your congregation who called you to be a preacher and not God himself? That is the point of my question. In the 18th and 19th centuries people who felt a calling would describe it as something that struck them down physically and sent them to their knees or as a lightning bolt from heaven. In the Bible we read of people who heard God in a dream, of Moses who talked to God face to face and of Paul who saw Jesus on the road to Damascus. I am trying to understand if that is the sort of experience women are having now that they think is God calling them to preach.

        I have never personally known a person who felt they were called but that might be because of my background in a denomination that teaches that miracles have ceased and that all of our inspiration comes through the pages of scripture.

        • Hi Joe — for me it was taking theological classes. The more I learned, the more I felt the Lord speaking to my heart. And then, as I stepped out in faith, there were confirmations of that calling.

          • The idea of being called is really difficult for me to understand. I have read many accounts of the Second Great Awakening when people would wander in the fields and forests waiting for a sign that they had received the spirit until they were struck down and barked like a dog or writhed on the ground. I can’t imagine that that is what women are talking about when they say they are responding to a call but it is my only point of reference. I have only known male preachers and the main factors that influenced their choice of profession is generally a knowledge of scripture, an ability to do public speaking and a desire to evangelize among the lost. No divine calling is involved. I have come to the conclusion that women are allowed to speak to a mixed company of men and women but that is based on an understanding of the words of Paul taken in the proper context. Saying “I have been called so I must speak” seems to be a fulfillment of personal desires rather than an argument backed up by scripture.

          • Joe, in our Wesleyan Holiness tradition men are often called as well as women. That said, I wonder if God might gift women with a stronger sense of personal call due to the certain obstacles they will face when they begin their ministry journey. Just a thought! A female senior pastor shares her call experience in a Facebook Live interview I watched recently on the Northern Seminary Facebook page. It might be helpful to you in your quest for understanding. https://www.facebook.com/northernseminary/. It’s a post on May 25.

        • Joe, you are correct to conclude that the reason you’ve not met a person who felt “called” is due to your denomination. I know many people who feel called. I’m one of them. I’m not called to preach but to write. In fact, I wrote a book on calling called Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life.
          A writer who helped me grapple with the idea of calling: Frederick Buechner. His book The Hungering Dark has a great essay on calling. His most famous quote about calling is probably this one “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I’d encourage you to read the Hungering Dark, and also Parker Palmer’s book Let Your Life Speak. Keep seeking. Your faith tradition focused on other things, good things, but it sounds like God has you on a journey that will bring greater insights and even more good things.

    • For me, when I first got called, I pulled a female pastor (who was one of my bosses) aside, told her what was going on, and she told me to be vigilant and the God would make it obvious.. At the time, that answer was extremely annoying and unhelpful, but she was right. On my blog, which I will link below, I have a post about the signs I got.. it’s not up to date because if it was I would be updating it at least once a month, but it is important to say that my experience is not the same as other people’s. God will speak to each person as they need it, in a way that they recognize. Oh & if you’re interested, on my blog I also have a post about Woman Pastors, but it might seem a little like ranting, but I do talk about the biblical aspects.
      https://nichollezniche.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/call-to-officership

    • From the various stories that I have heard from people who said they felt called to do something the key thing that separates God’s call from culture, church or family influence is that when the person waits, questions or even tries to ignore it the internal conviction builds up and will not go away.

  • No coincidence that my own teenage daughter came to me, today, with an almost identical story of Mr. X from Christian School who gave the same blanket, case-closed response to this question. I was honest with my daughter when I said that I didn’t have a firm enough understanding of the scripture on this subject to give an informed response. And then our past-pastor Carla Sunberg shared the link to this article! God is good, and He will not be boxed in, or tamed! Thank you for heeding your call!

    • Hello Amy P — so interesting to hear your story. Can I point you to an excellent resource (in addition to my amazing sister-in-law, Carla and the book she co-authored) there is a great and very readable book by YWAM called, “Why Not Women?” This would be a book that your daughter might also enjoy — depending upon her age, but if she is a teenager, it will be appropriate.

  • Thanks for this article. It is particularly encouraging for me to hear this with mention of the Balkan region. Thank you!

  • Great post! Thank you, Teanna. Inspiring to hear your story of aiming to raise daughters who are wholly available for God.

  • Such a beautifully inspiring and true message of hope for the Church today! And for those of us who are working to create a pathway for the younger generation, this idea hit home “it is my responsibility, my privilege and my call to not only be present in the streets proclaiming peace but to also be a common, everyday Mary who makes space for others at the feet of Jesus”! Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

    • Hi Donna – yes, I feel very strongly about empowering young women and young men for ministry. What a beautiful journey with Jesus, is it not? Thanks for taking the time to post. Most appreciated.

  • Thank you for living into your many callings, Teanna, which includes your vocation, your parenting of young women in a manner that encourages them to hear their calling, and your advocacy for all of us to hear our calls and support those called to ministry.

    • Patti Dikes – thank you for your words of encouragement. Let me encourade you to continue as the Lord calls and leads you.

  • This is outstanding!!! This is so true!!!

    • Thank you Pastor Middendorf. Appreciate you so much and your support of Nazarene women. You have been a constant theological presence in my life – thank you for being faithful to Jesus!

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