Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Recalling God's Goodness 5

One day, some years ago, I sat in the office of an official of my denomination. I had come, a recently graduated woman hoping to be a minister, to discuss that very thing. He was a good man, a kind and courteous man. He also was not supportive of women in ministry. I did not know this. In those days I had no idea just how few women clergy were part of the Assemblies of God, nor that many of our leaders were not exactly enthusiastic supporters of our excellent position paper titled "The Role of Women in Ministry"--that is if they had actually read it. I have found that the majority of our rank-and-file clergy have not. I'm not sure about those in higher levels of leadership. (I rejoice to say that our new General Superintendent, George Wood, is an outspoken proponent of full participation of women in the life of the church. I LOVE that guy!)

This particular official assured me that plenty of opportunities for ministry would be available to me as a pastor's wife. We had a long conversation. I was relatively young and quite naive, and I was most decidedly neither confident nor assertive. I took his advice to be the best pastor's wife I could be, and to support my husband in his ministry.

It worked, after a fashion, for a while. I loved people, taught Bible studies, counseled women, led the choir, and so on. But I was unhappy on some sort of deep level and I finally realized that I was not called to simply support my minister-husband (though I gladly did and I still do). It was as I'd thought in the beginning; I too was called to be a minister. I mean a "professional" one, for lack of a better term.

By this time we were in a different area of the country. When I worked up the courage to approach another "official" I was warmly encouraged. And when I passed the first credentials exam with 100% I rejoiced and counted it a sign from above!

It has been a long journey, this ministry path, and there have been many twists and turns and some major disappointments--and a lot of those questions I mentioed a day or so ago. I'm still living it out, still unsure about many things, still trying to get it right, still sometimes very disheartened about the pervasive prejudice I see towards women in ministry.

But today I am remembering and thanking God for one woman professor who believed in and encouraged me, for my husband who not only encouraged but PUSHED me to be what I was called to be, for the encouragement of some of our leaders here in Wisconsin, and for the people who have enriched my life--professors, fellow pastors, parishioners and friends both in "real life" and in cyberspace.

Thank you, God, for encouragers in my life. May I always be one for others.

UPDATE: Those of you who read Questing Parson's blog will have heard of Ginger. Whether or not you are a QP reader, I highly recommend THIS post.
The Parson is an encourager, and I love him for it!


Jules said...


As I have said before, if you had been my pastor, I would maybe still be A/G. I grew up in a place where there were NO women visible in ministry.

I'm thankful tonight that the both of us have traveled this path God has chosen for us.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Cheesehead, I MUST talk to you soon. I'll try to call you today or tomorrow. :-)

HeyJules said...

Beautiful post, Singing Owl. Got me right smack in the God spot.

LoieJ said...

I actually read quite a bit of the AG website, which I thought was well done, including the position paper on women in ministry. I was quite surprised at this paper. I had figured that the AGs were pretty conservative. I was also surprised to see that historically the AGs supported women preachers right from the beginning based on some Bible verses that must be ignored in other groups.

BTW, in another context, someone just told me about a verse in Leviticus that he wrote:...."my favorite anti-gay bible verse club is the one from Leviticus--in a passage that also says that men can't be pastors if they've had a hernia, or had sex with a woman during her period...oh, and we shouldn't eat shellfish. Never been much for pick and choose."
I haven't looked that up yet.

Mary Beth said...

You go girl!

Sista Cala said...

Thank you for sharing so much about yourself. It is a joy to get to know you.

I too remember the early days of my calling. A teenager called to preach...and a girl to boot.... I am thankful for parents, grandparents, and an old A/G church that believed in my call.

I did not obtain a license w/the Assemblies, but I spent a few years teaching, preaching, and evangelizing in service with my local A/G church.

Though not currently w/the A/G, I still minister with a thankful heart for them.