Women Who Minister

Yesterday I attended the #SheLeads Conference held at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena (or PazNaz). Two of my Theology teachers were attending who have had a tremendous influence on me so I decided to go.

One professor is Dr. Kara Lyons-Pardue. She is in her mid-30s and reads Greek as a first language. She received her PhD from Princeton and I have to say she is nothing short of kind, welcoming and the most non-judgmental person I have ever met. I remember my first day of class as a Master of Ministry student scared to death to be a woman learning with men (some of them pastors). My fundamental church background taught me well about a woman’s place and this step of attending school challenged me greatly. On the first day of class, I was shocked when female Professor Lyons-Pardue walks into the classroom with her belly beautifully 8 months pregnant. Not only was her belly adorable but her confidence and intelligence seemed to lift me right above my fears of advanced learning with religious men. I still remember many of her sentences and she still remembers me crying in class as I described a horrific, painful experience from a pastor in North San Diego County.

In time, I then met Dr. Rebecca Laird. She was the first woman I had met who was an ordained minister in addition to a Theology Professor. Rebecca changed my life by her counsel, her confidence and her experience. She looked at me and said something to the effect of, “The church world is like a big ocean. You need to learn where you fit in the ocean. You are a woman evangelist and you’re presently trying to swim in cement.”

Through the years of learning at Point Loma Nazarene University and now at Nazarene Theological Seminary, I have lost the chip on my shoulder. I don’t need to defend the gifts and callings God has given me. The education has allowed me and my female peers to grow and thrive without apologizing.

Well, I say all that to talk about yesterday’s #SheLeads Conference. It was the first time I sat in a room with female senior pastors, a female president of a Theology School and so many young female college students pursuing a career in ministry. Amazing! Could it be that we are entering a time of androgyny—a world without gender limits? Could it be that the Pentecost Anointing to both men and women is now being released? Could it be that God who pours out His Spirit on both young men and women is now opening up the flood gates to bring women into true leadership and ministerial roles? I kept thinking of Acts 10 with Cornelius’ family being anointed in the Holy Spirit by Peter. It took time for the Jewish-Christians to accept Gentiles becoming Christians but in God’s timing and in His way, the Church embraced the goodness of God to extend salvation to all.

As a woman who ministers  (Daily Disciples) and as a woman chaplain ministering, I can say there are a few things about women ministers that we all have in common:

  1. We have no doubt that we are called by God and we have a firm conviction to be faithful to Him.
  2. Our first desire is to please God, despite the words and opinions of others.
  3. We do not want to be men. God made us as women and we are happily female.
  4. We are being obedient to God, not rebellious to the church culture.
  5. If we have children, we love and care deeply for them. God did not have us choose between our children and His will. It was His will for us to have children within His calling. As a result, God works with us and through us to mother our children.
  6. Pastors are shepherds. There are both male and female shepherds in the Bible. The body of Christ is not complete without having both male and female pastors.
  7. We needed to learn how to wrestle the demons back to hell while living in the wilderness to fulfill our calling with grace and peace. We know that Christianity is the only religion that places women upon an equal platform with men, as initiated by Jesus Christ.

Yesterday’s #SheLeads Conference is summed up best by a testimony I read in Phoebe Palmer’s book, “Promise of the Father” written in 1859:

“Soon after this another preacher came to…desire I would give over speaking and praying in public, to which I replied, ‘I will, if you will answer for me at the day of judgment for the one talent God hath given me;’ but he went away saying, ‘That I cannot do.” And she responded, “I counted the cost, but concluded to obey God rather than man. I valued the having my name among God’s people, but I thought more highly of its being enrolled in the book of life.”

For women who minister and women ministers, we stand before God alone someday and we will give an account for the gifts and calling He placed upon us on this earth. Isn’t it time to stop asking God why He called you and to start asking God how to fulfill His call for you? Let’s step out together and turn the world upside down for Jesus Christ. Let’s continue to bear fruit for His glory. Let’s continue to pray that someday we may hear from Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

And pray for me…Bobbye has asked me frequently to teach women how to teach the Bible and how to be leaders and speakers. I believe it’s time to start organizing a conference to embolden and encourage my sisters to be about our Father’s business! If interested, let me know.img_0958

–TL Adamson

 

 

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The Power of Friendship

Reading in Zechariah 13, I realized what God was saying. There were many people who called themselves prophets (or people called by God to preach His words) but they were not. God says in Zechariah 13:4-5 that on a certain day, every prophet will be ashamed of his vision and will become aware of how they are deceiving. God desired for these people to do what He had intended for them to do instead of doing what they wanted to do (the work of the ministry). It would have been better for these people to be farmers and in business than to preach when God had not put words in their mouths. The work of God/ministry was doing what God had asked them to specifically do.

The same problem exists today. There are many people quoting the wrong things and preaching their own words from a platform that God did not grant to them. As a result, there is no power to change themselves or those who attend to listen. Many churches today are powerless because people have used the name of God and preached the words of God without the leading of His Spirit or the filling of His power.

For me, personally, I never wanted a preaching/teaching platform. Bobbye says it best, “We did not wake up one day and say, ‘Let’s go into ministry.’ This was never our plan or intention.” This ministry has been a work of God and He gets the glory for the words as well as the changed lives. Out of all the prophets, I relate to Jeremiah and Jonah the most. Jeremiah because I have tried my hardest to not do this but my heart burns within if I do not. And Jonah because I am continually purposefully trying to go the other way even though I know better. I know that I am not alone in these feelings. Many people we counsel tell us their struggles too. But what God is saying in Zechariah could be summarized as regardless of what you do, make sure it is what God has asked you to do. If you are claiming to be a Bible teacher, pastor, prophet but were appointed by men (including yourself) then you will be judged stricter by God as stated in James 2 as well as quoted by God’s prophets. (We are starting an online Bible Study on the Book of James called Walking Out Our Faith. If interested in attending from your own computer, let us know at info@dailydisciples.org. We start this Tuesday, January 5)

I might be sensitive to hear the Lord speaking but it has not always been the motivation of the Lord that has kept me going. I really believe that God gave me a physical tangible person who has challenged me as well as encouraged to me to continue. I am thankful for the power of friendship that has changed my life and kept me doing the work of the Lord. I do not blame people who quit because the work becomes too hard. You will not ever find me judging someone for quitting but I would recommend that they find a friend or an accountability partner to talk things out and get perspective before making any big changes. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.”

Just because God has asked you to do something, does not mean that it is easy. Just because others tell you to do something, does not mean it is of God. Life can be confusing and tough. The power of friendship can cut through the random factors to keep you focused, doing the work of God. You do not have to go at it alone; God is totally into fellowship, counsel, unity and empowers us through friendship.

**if you are a woman who is lonely, depressed and feel isolated, please join us at the Power of Friendship Conference on Saturday, January 30. Bring a friend and make a friend. You will be encouraged and you know that you are not alone. Depression will lift and love will fill your heart.

Sign up!

You do not want to miss this one day event.

Happy New Year!