Biblical Stories that Encourage Me as a Woman in Ministry
When I accepted the call to ministry in 2014, I knew there would be opposition—even in my own church. But I also knew that in order to truly walk in spiritual obedience, I needed to want what God wanted so that no amount of opposition would keep me from following God’s instructions.
I find great encouragement in several stories in Scripture of God calling women into leadership.
Deborah the Judge
The Bible clearly states that God anointed Deborah as judge of Israel, gave her wisdom and prophetic counsel, and granted a 40-year period of peace as a result of her effective leadership (Judges 4:1-5). The men who honored her authority were blessed. We read in Judges 4:8 that after Deborah unveiled the Lord’s strategy to defeat the Canaanites, Barak, Israel’s chief military commander, refused to go into battle without her.
Priscilla and Aquila
In Acts, we read that a zealous convert from Judaism named Apollos was teaching the message of Jesus in Ephesus. In Acts 18:24-26 we read,
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
Apollos’ ministry was strengthened because of this wise input. Priscilla and Aquila are even spoken of by Paul in Romans 16:3 as his “co-workers.”
The Midwives, Rahab, and Esther
Jewish midwives in Egypt put their own lives in jeopardy to protect the infants who had been sentenced to death by Pharaoh.
Rahab disobeyed the authorities in Jericho because she knew God was with the Israelite spies. Her faith saved her household and placed her in the lineage of Christ.
Esther placed her own life on the line because she believed God could use her to turn the heart of a king and save thousands of lives.
These are only a very few of the stories in the Bible about women in ministry—there are many more.
Take a look at 1 Timothy 2:12-13 and 1 Corinthians 14:34—in these Scriptures we can find the words some people use to argue against women in ministry. But in these, Paul is addressing two particular churches and their women for specific reasons. Paul does not speak to women in other churches the same way. The women in those two churches must have required correction. We see that Paul complimented other women leaders in the church: Phoebe, Lydia, Euodia, Synthyche, and Junia all received words of great respect from Paul.
I’ve been attending church for all 26 years of my life, and I remember a time during which our church was 80% women. They carried the church—they made sure things were taken care of. There have been too many years of gender bias in the church. I often wonder how many women have felt a call to ministry but because of others’ opinions on this subject have suppressed their desire to fulfill God’s calling and anointing. Let’s be honest: walking in God’s plan for our lives is hard. We give up many comforts to be obedient. And when women accept a call to ministry—an area dominated by men—it makes people uncomfortable. During my transition into full-time ministry, an incredible saint of God wrote, “No matter how deep the valley is you have to walk, God’s presence is deeper.” I learned just how deep God’s presence went with me during that time, and I am thankful to be able to say I did not waiver in my faith and calling—instead, I persevered and God conquered those areas I could not!
Brandi Lumley is an associate, worship and youth pastor, wife and mother. Her passion in ministry is to empower youth and college students to be bold in their relationship with God.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.