For far too long, the off-hand remarks and unsaid-but-implied directives have overwhelmed my thoughts and stymied my responses. But now, I finally found my words with such velocity and clarity that my fingers can barely keep up on the keyboard. Friends, maybe this is what we do. Maybe, this is what the good Lord put me on this earth to do.
“That’s not what we do.”
From the moment I stepped up to the pulpit and preached, I braced for impact. My actions were bound to cause a wave in my much-loved church. And although I didn’t preach in my church, surely my words would find their way back.
Despite my hesitance, I didn’t hide my sermon. Instead, I shared it on social media because I was, and still to this day am, proud of my message. As anticipated, my message met varied responses.
The one response that sticks out most was from a friend. As we set out food, our conversation shifted to my sermon. When the video popped up on Facebook, she didn’t know what to think because “we don’t do that.” Decoded, she meant that women in our denomination don’t preach from a pulpit on a Sunday morning.
But I just did.
I may be strong-willed, but preaching wasn’t my idea
Some will say I am a rule breaker, maybe a challenger, possibly part feminist. My strong personality rubs certain people the wrong way, it always has. I have a knack for not being or behaving the way people expect.
Beyond what others see, I am a daughter of God who has finally decided to be obedient.
Standing up that Sunday morning and preaching to a church full of people was quite possibly my most courageous act of obedience. I never wanted to be a preacher. In fact, becoming a preacher still is not on my list of life goals. But, God seems to believe I have a message to share.
A timeline of my reluctance might be helpful.
In 2019, I met with a friend to discuss teaching opportunities at his church. Hosting a women’s retreat seemed like my next logical step. Our meeting quickly went off the rails. A women’s retreat would be great, but he also wanted to know when I was going to preach at his church.
My church says I can’t do the very thing he was encouraging me to do. So I chose the most logical response, I put off answering for a year.
A choice between theological debate and obedience
At some point, we can debate egalitarian and complementarian theology. People do so daily. Today is not that day and this is not that post. The question of what we should do or more specifically, what I should do, is about more than just one person or one denomination’s interpretation of theology.
Quite simply, preaching on a Sunday morning in response to God’s nudging is a choice of obedience and an act of reverence for the gifts and responsibilities God gives me.
I have daughters watching me, one of whom may want to be a worship leader. (And if that is her path, she will be amazing.) Both question why some churches seem to encourage women more than others.
This tension they are beginning to feel is the tension I have lived most of my life.
Sitting quietly and waiting for someone else to share God’s truth, question the status quo, or encourage others is no longer one of my options. For me, sitting back and being quiet is disobedient to God.
This was not my plan
I don’t know how God is moving in your life, but I can tell you what he has done in mine.
As a child, missionaries seemed like socially awkward do-gooders to me. Guess who now works for a Guatemalan orphanage?! As a twenty-something wife and mother, women’s ministry was for the seemingly perfect Beth Moore-ish church ladies, not me. My primary audience now—Christian women. Growing up, preachers were men, and women who dared teach the word outside women’s ministry were troublemakers. Guess I’ll take that one too.
God crushed every notion I had for how he would use me. Moreover, he transformed me into someone who wants nothing more than to teach the gospel to anyone willing to listen.
I love to study scripture, connect the stories, and tell others. If that happens on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I don’t care as long as God’s message comes through. I will share this message with anyone God wants—men, women, children, orphans, people in Guatemala, my children, my husband.
This was not my plan. This is God’s plan for my life. How can I be sure? I don’t believe in my abilities nearly as much as he does. I would have stopped long ago.
Maybe this IS what we do
We rely on God.
We believe God’s words.
We believe who he says we are.
We embrace the gifts he gives us.
We study his word to know him better.
We bear our responsibility to share the gospel.
We encourage others.
We choose obedience.
We believe that God is still working and transforming lives today.
We trust God to raise up people for the time and place he needs them.
We welcome God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit into our lives.
We love God.
We trust God.
We work to bring him glory.
We do the work he asks of us.
So what’s next?
Your next step is between you and God. Get with him, he’ll lead the way.
If you’d like a printable version of What We Do, click here. It’s a great reminder for those moments when doubt and confusion threaten your confidence.