Dear Apostolic Young Lady,
You don’t know me, but I remember you. You’ve been on my heart since the day I first saw you nearly three years ago. It was at Challenge Week for Apostolic School of Theology. I wasn’t supposed to make it but managed to slide in for the tail end, into a Q&A session with a panel of ministers.
I remember you standing up and asking the question: “In today’s Apostolic world, where does a woman fit in? Where can I, as a woman, do great things for God?”
My heart broke. I’m not sure if it broke because I could hear the pain and discouragement in your voice, or if it broke because all too often I had asked the same question. Maybe it broke because by that point I had come to an answer, but felt compassion for one still searching.
I don’t know your name. I don’t know where you go to church. I don’t know where to find you. But you don’t stand alone. I know many who have asked this same question, and I’m here to share an answer I discovered:
You fit right in the middle of Pentecost.
You see, as a woman, sometimes it is easy to get hung up on the verses about headship and about a bishop being the husband of one wife. Sometimes it’s easy to get the (wrong) idea that if one becomes a preacher or minister that they’ve arrived and achieved the highest level of service to God that one can complete. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not devaluing the role of a preacher at all, for we are saved by the foolishness of preaching;. I have a wonderful Bishop and Pastor, both of whom I love very much and who have led and lead me in this fight of faith. I have other pastors and ministers in my life who have brought me where I am today. They deserve honor. But ministry neither begins or ends at the title of “preacher”. Ministry is about serving. Jesus said if any of us wishes to be great, let him be a servant.
In Romans 12:6-8, the Bible says God equips some in the church for prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy. In I Corinthians 12:8-10, the Bible also lists wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues and tongues interpretation. In verse 28, the following: apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments, and diversities of tongues. These are some of the gifts that the Bible says will be given to believers for the purpose of building up the church. Can we look at some examples of other ways God uses people to build up the church, and more specifically, women in the Bible who did so?
First off, let’s look at Deborah and Jael. Deborah was the judge of Israel. Growing up, I wonder if she ever questioned if she could be used of God. I wonder if she ever had dreams about doing great things for God, and, if so, if her own doubts or the doubts of others ever discouraged her. I wonder if anyone ever said, “Oh, Debbie, leave men’s work to the men.” If so, she never lost faith that God could use her.
Let’s consider Jael, now. She is probably the most commonly cited example that God will use a woman for a man’s job because the man didn’t step up to the plate. Jael was “just a housewife”. We know she was a good one at that because there was a Jewish law that said that if a stranger comes to your home you have to offer hospitality. We see her do this for Sisera, the bad guy in the story. Jael doesn’t stop there, though. She ends up killing Sisera which is what God originally wanted Barack to do (you can read all about it in Judges 4). We don’t know how Jael realized this was the man who was evil and needed to be killed. Did God give her divine instruction to do so? Had her husband or the townsfolk mentioned him before and so she realized who we was when he came to her tent? We he just stupid and told her his name? The Bible doesn’t say. All we know is God used a woman to get the victory.
What about Miriam, Moses’ sister? She was a prophetess and worship leader (Exodus 15). We were created for God’s glory so we know that praise and worship is a valuable thing in the kingdom of God. And really, the praise of all the women who followed Miriam was just as powerful as the praise of Miriam. It’s not just the one on the platform who is being used–the people responding in the congregation are also blessing God.
How about Esther? Before God ever came to earth to save His people from spiritual death, God called a woman to save his people from physical death–genocide.
Ruth? She stayed loyal to her mother-in-law and followed her. Ruth could have went back home to her family but she chose to follow Naomi and serve the God of the Jews. Furthermore, when Ruth and Naomi got to Bethlehem, Ruth didn’t just sit around thinking, I’m just a woman, what can I do? No, Ruth was a go-getter and used her abilities to go into the fields and get food, which in turn led her to Boaz. And if Ruth hadn’t done that, she wouldn’t have been great grandmother to both King David and eventually, Jesus Christ Himself.
What about Hannah? A woman who had so many insecurities about her inability to have children but didn’t lose the faith that God could see it through. She was then loyal in dedicating her son, Samuel, to the work of the Lord. He became a great judge and prophet of Israel, all because he had a praying mama. (I Samuel)
Abigail? When her husband refused to help David, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She worked to provide food for all of David’s men and then had the courage to approach David to request mercy for her family. (I Samuel 25)
Anna? A widow who spent her days at the temple praying and fasting, and telling the people in Jerusalem about Jesus. Talk about a soul winner! (Luke 2:36-38)
Philip had four single daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). Yes, God can use a girl even if she’s single!
The Proverbs 31 woman–though description and not necessarily a living woman–gives us an idea of the many things a godly woman can do as well.
Besides these women there are so many more. So dear Apostolic young lady, I encourage you to take heart in studying the women of the Bible and how they were used for God. There are so many things you can do in His kingdom! Being a woman is a blessed thing. God made you exactly how He wanted you to be and exactly how He knew He could use you. He has a plan for your life. The greatest thing you can do is lead people to Him. He has called all of us to preach the gospel to every creature. Not just pastors, not just bishops, but every Holy Ghost filled believer. Don’t doubt your ability to be used of God. You, my dear sister, fit in the church. There’s a world waiting for you to do great things for God–get out there and make it happen.
Oh, and remember, above all else, it’s for God’s glory.
Your Sister in Christ