Celebrating the Call of God on Women
The topic of how God uses women in His Church has risen to prominence again in recent days in news from the Church world.
I’m thrilled that the Assemblies of God has a long and rich heritage in recognizing the gifts that God has given to women and releasing them for Kingdom advancement. Women were given ministry credentials at the first General Council. In fact, some of the most dramatic historical accounts of ministry in the early years of the AG were women living out the call of God on their lives.
What has disappointed me most deeply in these recent conversations, though, is the assumption that allowing women to exercise the gifts God has given them is a slippery slope for churches that leads to immorality and compromise as it relates to human sexuality and gender identity. Nothing could be further from the truth in the Assemblies of God.
The Assemblies of God has always held the Bible as our only source of truth. Our founders did not arrive at their beliefs regarding women in ministry in the context of cultural accommodation. Rather, they looked to the Bible as their roadmap for effective Spirit-empowered ministry. They found again and again that God poured His Spirit out on His daughters and gifted them appropriately at all levels of leadership. It was their commitment to Scripture that led them — and continues to lead us — into an understanding that God is using women in powerful ways to spread the gospel throughout the world.
The argument of moral compromise for denominations who allow women to pastor falls flat when you consider the 109-year legacy of our Fellowship. I’m grateful for the Spirit-empowered women who helped lay a foundation for this Movement. I think of Lucy Farrow who stepped out in faith to connect William Seymour with the Pentecostal message that would change his life. Alice Reynolds Flower helped shape the discipleship of the young Movement with her writings. Alice Luce had a profound impact on the global AG movement when she introduced the concept of the indigenous church principle. Church planters like Blanche Brittain influenced entire states with the gospel.
Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the AG position on Women in Ministry. I’ll leave you with the conclusion of that paper: “The Assemblies of God has been blessed and must continue to be blessed by the ministry of God’s gifted and commissioned daughters. The Bible repeatedly affirms that God pours out His Spirit upon both men and women and thereby gifts both sexes for ministry in His Church. Therefore, we must continue to affirm the gifts of women in ministry and spiritual leadership.”
PHOTO: Kim Sharp, ordained minister and National Girls Ministries Director