Thriving Together is a newsletter for women serving in or preparing for ministerial leadership in The Wesleyan Church. Each month, we want to embody 1 Thessalonians 5:11:
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Does God Call Women?
“Women should remain silent in the churches” (I Cor. 14:34 NIV)
But God, then why do I have my calling? Why don’t I have a different personality?
How many times have we heard and perhaps said similar words? I myself have been told l would lead others to hell if I continued the path toward preaching and ministry. I have been screamed at by one and by others, simply being told that women are not pastors.
Thankfully, God called me during a children’s Sunday School class while I was ignoring the teacher and watching the pastor prepare for service. In a voice as loud to me as a person speaking, God said, “Someday you will do that.” I then knew, not thought but knew, that I would pastor a church. I was too young to know that women don’t do such things.
Also, thankfully, God does not contradict himself. In 11:5, three chapters before the Lord calls women to be silent, He instructs those same women to wear clothes separating them from the temple prostitutes of pagan religions when they pray or prophesy like the men, actions which edify the church, providing strength, encouragement, and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3).
Yet, also like men, women are to follow rules of order in public services. One person is to speak at a time (14:30). Specifically, women who may not have been in services of this sort before are told to not socially speak amongst themselves, even to voice confusion to their husbands (14:34-35). The women (like the men) are to refrain from talking while someone else speaks. Likewise, husbands are to refrain from talking during another’s message, allowing the speaker to answer questions until possibly discussing the issue further at home.
There is also no contradiction between I Corinthians and I Timothy 2:12, which states, “ I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”
Since I & 2 Timothy and Titus are pastoral letters from Paul to Timothy, the young man he is mentoring, the words are meant to be context specific.
Timothy pastored in Ephesus, home of the Greek goddess Artemis where people from over the Roman Empire came to visit. Temple prostitutes learned religion from an early age, but the ideas weren’t Christian. Clearly, any preacher needs to understand what he or she is talking about before sharing God’s message. And in his wisdom, God gives examples of women who did understand the messages of the early church in Romans 16. For example, Phoebe would have explained Paul’s message in Romans to the Christians to whom she carried the letter.
So, does God call women to preach and teach? Absolutely! How do we preach and teach? With the power of Almighty God!
Rev. Karen Tucker has been an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church since 1987. She has pastored three churches in Michigan and New York. Rev. Tucker currently serves on the Western New York District Board of Ministerial Development. In addition, she teaches Bible, theology, and leadership online through Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Kingswood University.
Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy has a long history of creating events for women exploring and living out their call to ministry and the ministry leaders who support them.
The WHWC team is excited to announce our next event, E2024, will be held March 7-9, 2024 in Dallas, Texas and registration is now open. E2024 is a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded women clergy spanning many denominations. This is a place where you will be re-energized, reaffirmed, and re-ignited as you explore and live out our diverse callings.
Help another Wesleyan sister be able to go to E2024….
Donate to the E2024 Wesleyan Scholarship Fund. Thank you for considering a contribution to support women in ministry. Your gift will provide E2024 scholarships to female ministry students and female clergy who express a financial need. The Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy (WHWC) E2024 is a conference that seeks to serve and empower women in ministry within the holiness tradition.
Invest in the next generation of leaders…
Wesleyan conference offers youth — middle school to young adults — and their leaders a time to listen to God’s voice, deepen their faith, and respond to God’s call in kingdom service. On December 28-30, The Wesleyan Church (TWC) will host Follow 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. For registration and information: https://www.followconference.org/