|My coworkers at Komyo Christian|
I feel like I am a sort of accidental woman in ministry. When I was in high school I felt called to be a missionary in Japan. I didn't think of the consequences of this call. I probably expected that I would go to college, get married and go to Japan, in that order. I think I figured I would be in Japan not as a woman in ministry but as a family in ministry.
God had other plans. When He opened the door for me to come to Japan, I walked through, because He opened it. I didn't think of the consequences. I never thought I couldn't be a missionary, a single missionary, because I am a woman. I just walked through the door because He opened it.
I grew up with parents who love Jesus. They taught me to love, trust and follow Him. We never talked about what we could or could not do. We only talked about loving and following Jesus.
My home church supported several missionaries. One of those was a single woman-who ministered in Japan! I loved hearing her stories of sharing Jesus' love in Japan. I never thought there was anything unusual with her ministry. I just thought that she loved and followed Jesus.
My first year of college I met a gal who wanted to be a pastor. This was the first time I had ever met a woman who wanted to be a pastor, but I didn't think it was unusual. I just thought that she loved Jesus and wanted to follow His calling in her life.
As a college student I was in a leadership position at the church I attended in the youth group. There were other college students, as well as men and women of the church who were also leaders. We all worked together. We all wanted to share God's love with the youth as we loved and followed Him.
Almost all of my experiences as a woman in ministry have been positive. A few people have made interesting faces or comments about what I do. However, I am thankful that I have mostly been given the freedom to minister as God has called me to minister.
When I was in high school answering God's call to be a missionary in Japan, I never would have imagined that would have included leading a church plant with another single female missionary. In fact, in seminary I avoided preaching, MDIV, or anything that looked like it might have to do with leading a church because I absolutely did NOT plan to be doing that. Once again, God has a sense of humor!
So, when I read the blogs by women about their experiences in ministry, I am saddened by the experiences others have had. I am in no way naive enough to think that their experiences are unusual or that my experience is the norm. I know that there are those who don't appreciate or agree with what I am doing. But, actually, what I am doing is loving and following God. It has nothing to do with my gender or my theological training. This is the position God has placed me in for this time. I am absolutely trusting Him to work in and through me because there is no way my colleague and I could be doing this on our own!
These are just some of the thoughts that have been floating around in my mind since I started reading the women in ministry series.