Recently I met with a class of sixth graders who were spending a month interviewing different religious leaders. I was the Christian representative. The thoughtful questions began with broad inquisitions:
- What do Christians believe?
- What if someone doesn’t believe the same things as you?
- Do you know people of other faiths?
Then a curious soul raised her hand and asked, “What does a pastor even do when church isn’t happening?” And then came the bold statement from the back of the room, “I didn’t know girls could be pastors.”
I was so grateful for his honesty because I’ve learned that it’s a sentiment that’s usually present when it comes to women in leadership even if it remains unspoken. That statement could’ve been made had they been interviewing lawyers, doctors, scientists, you name it. “I didn’t know girls could be _______.”
His comment was the beginning of a rich conversation and I got to share that in the Christian tradition, the leadership of women is nothing new. The Bible is filled with stories of fierce females. In fact, the very best news for us Christians came through women. The Easter story, the central story of the Christian faith, only happens with the testimony of women. Jesus appears first to women after He’s raised from the dead. It is the women who run to share the good news of the resurrection with the disciples. And, the best part about the women ushering in the news of Easter is that it wasn’t a plot twist in Jesus’s ministry. It was simply a continuation of what he’d done throughout his whole ministry, because Jesus went out of his way to empower women and to lift up their testimonies.
The Bible gives plenty of examples of believing women, following their lead, and breaking boundaries of gender roles. What if we followed the example set on that first Easter long ago and looked to the women in our midst? As you read of the fierce females in our neighborhood, what good news is being revealed to our community through them? What changes are being ushered in because of their leadership? And how are we elevating their voices?
If we follow that example, then I trust it won’t be too much longer before our children know a world where the leadership and testimony of women is trusted because it’s commonplace. After all, it’s nothing new. Fierce females have always been in the picture.