I’m grateful you want to hear more about my book! I began writing it with a colleague in June 2014, after a conversation we had about women’s role in ministry. At first I thought I was crazy to have taken on such a project. Did I have the ability to attract the kind of women I needed for the book?
God showed me immediately that He was calling me to write this book. The women for the interviewees have trusted me to treat them with respect, confidentiality, and love as they have shared some very personal details with me about their lives and ministries. Many of the women came to me through the requests of my friends or colleagues; to all of them, I say thank you. I couldn’t have gotten this far without your respect and trust.
Through these women and their desire to mentor the readers of the book, they have mentored me as well. My ministry goals have been rekindled and refreshed. I am more settled and confident in the calling God has placed on my life. In short, the women in this book have done for me what I hope to convey through my writing for others in ministry: they have confirmed my calling.
Now, a year later, I have finished the interviews for the book and am transcribing the interviews and forming the chapters. Cliff, instead of my co-author, is now my writing mentor. I’ve been grateful for the experience as an author and a listener he is bringing to the book.
What is the purpose of this book?
The issue for this book is to use women’s stories to describe a clear problem in conservative North American Christian churches: women who are clearly called by God to pursue ministry, faced with enormous challenges in doing so, and who ultimately overcome those challenges. The book includes women in all areas of ministry, numerous denominations, and throughout North America in order to capture the current status of women in ministry.
Some people want to reduce the issue to the question, “Should women preach?” However, that question also reduces the scope of what women are doing in ministry, which is wide-ranging, integral, and essential to North American ministry as we know it today. The issue is not quickly solved at all by reading the Bible literally. It deals with societal expectations, gender expectations, assumptions about God, understandings of spiritual gifts, and, last but not least, “the way we’ve always done things”– a powerful force indeed.
Who’s the audience?
Its intended audiences are multi-fold:
- One, to women are already in ministry leadership positions. I want to encourage you to continue to serve and be encouraged in the role God has given you.
- Two, to women who are going into ministry. Again, I want to encourage you but also help you to be realistic about challenges. The women in our book will mentor you and help you to overcome those challenges.
- Three, those who want to serve in church. I want you to consider roles that are in line with how the Spirit has gifted you.
- Four, women who have been shut down by churches when they wanted to lead. I want you to have grace on those who have unknowingly oppressed you. Realize that church leaders are also growing into perfection; they aren’t there yet.
- Five, for male clergy and other male leaders. I hope that you will enter into the struggle of facing your own presuppositions to do what is right for everyone in your church… not just what aligns with tradition.
- Lastly, for anyone reading the book, that you would listen to God’s life calling, first and foremost as God’s beloved ministers of grace, instead of what the church is telling you to do to fit a prescribed role, gender-related or otherwise.
What is NOT the purpose of the book?
It is our hope that this book is not divisive. It is not meant to be a vehicle for people to air grievances in a hurtful way, which tears down Christ’s bride, the church, and weakens it further. Our desire is to strengthen the church by empowering more women to pursue their spiritual gifting. As a result, the tone is deliberately encouraging. It is meant to be used in a mentoring relationship or as an impetus to changing church policy.