It’s amazing how different each person is from one another. It’s just as amazing how despite being different we were all — yes everyone — made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
Everyone has unique gifts that others do not possess. Some can play many instruments; some are great communicators; some are athletic; some are very knowledgable.
In the church, the body of people not the building, it is no different. God has given different believers ministry-related gifts:
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. (12) Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)
Three years ago my fiancé Kayla and myself went to the Zoo with a couple of her friends. After walking for a long time, we hovered around a few benches to rest. For whatever reason, the good ole, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up’ question was asked.
There were four answers:
- I don’t know
- Sports Writer
- Something with Law Enforcement
- Tell People About Jesus
When that fourth answer was said, it was awkward. I’m not going to lie. I remember it very clearly. It was almost like no one knew what to say. The subject was changed very quickly.
Kayla knew for a while what she wanted to be when she grew up. In fact, Kayla knew what was called of her. She wanted to tell people about Jesus. More so, she felt God call her to preach!
“I’m not called to hold babies on the front row’
Over two years after the Zoo trip, we were driving home after church when we looked at each other and said something to the same effect: See quote above.
Both being students at LSU and in the season of education and learning, we got in the normal routine of church. Nothing bad. Just attending three days a week, loving the Lord, reading the Bible, etc. Sure, we talked with people about Jesus, but nothing more. But, hey, it wasn’t the season (Ecclesiastes 3). (Meaning we weren’t serving in ministry-related roles).
At this point in the car, God’s calling seemed years away. Years. It seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. Honestly, it was forgotten about. We both interned at Sports Illustrated and ESPN respectively. We thought were going places in our journalism career. Surely — because she worked at ESPN — God didn’t want her to preach anymore, right?
But, then He spoke. He spoke to both us. He affirmed His calling to Kayla. His calling for her to preach the Gospel.
It was now even more evident that God had big plans for Kayla.
“Voice in the Wilderness”
Now, please hear me out, we are all called to fulfill different roles to fulfill our purpose (Mark 16:15). Some people — women included — are there to support, build up, encourage, be a helper, etc! Some women are called to teach Sunday School and lead praise and worship. Some women are called to preach the Gospel.
Some people have different opinions on a woman’s role in vocational ministry, believe it or not. But, I like how Aimee Semple McPherson put it:
“If God calls a woman to preach the gospel, and His blessings are upon her, ‘in confirming His Word with signs following,’ whose right is it to question her right to preach the gospel, pastor a church, or lead a movement under God?” – Aimee Semple McPherson, Founder of the Foursquare Church.
On July 15, 2012, God used another avenue to confirm His calling to Kayla.
Pastor Shane Warren, of The Assembly, who was a guest speaker at Northside Assembly of God, stopped Sunday night service and looked directly at Kayla. ‘God wants me to tell you, that you will be a voice in the wilderness.’
Wilderness: An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
Women in preaching roles in the church is, in essence, a wilderness. George Barna’s study found that in all Protestant churches, only 10 percent of women fill a preaching role.
This past Sunday night, Kayla — who is still finishing college — preached during the night service. Our pastor later said: “The call of God is evident.”
It was a joyous moment and the first of many in not only her life, but mine as well. I respect her calling. I respect what God is doing with her. I respect the season we are in leading teenagers across Central Louisiana. It is exactly where God wants us!
I respect leadership and a pastor who is sensitive to God’s call. A pastor who is obedient. And a pastor who is helping, in any way, for her to fulfill her calling.
See, Sunday night was far more than a 32-minute message on an elevated ground, behind a wooden pulpit. Sunday night was the mark of a baby step into that very wilderness.