By Dina Horne
I looked through the full color glossy missions program and noticed that they curiously didn’t use the photo of us that my husband and I had submitted. Someone had gone online to find a photo of Dave alone. As I flipped through the program, I realized that all the other speakers for the conference were male, as were all the denominational leaders.
Dave and I had been asked to represent Global Partners, our organization that gives global focus to the Wesleyan Church, at the national missions conference of a sister denomination in another country. We had prepared to preach together twice and sent our manuscript before the trip in order for the interpreter to be familiar with our content. It was clearly marked which sections Dave would preach and which I would be preach. When asked for our photo and bio for the program, we had sent our photo and biography from our prayer card.
When I saw the program, I hesitated. Should Dave just preach alone? He assured me that he didn’t want to preach the material I had prepared. When we arrived at the church, the pastor asked me if I was ordained – “yes” -- and where I went to seminary – “Columbia International University”. I noticed that he didn’t ask Dave those questions.
Two of my personal values had come into apparent conflict:
I want to be Contextually Informed
I do not want to offend others. I want to understand why things are as they are, and how things operate based on local traditions and context.
I want to be Biblically Motivated
I want to confront culture where it does not align with God’s desires for our lives and relationships. I also want to model the freedom God has given us.
I am ordained. I learned that this denomination had been ordaining women for 10 years, so there weren’t yet very many examples for women in pastoral roles. The pastor did give his permission for me to preach. Dave supported me, and he didn’t feel intimidated. God had given each of us a message to share out of our experiences and study. I had something to say. And, I could model preaching for those who hadn’t yet considered that God might be calling them, too.
I did feel like I was being Biblically-motivated to preach. It wasn’t about me and my opportunity. It was about me not just being okay with, but embracing my identity as a female preacher. I didn’t need to confront the cultural patriarchy by making a case for including more women preachers. That was not my place as a visiting guest. But, I could play my part by modeling obedience to my call.
In the end I was able to be Culturally Informed AND Biblically Motivated. May we all continue to live out the calling God has given each one of us, grounded in freedom and obedience.
Dina Horne is the Site Developer for NEXT and leads Site Leaders to ensure a stellar experience for everyone who participates in a NEXT Internship. She and her husband, Dave, live in Vienna, Austria. During her first term in Vienna as a Global Partners missionary, she led the establishment of a team reaching out to Muslim immigrants and refugees. Dina likes to cook all the food and have everyone over for dinner. And then Dave does the dishes, bless him. Living overseas has kept her curiosity about all things well fed. Some of her recent Google searches include “Okra recipes”, “Hikes in the Vienna Woods” and “Knitting German short rows”.