While many denominations support women in all levels of leadership in the church, at times this support struggles to trickle down into congregations and congregants. Aiming to shift the conversation from support at the upper levels of leadership into the whole body, The Meeting House sought to speak directly to the role of women in the church with their series, “Her Story.” With five weeks of sermons, as well as a variety of additional conversations with scholars and leaders, they dove head first into equipping all people with a full view of the Bible’s support for women in leadership. This series is an excellent example of how local churches can be active supporters of women in ministry from the pulpit and the podcast. And this preacher, Jo Saxton, is a dynamic ministry leader, a brilliant example of a person we can learn from in how to preach well.
If You Do Not Have A Woman to Preach, Find One
One of the strengths of this series is the intentionality of voices that are included. The series was framed in the first week by the lead pastor, but then the following three weeks featured women preaching who embodied the reality of women called by God to preach who preached biblically and faithfully from the Bible. The lead pastor preached the fifth week, and led a week on Q&A that spoke to lingering questions from the community. The women of this series, Karmyn Bokma, Leanne Friesen, and Jo Saxton are proof that women preachers do exist— they are not unicorns. Show your church that women preaching is not a theoretical idea, but a reality of what God is doing in our world today, to the glory of God and the sanctification of the church. Feel free to use the Sermon Collective on Sacred Alliance to find women you could invite to preach at your church. If you get stuck, send us an email so we can connect you.
The Bible is Friend, Not Foe
A question that repeatedly came up through the series was the wondering if the church was caving to culture in a #MeToo world to suggest that God has called women to lead in the church and outside of it. Jo Saxton’s sermon dives deep into the Hebrew in Genesis 2:18, to peel back the layers of sin and brokenness that effect the way this verse has been interpreted to see the full meaning of “ezer kenegdo” as one with the resources to help, a warrior, standing boldly opposite. The word of life that invites women and men to live fully into the imprint of God on their lives comes from the Bible, not outside of it. Other sermons in this series cover challenging passages as well, such as Ephesians 5 and 1 Timothy 2, showing the Bible to be the source for changing perceptions of women in leadership, not culture. As you preach on the equality of women and men in all forms of ministry, struggle with the challenging parts of the Bible to hear God’s voice. Furthermore, Jo’s sermon uses numerous stories of women from the Bible to expound on God’s vision for women. When you wonder what it looks like for women to lead and be examples for following Jesus, a banquet of stories are before you like Hagar, Deborah, Martha, Mary, Lydia, Priscilla, Junia, and more.
Be Brave, Be Faithful
As Jo preaches, there is a sense that the urgency and gravitas of her words comes from a source outside of herself, the presence of the Holy Spirit who empowers her to preach. She speaks to this at the end of her sermon where she explains that she preaches as a response to God’s call on her life, as an act of faithfulness. To proclaim God’s life changing good news, she recalls, does not always produce comfortable or kind responses, remembering people who have turned their back literally and figuratively towards women who are preaching.
If you are woman who feels called to preach, may you preach knowing that the God who calls you is faithful to sustain you in that call. If you are a church leader who feels convicted to preach on the equality of men and women to co-labor in God’s reconciling work in the world, may you be filled with boldness and trust as you invite your congregation to learn through a teaching series like Her Story.