International Women’s Day was Sunday. I’m a few days late, but I still have thoughts.
First, I’m so thankful. I haven’t been held back in life because I was born a girl, but there are countless women who have been held back and still are. That’s why we celebrate this day. This day is still needed in our world.
And I can’t help but think this day is also needed in our churches.
What would it look like for the church to celebrate this day? What would it look like for churches everywhere to value, equally, both halves of the church? How beautiful would that be? There wouldn’t be leadership roles painted blue and supportive roles painted pink. There would be splashes of color everywhere.
If the kingdom of heaven is right here and right now, which it is, and if the Holy Spirit is active in you and in me, which He is, and if we’re all made in the image of God, which we are, then the God of heaven and earth is equally and gloriously reflected in each of us and our most powerful stance is to link arms in this upside down kingdom. That is the church. That’s what I want to be part of.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Make It Happen.” How can we make it happen today and every day in the church? Making it happen is the church that says, “Everyone is welcome. Everyone’s gifts are needed – at all levels of service and leadership. We don’t paint truth pink or blue and we certainly won’t paint roles pink or blue because in the church, as in the kingdom, we are all made in the image of God.” That’s where I want to be. My guess is we would have many more people knocking on our door to join us on weekends, but more than that, I think we would have people who know the door is always open for them to come on in and make themselves at home.
And again, I’m so thankful. The women I surround myself with are those who work endlessly to end Human Trafficking, were missionaries in France for twenty years, run marathons benefiting charities, bravely write their stories, teach students and dare greatly whether in the classroom, the boardroom, in the home or in front of a canvas. Likewise, the men God has used to speak into me are those who write and speak truth even when it’s opposed, fight to be present with their families and empower others to lead and have a voice.
So, to the church still dragging their feet on this issue, I must ask, “What will it take to make it happen?” It’s time we don’t just occasionally “let” women lead because we’re feeling magnanimous or culturally pressured to have a token female leader, but because we recognize women and men both play a vital role in the making of the church. Just ask Junia.
Can we make it happen so the church is the place to use our voices, use our leadership, use our passions and be empowered to live fully as heirs of the King? Let’s make it happen so truth trumps color and gifting trumps gender.
PS – I work at a church, I love the church and I know these thoughts don’t reflect all churches.