Women Preachers and News Anchors

Women Preachers and News Anchors December 11, 2019

By Kelly Edmiston

Women Preachers and News Anchors

I’ll never forget my first job as a Youth Pastor in 2006. I had just graduated from college with a social work degree and I moved to Cairo, Egypt as a youth ministry intern at the largest English-speaking Evangelical Church in the Middle East, at the time. After six months in the role, my boss asked me come on staff and I committed to stay for two more years. We developed a youth program with small groups, weekly programs, special events and the whole nine yards. It was awesome. I came alive during those years. I found myself, in the best and healthiest sense of the sentiment. I was affirmed in my gifts and I received what I now believe to be a “call” to vocational ministry. Over the course of three years I grew as a communicator. I preached in youth group settings every couple of weeks. I led prayers, announcements, communion and baptisms for the larger church almost every week. I will never forget the day that my lead pastor sat me down and told me all of the ways that he believed I was gifted. He told me that I brought energy and passion to public communication. And then he said to me, “Kelly, you should be a preacher.”

By the end of my three years there, I decided that while I didn’t want to be a preacher, I was ok being a Youth Pastor who sometimes was invited to preach. There was one thing that I knew for certain, I wanted to spend my life, using all of my gifts, for the sake of the local church. I figured there were lots of ways that I could use my energy and passion and public communication skills but the church was what I cared the most about and what I believed the most in.

Fast forward to many years later. I was a guest speaker at a youth retreat in the U. S. After the last talk was over, a prominent leader of that church pulled me aside and began to tell me many of the same things that the Lead Pastor in Cairo had told me. He told me that I brought great energy and passion to the task of communication. He gave me specific encouragement about the way I presented my talks over the course of the weekend. Then he paused and said, “Kelly, you should be a news anchor.” He went on, “Seriously, you are just so good, so articulate and expressive…” My heart felt like it dropped to the bottom of my stomach. “A news anchor?” I clarified. And inside I began to scream, “I don’t want to be a news anchor!” I want to be a youth pastor who is sometimes invited to preach.

Here was the message I received from him, a prominent leader in the church, “Your kind is not welcome here.” The message I received that day was one that women in patriarchal environments hear over and over again. “You are too talented to be here where these skills won’t ever be fully utilized. But if you will re-direct your course to a secular, non-church context, I am sure that you will find great success.” But here is what the patriarchal church doesn’t understand about women in ministry. We don’t want to be in a secular job. This is why we have pursued a career in ministry. We took this job because we want to use all of our gifts and talents and abilities for the building up of the Body of Christ, the local church. We, women ministers everywhere, believe so deeply in the mission of the church and her potential to impact the world for good that we have endured the funny looks, the inappropriate comments and the confused critique of those who believe that we should remain silent and become news anchors instead of pastors.

Suggestions like these are hurtful and harmful, not only to the women who receive them, but also to the church.  I know countless women who have left vocational ministry for secular jobs or to be stay-at-home moms because the fight was too great. And the church is losing. Our pulpits are losing. Our youth ministries and children ministries and connections ministries are losing. The more we tell women that “your kind is not welcome here” the more we lose. It’s time to wake up. It is time to start cultivating church cultures where talented and gifted women are encouraged to be pastors, preachers and prophets. It is time for her gifts to be seen as blessings to the church, not liabilities. It is time for women to step in to all that God has gifted and called her to do for the community of faith that she so deeply loves.

 

 


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  • D Sims

    I absolutely loved the first three-quarters of the article. Great testimony and you are welcome to preach in my church anytime! The article bottomed out when you heard one person say something that caused your heart to drop to your stomach. I work in the inner city among the poor, homeless and addicts. Over 40 years in ministry I have received the left-foot of fellowship more times than I can count, but when you know your calling, nothing can shake that in heaven, on earth, or under the earth. I do not care if an angel in a vision tells me I am to give up ministering to the poor, I will not be shaken.

    Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. ~ Hebrew 10:3 If we can be discouraged by a few then maybe it is time to back up and regroup concerning what we believe is our calling. If you know without question your calling, then let others think and say what they like, you are going to continue to fight the good fight of faith, run the course, and finish the race.

    So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” ~ Hebrew 13:6

  • Al Cruise

    Great comment and truth.

  • Glen Shellrude

    Thank you for telling your story. It is sad that so little progress has been made on this issue.

  • Jay Johnson

    Thanks for a great comment. The left-foot of fellowship has left a permanent imprint on my behind, as well. Praise God for your 40 years of faithful service!

  • Gary Davis

    Damn Right!
    Dr Gary Davis, President
    http://www.cluelesschristianity.org

  • Al Cruise

    I have been thinking about your comment, and it brings to light that Christianity does not exist only in the Church world or only in things sanctioned by the Church. Your front line work is some of the toughest out there , as you say , putting up with left foot fellowship as well. I often see more Christianity in the secular world than in some Churches. I have seen more Christianity in some public schools than in private Christian schools. Things like food stamps can be more Christian than some so called Church outreach programs. Working in secular areas can be great places to live ones faith. That being said I feel the author is correct in saying she needs to break down barriers in the male dominated world she speaks about. Breaking down those barriers will have far reaching and positive effects for Christianity that will benefit all of us. I pray that she succeeds.

  • D Sims

    I agree, I just want to see more spiritual back bone where a Christ follower is not knocked flat because someone doesn’t agree with their calling.
    We live in an imperfect world with one Bible and many different interpretations. There are many places where we can fullfil our calling without spending an enormous amount of time majoring on places where we cannot fullfil our calling. Choose our battles wisely without hindering the higher cause of making disciples. Blessings

  • Christiane Smith

    “The more we tell women that “your kind is not welcome here” the more we lose.”

    true, this

    so glad that this was not Our Lord’s way when He was among us