Who Was The First Female Evangelist In The New Testament?
The role of women in church leadership today is a hot topic.
How do conservative evangelical churches make sense of the tensions and differences of opinion on what the Bible has to say about “women in ministry?”
I have written extensively on this issue in this CP article: https://www.christianpost.com/voices/a-so-baptist-pastors-response-to-sbc-decision-on-female-pastor.html
The question I want to answer in this article today is, “Who was the first woman evangelist in the Bible?”
I have a hint for you, she was famous for saying, “Come meet a man who told me everything I ever did?”
Can you imagine using this slogan?
In our “free grace” society and church world we live in today, where it is supposedly the easiest ever to receive grace for indiscretions, the famous quote and statement still is not received well. However, for this woman, she knew and understood after encountering Jesus, that life transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ occurs at the point of full disclosure.
Let that sink it for a while.
Jesus met her in her shame and invited her out of her sin and go tell everyone else what He had done for her.
And guess what? She did.
And look at the result in John 4:39 “Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”
The woman at the well went from being a woman who was ashamed of her life to a woman who was proud of the life she had found in Jesus.
Now isn’t that what it means to be an evangelist?
Why did Jesus do this? Why did Jesus pick a woman per se to be the first “evangelist” to her city.
I won’t pretend to know all the reasons why God does what He does, when He does it, and how He does it, but I do observe here, He did it. He chose a woman to be the first evangelist to her town to bring the whole town into real relationship with Himself. And not only any woman, but a woman with a sorted past, a past that was still in her present when he met her.
If you were starting a church today or a movement or shaking the world upside down with the Gospel, who would you pick?
I remember when we came to Colorado Springs, CO to start Vanguard Church with the Southern Baptist Convention in 1996, we found a location and we moved into an apartment in Colorado Springs and we began to pray… “Lord, send People!”
How would I meet people who do not have a real relationship with Jesus Christ?
I prayed, “Lord, Send People!”
The doorbell rang. There stood a person at my door who I thought said, “Hello, my name is Leo, I am here to fix your leaky pipes.”
It didn’t dawn on me that he was God’s answer to my prayer, at least not yet.
A few minutes later Leo came out of the bathroom and said, “All done, I have fixed your leaky pipes.” Then out of the nowhere Leo says to me, “Why did you come to Colorado Springs?”
The light went off.
I said, “We came here to start a church, would you like to be a part of it.” He said, “Yes, can I invite my girlfriend to join us?”
I said, “Yes.”
As soon as he left my wife came out of the other side of our apartment and said, “Who was that?”
I said, “Leo, he and his girlfriend are going to become a part of our church plant?”
My wife, Tosha, said to me, “Kelly, that was a woman.”
I didn’t believe my wife, but it turned out she was right, again.
Leo turned out to be a woman. Leo was not her name. She had said, “My name is Lil,” short for Lillian. I was so embarrassed.
Lillian was a lesbian who had just invited herself along with her girlfriend, Jennifer, better known as her lesbian lover.
I grew up on a dairy farm in Kentucky. I knew more about dairy cows than I did about lesbian lovers. I was freaked out.
What was I going to do? Was I going to uninvite them? I didn’t approve of lesbians. I had never had a lesbian in my home, certainly not a professing lesbian couple. This couldn’t be God’s will for this new church plant, could it?
What do I do? What do I say? How do I back out of this? I honestly don’t know why I didn’t back out of it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would start a church with a lesbian couple.
Less than nine months later Lillian stood on a stage in Fort Worth, Texas in May of 1997 at the Southern Baptist Convention and shared in front of 30,000 plus Southern Baptist that she gave her life to Jesus Christ right before Adrian Rogers preached.
Looka there, Jesus has gone and done it again. He used a woman to be the first evangelist of our little southern Baptist church plant in Colorado Springs in 1997.
The same thing Jesus did with the woman at the well, He did with Lillian in our Vanguard Church Plant.
Now let me say, whether the Southern Baptist Convention is willing to acknowledge the role of a woman or not, may women all over the world who have met Jesus rise up in full disclosure and take the Gospel to anyone who will listen.
The SBC was founded in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia because it refused to see slavery as a sin.
I pray the SBC doesn’t get this one wrong this time!
Now let me make sure and make three things clear.
Being black has never been a sin!
Being a woman has never been a sin!
Being homosexual has always been a sin!
Jesus said, “Go!”
It’s not your gender or the color of your skin that determines your calling, it is God!
Jesus has commissioned you woman.