Discerning Mission

Women and ministry

All of this month, in partial celebration of Women's History Month, Michael Jinkins, president of Louisville Seminary, is turning his blog over to various women to reflect on ministry. Today Mary Gene Boteler has a very thoughtful post, which I'll excerpt here (do go and read the whole thing):
I absolutely understand Jeremiah’s sense of compulsion. And, perhaps, that is one of the most surprising aspects of my call—the inability to escape it. I have known others, in other professions, who have felt a call equally as compelling. One who comes to mind is a local organic farmer whom members of the congregation support by buying shares of his potential crop. He speaks about his work with a vocational passion that matches anything I have heard on the floor of presbytery. Along with the inescapability of this call to pastoral ministry, however, and of equal surprise, is the sustaining goodness and grace of God that has accompanied me in ministry. Several years ago a male colleague commented that if he had to do it all over again he might have chosen a different path than ministry, because ministry is “just so hard.” I asked him, “Did you expect it to be otherwise.” He quickly and quietly admitted, “Yes.” To paraphrase the beginning of a Scott Peck book: Because women ministers expect pastoral ministry to be difficult, it makes it less difficult. My ministry has been a compilation of successes and failures, of joys and disappointments. Like other women colleagues, I carry scars from the actions of good people who, nevertheless, could not embrace the call of women. Those scars are not what define my ministry.

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