1 Corinthians 12:4-6 – Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
Various churches use different words to denote the highest level of leadership. Some use pastor, others elder, still others bishop, along with other words. The big issue is not whether or not some word is used for women in leadership, but rather whether or not the men are humbly stepping into their roles and responsibilities to bless women and children.
To be sure, the spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to men and women alike. This includes the gift of leadership, as God calls and gifts men and women to be leaders (Romans 12:8). Additionally, men and women receive the spiritual gift of “shepherding”, or “pastoring” (Ephesians 4:11) that protects, guides, counsels, and disciples others. People with this gift find great joy in seeing people mature in their faith and overcome besetting sin and discouragement, so that they are healthy and living out the fruit of the Spirit like Jesus our “good Shepherd” (John 10:11–14; 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25). Men and women have the gift of shepherding and are needed to help a church family be healthy.
At Trinity Church, where I am the founding and senior pastor, we want our church to be like a loving, healthy, joyful extended family. I think and lead like a father, and my wife Grace thinks and leads like a mother. Just like in our family with our children, things are much better when we are working together to love and lead. My wife and I both have the spiritual gift of shepherding or pastoring. However, she does not use the title pastor because it refers to our highest level of spiritual leadership and she believes that is only for men. Sometimes, well-meaning dear people will call her “Pastor Grace” and she does not correct them because they are being respectful, appreciating her ministry leadership (which is a very large role in our church), and they are using a term that they learned at another church that may do things a bit differently than us.
In summary, Deborah was not a feminist. In fact, she rejoiced when men led. In Judges 5:2 (NIV), Deborah says, “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves— praise the Lord!”
What spiritual gift(s) do you feel like God has given you to help others?
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