“What Will You Do After Seminary?” A Female Grad On Becoming a Pastor by Suzanne Burden
I will graduate on May 11, mere days from now… Which is why so many are recently asking: “What will you do after seminary?” In return, I often respond with an ironic, sad little smile. But I am not the only female seminarian who answers this question with a bit of nervous laughter and a hedge. I know I’m not, because I listen to my seminary sisters when they are asked this question. I listen to their answers, and later, I go home and I cry.
So I have decided that perhaps, in the style of Jesus, it might be best to turn the question into another question for my questioners. (Did you get all that?) I have decided that in certain situations it’s OK to ask: “What will you allow me to do with my degree?” Because this is the question that will largely determine what I do with my degree.
Wherever it Rises by Jen Hatmaker
“Yes, you know I value prophecy and believe the church needs to acknowledge some cold hard facts. Yes, courageous truth-speakers are ever needed and the state of the Bride requires urgent boldness. But perhaps what will transform the Body most is an influx of humility, reaching across party lines and gender barriers and denominational affiliations and theological debates and generations and preferences, and lock hands with one another, celebrating the gospel wherever it rises.”
Shame-Based Sex Education: We Can Do Better by Kristen Howerton
“No woman, ever, is a chewed up piece of gum. No woman is a cup of spit. No woman is a used car or a dirty rag or a used-up piece of duct tape or a plucked rose or a licked cupcake. No matter what she’s done. Didn’t Jesus come to tell us that?”
Women in the Church by Gary Walter, president of the ECC (He quotes me and mentions my grandma!)
In the Covenant at our most elemental we are simply people of the Book who have joined together to do mission. So for us, these two questions are always paramount: What does the Bible say? And what does the mission need?
As we read the entirety of Scripture, we are convinced the Bible normatively affirms women in leadership. Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Esther, Anna, Rachel, Hannah, Abigail, Ruth, Tabitha, Lydia, Priscilla—the list of stories of women in leadership goes on. In Romans 16, Paul names twenty-seven people of importance and influence, seven of them women. There appears to be no distinction in leadership roles based on gender, listing both for the same positions, notably Phoebe as a deacon and Junia as an apostle.
In my position I have the opportunity to see the difference women are making every week as senior pastors; church planters; staff ministers; missionaries; military, hospital, and institutional chaplains; faculty; camping staff; leaders at conference and denominational offices; and positions in parachurch settings. Our mission and ministry would be irretrievably impaired were we not affirming all the gifts of the entire body of Christ. For me, it’s simply this—if the Covenant wants to reach its full missional potential, then our members need to be able to reach their full missional potential.
Don’t forget, the Kindle Giveaway is still on until the end of May!