International Women's Day: #beboldforchange
Today (8 March 2017), we celebrate International Women's Day (#beboldforchange). On 12 March 1994, the Church of England ordained the first women priests in its long history and 11 years later, the first woman Bishop. In the decades preceding these changes these women would have been considered very unlikely leaders in the church. This month we are going to consider one aspect of the discussion we began during our last equipping day the issue of 'who am I?'
Do you ever wonder how you would respond on the day that you meet God face to face? Perhaps we imagine throwing down our crowns before Him, or we see ourselves lost in wonder love and praise, maybe in our mind's eye we can imagine nothing else but bowing down before Him? In the middle of the desert Moses has a powerful encounter with God and his response has much to teach us on our own leadership journeys. In this single moment, in the wilderness, simply living out his daily life, Moses is called. He is chosen for a noble task; to fulfil the purposes of God amongst His people the Israelites. At the moment of this awe striking encounter with almighty God what springs forth from Moses is not awe and praise but all of His insecurities. The first of these being but God 'who am I?'
In this question Moses is stating that he used to be in a powerful position but is now a shepherd, a no one with nothing to offer in terms of worldly status. Moses understands that he grew up in a powerful family who exploited the very people who God is now asking Him to rescue. He also remembers that he is a murderer and a defector from the Egyptian people. Moses is an asylum seeker living in the back side of the desert afraid to ever return to the place of His birth because of the political ramifications. Moses recognises his position and the unlikely choice of leader that he appears to be. God too understands full well who Moses is, his strengths and weaknesses and on that day calls to him. In the calling of Moses God reminds us that He is not looking for powerful, self sufficient have it all together leaders but rather those who would ask with all humility 'who am I?' . It is from this place that Christian leaders both men and women can lean all the harder upon an all powerful God and lead as the apostle Paul did with full knowledge that it is 'in our weakness that His power is made perfect.' The following chapters see Moses the unlikely leader being 'bold for change' as he time and again appears before Pharaoh to demand that the people be set free.
So, have you ever asked the question 'who am I?'
You are in good company! Let us continue to encourage and equip women in leadership to 'be bold for change', trusting in an all powerful God who calls us and equips both men and women for the task of faithfully following Him wherever He may lead us.
This month, our articles include some great articles from our past:
Both articles remind us of those who have been 'bold for change' and contributed both theologically and pragmatically towards seeking the equality of men and women within the church.
We also have an excellent article from Natalie Collins, founder of Project 3:28 on the need for Christian conferences to be more intentional about including female speakers - this would certainly be being bold for change.
Chair of Sophia Network