Can you think of five influential women in church history? How about one? Have you heard about Phoebe? Perpetua? Mahalia Jackson? Does she even go here?
We don’t often hear about the women who helped build the global church. As a children’s minister, I often think about how we can change that fact. My hope and prayer is that the children of Bridgeway will have role models from both history and the present that they feel they can relate to. I think you would agree, representation makes a difference. We can do that for young girls by sharing stories of fierce and godly women.
I was lucky as a girl because my father desperately wanted to empower me. One of my most treasured memories is the summer of 2002. My father spent almost every night that summer reading to me from a book called Ten Girls Who Changed the World by Irene Howat. Because of that time together, I felt empowered to do whatever God called me to do. How can you empower the women around you?
Three women that particularly inspire me are:
- Phoebe – Phoebe is one of the women written about in the Bible. Paul mentions Phoebe in Romans 16 as a commendable deacon (or in other words, servant or minister). While some debate what specific role she had in the Roman church, no one can debate that her contributions were foundational to the global church.
- Perpetua – Perpetua was a twenty-two year old mother in the second century who was martyred because she would not give up her faith. Some believe the early literature written about her was actually written by her. If true, that would make her one of the first female authors of faith. Her story is an example for Jesus followers everywhere on faithfulness and bravery.
- Mahalia Jackson – Mahalia was a true light for the gospel. She used her creative and vocal talent to lead many to Jesus through gospel music. Mahalia broke down barriers through her worship at Civil Rights events. Many women grace the stage of Bridgeway with their creative talents in part due to Mahalia’s impact on the global church.
I am also inspired by the women (and men) I serve with in the children’s ministry. They influence hundreds of kids on a weekly basis, inspiring them to be everything God created them to be. These women and others like them did not become role models of faith overnight. They were empowered by those around them. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (1 Timothy 1:17). One way you could empower a generation of boys and girls is by joining the children’s ministry team, BridgeKids. You can apply to join our team HERE!
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