Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do we need Martha Stearns Marshall month?

During February Baptist churches are encouraged to participate in Martha Stearns Marshall month by inviting a woman to preach at their worship service.

I have gone back and forth in my mind about Martha Stearns Marshall month of preaching.  It's not that I'm against ladies preaching (heavens no!).  I only wish pastors who happen to be female didn't need a month set aside for special emphasis.   

Maybe you disagree with me but I don't want a special emphasis.  I want to blend in with other pastors and go about the rather large task of leading others to follow Christ.  I am not a pastor because I'm a female or because I think it's my right.  I am not a pastor because I'm trying to get with the times.  I am a pastor because God called me.  (I am also convinced scripture supports the call of men and women to the pastorate.)  

I don't want a special emphasis, but we still need it.  I have the privilege of serving a church as pastor but I have very gifted friends who are still waiting to be called.  I don't want a special emphasis but we're not there yet.  We still need a special emphasis.

There are two reasons we need a special emphasis:  The first is little girls (and little boys) who are called to pastor need to see women preaching.  I speak from experience.  They may hear women can be called, but hearing and seeing are different.  Children model what they see.  The second is women who are eager to try out their calling need a place to preach.  Many churches are not willing to host a young woman in the pulpit. 

When I was in seminary I put my name on a pulpit supply list.  The first and only church who called was a UCC church.  I will always be grateful to St. John's Church.  It was quite and experience for a Baptist raised in the South!  They outfitted me in a robe and gave me a jumbo Bible to carry.  I was to process to the front of the sanctuary and place the world's largest Bible on ONE of the lecterns.  (Wait!  Why are there two pulpits?!)  They were gracious and patient with me. 

Thanks UCC; however I want more Baptist churches to join you in welcoming ladies to try out their calling in the pulpit.  It's no secret ladies who are called to pastor are encouraged to leave our denomination.  Other Baptists encouraged me to be Methodist!  Listen up:  Katie loves Methodists and some of my most dear colleagues are Methodist but as the saying goes: "I'm Baptist born and Baptist bred and when I die I'll be Baptist dead!"  Not only do I like being Baptist (okay...most of the time), I am Baptist in belief and conviction.  All that to say:  I want our churches to host women who are eager to try out their calling.  I want these ladies to remain Baptist!  I want them to be encouraged and know there are churches willing to call them.

Even if I don't want the special emphasis we still need it.  I hope your churches will consider participating.


  1. We still need it; we do. As long as I have a daughter to raise, we still do...