Emboldened by Tara Beth Leach - reviewed by Katie Fowler, Pastor of Discipleship, FPC Colorado Springs: I think a lot about women in ministry. Perhaps, for the obvious reason that I am a woman in ministry. But more so, because I believe passionately in seeing women encouraged and unleashed in their Kingdom callings. When that happens, we experience all the more the wild and beautiful redemptive movement that God is bringing about through Jesus Christ--the Kingdom coming down to earth.
Earlier this fall, thanks to the wonders of social media, I was tipped off that a new book was coming out on women in ministry. I was instantly intrigued. Fast forward to a local SheLeads conference viewing party, and I picked up a copy. And one for a friend. I have since bought 4 more copies to give to folks (thank you, Amazon Prime). Yeah, I am that kid. Books for everybody!
Tara Beth Leach, senior pastor at First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena, has written a helpful and insightful book entitled, Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry (IVP Books).
In her book she helps us wrestle with the question: how do we not simply affirm women in ministry, but go further and embolden women in ministry?
What a powerful question for each of us—in our spheres of influence, in our local churches, and as a denomination.
In my context, with the young women whom I come alongside in friendship and in mentoring relationships, how do I affirm their gifts and encourage their sense of call? How do I help them see and work through the unique challenges and realities of being a woman in ministry? I was encouraged and challenged again and again as I read her book.
In our local churches, how do we serve as “emboldened co-laborers” pursuing an “emboldened imagination” for what God desires to do in and through his “emboldened church”? In this movement that is ECO, how do we continue to embrace our core value of egalitarian ministry? I firmly believe ECO has an important and unique role to play in the unleashing of women in ministry.
Tara Beth Leach continually draws it all back to the mission of God. She points us back to the bigger story, the beautiful call of God on his people:
“The people of God on mission is not a place of disunity, a place of gossip, conflict, rejection, pain, strife, and hatred. It is a place where the Spirit’s fruits are present in abundance, so much so that the world around the Christian community can’t help but take notice. It is a community so unified, so beautiful that it stops others in their tracks. Those on the outside can’t help but peer in and watch with awe and wonder, and notice the unity, love, warmth, and joy. It is a place of men and women at the table, sharing hospitality, sharing gifts, and laying down their lives for each other. It is a place of generosity and care, and of proclamation and light. And when we get it right, the world sees…When we get it right, the world sees Jesus.”
May it be so. In the ways we work together as men and women, in our common pursuit and partnership in the gospel, in our encouragement of the next generation, in our celebration of the gifts of all of God’s people, in our service and love, may the world around us see Jesus.