Women evangelists, missionaries, and pastors appeared prominently in early photographs,
revival reports, and testimony pages in AG publications. They formed a big part of
our Pentecostal roots.
Women preachers? Its Gods idea! Jesus first declared himself as Messiah
to the Samaritan woman at the well. With that message she became the first female evangelist,
and many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the womans
testimony (John 4:39, NIV).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ commissioned Mary Magdalene to go and tell the
disciples the news of the resurrection. I like to think of Mary as the first female
missionary or sent one. God delights to bless and gift unlikely people and
uses them for His glory.
Later the New Testament account speaks of the disciple Dorcas, whom God raised from
the dead in Joppa (Acts 9:36), the female apostle Junia (Romans 16:7), and Phoebe, minister
of the church in Cenchrea (Romans 16:1). The teacher Priscilla, who with her husband
Aquila, partnered in ministry, helped plant the church in Ephesus, and taught Apollos
the way of God more adequately (Acts 18:19-26, NIV).
leaders will affirm and involve today's gifted women and not simply praise yesterday's
stalwarts of the faith, who knows what can be accomplished in the Kingdom of God?"
Barbara Cavaness, Ph.D
AGTS has trained many husband-wife teams as well as single women and men in its nearly
30 years. Two husband-wife teams serve as faculty and administrators at the Seminary,
Paul and Dene Wood and Jay and Cheryl Taylor. In the last five years 10 couples, 15
single women, and six men have completed Global Missions Track cross-cultural practicum
assignments. Last fall, the first Assemblies of God husband-wife chaplain team, Raylene
and Eric Cochrane from AGTS, was commissioned as Navy chaplain candidates in the U.S.
Nearly 50 percent of AG college students are women. From 1993 to 2001, the percentage
of female students at AGTS has increased from 17.7 percent to 33.8 percent. Many of
them are potential answers to the shortage of pastors and need for missionaries. Female
graduates are finding positions as foreign and home missionaries, professors, Chi Alpha
pastors, chaplains, church planters, pastors, and presbyters. For example, 1978 AGTS
alumna Deborah Gill was recently appointed as the national director of the Division
of Christian Education and commissioner for the Commission on Discipleship. God is opening
the doors for those He has called and anointed for ministry.
The job of evangelizing the world is far from complete, and men cannot get the job
done alone. If leaders will affirm and involve todays gifted women and not simply
praise yesterdays stalwarts of the faith, who knows what can be accomplished in
the kingdom of God? People of the 21st century include single parents, working women,
professionals, divorced persons and singles, multiple ethnic groups, and so on. This
is a postmodern, post-Christian picture of people who need the gospel message contextualized
for their situation. As Pentecostals, we believe that it is God who divinely calls and
supernaturally anoints peopleboth women and menfor ministry. The gifts of
the Holy Spirit are not gender specific. Lets get back to our roots.
The AG position paper on women in ministry concludes, As we look on the fields
ripe for harvest, may we not be guilty of sending away any of the reapers God calls.
Let us entrust to these women of God the sacred sickle, and with our sincerest blessings
thrust them out into the whitened fields. AGTS continues to welcome women called
to spiritual leadership, because it IS Gods idea.