Can I Plant a New Faith Community if I’m a Woman?
Yes! Click here to read more about the history of the ordination of women in the United Methodist Church.
Women have been leading and starting churches even before the United Methodist Church existed. In Acts 21:9 we read about Philip’s four daughters being prophetesses and sharing the word of God with the community. Priscilla and her husband Aquila lived in Corinth with the Apostle Paul for 18 months and helped him plant the church there. Priscilla’s name is usually listed before her husband’s name which shows that she was viewed as equal to her husband, if not the main leader of the house church when Paul left to continue his missionary journeys. Euodia and Syntyche are both women that Paul calls his co-workers. When speaking of the church planter Junia in Romans 16:7, Paul calls her and Andronicus “outstanding among the apostles.”
So if you identify as female and are sensing a calling to plant a church, lean into your call and know that God has been using women to start new things since Mary Magdalene preached the first Easter Sunday sermon almost 2,000 years ago.
What are other tips for female church planters? Well, it’s important to find your tribe and know that you are not alone. Contact Rachel Gilmore, who planted a church in Virginia Beach, to get connected to other female United Methodist Church planters. Attend conferences like the one hosted by Stadia Bloom or the seminars offered at Exponential that are solely for female planters. If a conference feels too far away, here are some articles on women in the church planting world:
It can also be helpful to listen to stories of women in male-dominated fields and learn from them. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is a great initial read, along with reading the work by Shelley Taylor on a tendency for women to “tend and befriend” during times of stress which can make them highly relational and gifted at strengthening the sense of community in the stress-filled world of church planting.
The bottom line is that if you are sensing a call to plant some kind of faith community and identify as female, you are not alone. We are here to help connect you with others who can help you on your journey of discernment!