I have tried the best I can to avoid this...but I cannot any longer. After reading Vicky's blog today, I have a responsibility as a woman who is in church leadership to contribute to this conversation. I have seen and heard more than I have ever wanted to about this subject in the last month. This issue is not strengthening the church - it is dividing it and that causes me such heartache. I can only speak to my convictions and my experience in church as a woman.
I grew up in a Pastor's home. I played the piano every Sunday for church since I was 9. THE LAST place in the world that I wanted to spend my life was in the LOCAL CHURCH! Don't ever say never. I remember where I was the night that I knew God was calling me into full-time ministry in the local church. I was 19 years old on tour with a band and I was sitting in a pew after our concert. The Holy Spirit spoke to me as clear as I have ever heard Him and asked me a question..."Cynthia, wouldn't it be amazing if music in church on Sundays was as good or better than what people paid to go hear on Saturday night?" I began to pour over that and pray through that...I knew that I could make a difference. As I began serving in local churches after college, God began to shape my calling into so much more than that (believe me, that was all I could handle at 19!) Now, it is a life long passion to see others worship God through the arts and experience Him every week in a new and fresh way. Although I tried at times to work outside the church producing records, writing, and other "good" things, my heart was always brought back to the local church. Ike Reighard was the first to recognize this huge calling in my life and gave me the opportunity to use my gifts at a highly visible leadership level at NorthStar Church in 2000. He was clear that I would have challenges as a woman in the "worship pastor role," but he as my pastor supported me and would stand by his decision. I'll never know if he had to battle a lot for me - he never told me. I just know that he believed in me and I was able to be a part of amazing things in that role. Mike followed Ike as Senior Pastor and gave me the same support and encouragement. Their leadership opened doors for me to continue to serve as a Worship Arts Director in other churches to this day.
Those 5 years at NorthStar were some of the toughest and the most rewarding of my life. I would not be who I am today without that experience. If you have a problem with a woman being in leadership at your church...leave. There are other churches. I do not say that with a sarcastic tone. We live in a country where we are free to worship where we please. Please do not take that woman, your church, or other churches to task because of your views. Senior Pastors will stand before God one day and be accountable for their churches (Acts 20:28). That is all I have to say about that.
This is my life Scripture passage...this is what God has called me to do. "You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16 (THE MESSAGE)