For any of you who read “Church Girls Who Don’t Bake Cupcakes,” welcome to the reboot! I’ll be blogging here again for church girls in leadership as “She is Imago Dei.” Imago Dei is a Latin term that helped early theologians describe what it means for mankind to be created in God’s image.
While Jesus is male, God the eternal Spirit is genderless. We generally usually use masculine pronouns and metaphors to help us understand God’s nature, which are powerful and appropriate. However, Genesis 1:26-27 is clear: both male and female are created together in God’s image. That means that God made women in his image just as surely as men are (pronouns for God fall short here). We may forget this, overlooking many of the feminine metaphors for God throughout the Bible that describe God as mother bird, or bear, woman looking for a lost coin (Hosea 13:8; Deuteronomy 32:11-12; Isaiah 66:13; Psalm 131:2; Luke 15:8-10 to name just a few).
What this means for us is pretty remarkable. Since women also bear God’s image, we have the same mandate that men do—to carry God’s mission into the future, seeing all of Creation reconciled to God and healed (Matt. 28:19). We carry God’s creative nature, and the same responsibility as men to be fruitful and rule (Gen. 1:28).
We are not just a weaker, lesser helper to men. In fact, ezer, translated “helper” in Genesis 2:20, is used most of the time to describe God! God is certainly not less powerful than a man, but a rescuer of the weak. Ezer is a powerful woman-warrior, designed for interdependent partnership. Women need men, and men need women to accomplish God’s purposes.
Men and women are corporately called to carry this mission forward, both in word and in deed. We steward our God-designed unique callings (Ephesians 2:10) for the purpose of accomplishing our corporate calling. God has specially designed us to fit together in an ordered and necessary way (1 Cor. 12). That means, girlfriend, that there is a you-shaped hole in the body of Christ! You are needed, and your gifts are essential to what God want to do in your church. Both testaments of the Bible paint pictures of women exercising every kind of gift that men do, including leadership, prophecy and teaching.
Women in church leadership face some unique challenges in their development. We are different from men; we think different and we have different weaknesses. I’m writing here about stewarding this feminine church leadership calling and wrestling with the issues we face in culture, character, and development. My leadership development journey has been a bumpy road, and it’s not over yet. I can’t wait to share with you some of the things I’ve been learning on the journey.