Project Deborah

2 comments Written on November 7th, 2016     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
carol-lawson-2Carol Lawson is the Director of Ministry Services for the Department of Ordered Ministry, Develop Leaders for the Evangelical Covenant Church and an advisory member of the Commission on Biblical Gender Equality.


The 40th anniversary of the decision to affirm ordination for women has been recognized and celebrated during 2016. The early years following that significant vote at the 1976 Covenant Annual meeting were marked by frustration and disappointment as women following their call into ministry struggled to find places to serve. We lament the loss of some of our female colleagues who ended up leaving our denomination to live out their call in other ministry settings.

The trajectory has changed since then. The approval of the Biblical Gender Equality Commission by the Covenant Annual Meeting in 2002 provided funding and a system to produce resource materials to educate our denominational body on this important topic. The number of women serving as solo pastors, as co-pastors, and in staff positions has grown significantly even since the 30th anniversary in 2006. We celebrate that good news!

However, the Commission realizes continued advocacy is necessary to move forward to fully embrace that all God’s people are equally called and gifted. Women have stories to tell of ways they have been encouraged, discipled and given opportunities to develop their leadership skills. And we all need to be challenged to look for girls and women in our congregations or ministry settings who are waiting for someone to ask them to consider ministry as a vocation. We desire a future when women serving as pastors in a variety of congregations is normative and natural.

To that end, Project Deborah, a Leadership Initiative of the Biblical Gender Equality Commission, draws on the Biblical text of Deborah the prophet, a leader to whom the Israelites went to have their disputes settled and from whom they heard the Word of the Lord. Project Deborah invites us to listen to Deborah stories of our clergy women who have been mentored and encouraged in their call to ministry to use their gifts as Deborah did. Project Deborah asks churches to provide places for women to serve as leaders, as teachers and as pastors, demonstrating that God gifts women for all facets of ministry. Project Deborah challenges male clergy to be advocates for their female colleagues, speaking for them when injustice arises. Project Deborah seeks to move us closer as a denomination to a place where all God’s people are equally called and gifted and women are directed into opportunities to lead.

Look for stories on this blog from clergy women who describe ways they have been developed as a Deborah. And hear from a few of our female colleagues at Midwinter who affirm “I am a Deborah.”

Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge. Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. (Judges 2:18, 4:4)



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

2 comments “Project Deborah”

EXCELLENT news!!! Thanks for sharing it.

Report This Comment

This blog, the ACCW awards and other places of conversation and recognition continue to inspire the church to recognize the call and prepare others for their call in ministry. We need to be reminded to look for those who are faithfully answering God’s call to ministry and those who are remaining faithful in their call to leadership in the church. This is another awareness movement to help all of us remember the fullness of God’s story in the daughters of the Lord who are called to serve as leaders in the church.

Report This Comment

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog