A Women Who Leads

Post a Comment » Written on May 11th, 2017     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Stephanie Williams O’Brien pastors Mill City Church in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis. At Mill City she preaches, leads discipleship and missional community ministries and equips the leaders and staff. She recently has received a ministry license with the ECC and is the ordination process.

Being a woman who leads… let me tell you why it’s worth it.

I sat on the stairs leading up to the stage last Sunday holding my adorable nephew on my lap. I had just finished preaching the sermon for the second Sunday of Lent.

As I bounced Amos on my lap, little Olivia came up to me. She is four and one of the “Mini Mills” of Mill City Church, as we affectionately refer to them.

At first I thought she wanted to dote on how cute Amos was, after all, he has a permanent smile on his face.

However, I soon realized that Olivia was actually coming up to the stage with an important announcement:

“I want to be a church speaker when I grow up” she stated with confidence.

I was so thrilled that all I could say was, “Wow!”

“You are going to have to show me the ropes, and how everything works.” She said with an ever-so-slight struggle with pronouncing the letter R that made the statement almost too cute to handle.

“How about we start with one lesson a week, then by the time you’re my age do you think you’ll be ready?” I asked.

She nodded with wide eyes.

We practiced her first lesson, which was to stand as tall as possible in the center of the stage because shorter gals like us will need the leverage.

Her mom came to to find her on her tippy toes at center stage and stated she wasn’t at all shocked to hear that Olivia wanted to be a “church speaker”.

We then made a plan for her to come early the next time I was preaching so she could help me test out the mic – to which she seemed elated.

So ladies who lead… let me tell you why it’s worth it:


And the fact that she will never doubt that women can be lead pastors and preachers because she won’t have a memory where that wasn’t her experience.

Let me tell you why it’s worth feeling like being one of the few lone women leading in your organization…

It’s worth it because of the women and girls who see you live out your calling and gifts and realize for the first time that they could aspire to more than they had originally dreamed possible.

Let me tell you why it’s worth the confrontations, the blatant statements that most of us have heard such as: “you’re in a man’s role” or “the Bible says you should be quiet” or “women are too emotional for leadership”…

It’s worth it for how deeply both genders can be shaped by mentorship from women in addition to men. So they can embrace the perspectives of both genders God created to co-lead together.

Let me tell you why it’s worth the loneliness that comes from a sense of isolation when you are often the only woman in the room of leaders at a training or as you step into the board room…

It’s worth it because nothing communicates louder than the steps you take into those spaces that anyone who is qualified belongs in these rooms, no matter their gender, background, age or ethnicity.

Let me tell you why it’s worth it to drop the defensiveness and put on humble confidence when it takes so much determination to do so…

It’s worth it because if someone hadn’t gone before us and done so, none of us would be where we are today.

That same Sunday that Olivia had her first preaching lesson, I know of at least one person who walked out of the service because they don’t believe women should be preachers.

It’s worth it so that won’t have to be Olivia’s experience.

(This article was first posted at Steph’s blog on March 10, 2015.)

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