Natasha Sistrunk Robinson: Reading Women

In addition to loving his offer of life and eternity with God, I love the intentional missional practices and kingdom leadership of Jesus. In the face of social and cultural norms, the biases of religious leaders and even his own disciples, Jesus set an open table to engage and invite “outsiders” into his kingdom. He offered new life to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4–42), the Canaanite woman who was metaphorically willing to take scraps off of his table (Matt. 15:21–28), the man born blind (John 9:1–38), the disabled man who wanted healing (John 5:2–15), and the sinful tax collector who looked for him out of a tree (Luke 19:1–10). 

For “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Therefore, it must be an essential practice of our discipleship and spiritual formation that we listen to the witness and testimonies of people on the margins—those who were once far off spiritually—and have figuratively been grafted into God’s Tree of Life. And some of those on the margins are women.

As we reflect during this season of Lent and the holy observances that lead up to Jesus’ ascension, we must remember the women. Aside from John, only the women faithfully followed Jesus until the end (Matt. 27:55–56, Mark 15:40–41). Theirs has always been a public witness (Mark 16:1–8; Luke 24:1–11, 19–24; John 20:1–2). They stayed after Jesus’ death to prepare his body for burial, kept watch at the tomb (Matt. 27:61, 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 23:55–56), and became evangelists to tell the good news that Jesus has risen (Matt. 28:8–10, John 20:11–18). Jesus, himself, appointed women to this work of leadership and truth-telling in a world that did not accept their witness. Yet, Jesus has ushered in a new kingdom where God’s daughters also prophecy (Acts 2:17).  

When considering resources for our church, we must include the contributions of women. In recent years the hashtag #ReadWomen has surfaced to draw attention to this need. This is yet another area where culture has led the church in championing an act of justice and equity. InterVarsity Press adopted this hashtag as a campaign to champion the work of their women authors. Yet, the church needs more than a hashtag or campaign; it needs a missional “why?”     

The commitment of the Lausanne Covenant is “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” It speaks directly to the need for this inclusion and leadership, and how our missional call and global effectiveness can be enhanced when considering the testimonies and faithful contributions of women. More than listening, we need a clear call for discipleship and spiritual formation that includes women, and we need specific practices to follow that call. Our beliefs drive our actions. So, we need pastors and church leaders to disciple themselves and their congregations out of the thoughts that books that are authored by women are exclusively or primarily for women. 

What authors are you reading and learning from this year? Who are you quoting from the pulpit? Who are you inviting as guest speakers? What resources are you using to support Bible studies and small, life or community groups? If we are to live out our missional calling, then women must be on the agenda.

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Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is the visionary founder of Leadership LINKS, Inc. and the author of A Sojourner’s Truth and Mentor for Life.

Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is an author, podcast host, president of T3 Leadership Solutions, Inc. and visionary founder of Leadership LINKS, Inc.