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Dear Pastor,

Thank you for faithfully committing to this work. It is such hard, worthy work.
No one knows how many hours you agonize over a passage.
No one will know how many people you have held as they grieved.
How much passive aggression you’ve absorbed.
How lonely and isolating this work can be.

Pastoring can be difficult, but it is also a Spirit-given gift. Your work cuts through the shallow and ephemeral. It is holy. You invite others into the presence of God. You walk beside them in both rejoicing and tragedy.

Shepherding is hard work. It involves knowing your sheep; guiding them in a nurturing way. When sheep can’t see their way out of a tough or isolating spot, a good shepherd’s voice calls the flock out of harm and into safety. There’s no voice like a shepherd’s voice–trustworthy, gentle, dependable.

As a woman in the fold of God, I humbly ask a favor from you: would you listen and consider my words? So many women like me feel too far from our local shepherds to participate, lead, minister, speak, or show up.

Don’t be afraid of us. Spend time with us. If you don’t interact with the women in your classes and churches, you’re missing out on an invaluable education. Also, leaders lead more effectively when they know the strengths, fears, and loves of their people.

Women glorify God, draw insights from the Scriptures, express ourselves in discussion, hospitality, prayer, and worship in ways that will expand your love for the Lord. We were made to do this.

Women are also made in the image of God and co-heirs of an eternal inheritance through Jesus. First. Foremost. Please proceed on that foundation–our identity in Christ–our eternal identity. So many of us are acknowledged in our churches *only* by who we married or birthed. We love those sacred relationships, but we are children of God, and that designation carries us from this world into the next.

Pastors who are involved in church governance serve the church will always be more informed when they receive regular input and perspective from wise and gifted women–whether they are complementarian, egalitarian, or something else.

There are hurts, challenges, and circumstances occurring in your churches that you will handle better because you have the counsel, strategy, and ministry of women. Free them to do the work and honor their work.

Don’t grow weary, Pastor. Keep doing the work. And know that we’re here to do the work of the gospel with you, as the Spirit has gifted us. Ultimately, we’re all sheep in the fold of Jesus.

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