I wrote this post several months ago- but didn’t have a place to share it until now.
This summer I am directing Los Angeles Urban Project, a really amazing Christian ministry that puts college students in the inner city for six weeks. We talk about Social Justice, and God’s heart for the city, and building relationships across class and race.
I’ve had a great time kicking butt for Jesus. I preached or trained at least 8 times during our orientation week. I’ve lead worship, trained leaders, and exposed students to a whole new side of Scripture and their Christian discipleship.
As I’ve stepped into this role I have been surrounded by a wonderful group of supporters. Kevin Blue- the former Director of LAUP, for almost 13 years, checked in on me during our orientation week. He prayed for me and came to speak for us in the midst of his busy schedule. Dennis Ortega, the Director of LAUP when I was a student, is currently on my leadership team. That’s right. The man that was directing the program when I was 19 years old, is now serving on the leaders team that I am leading. He has been encouraging, supportive, and helpful. My co –worker Scott Hall, who is not here this summer because he is on sabbatical, has texted me consistently with things he has heard in prayer for me.
I’ve felt affirmed, encouraged, and respected. And it’s sad. Because I realize this experience is extremely rare for Christian women in leadership. I have no war wounds coming into this role and I’ve experienced only affirmation and respect from my male co-workers and predecessors.
It’s also sad because I know that most of the students in this program will never hear a woman preach as much as they will this summer. I know that they will probably never see a Christian man in leadership joyfully pass positional leadership to a woman. They will not see male predecessors rally in encouragement for the first woman in a leadership position. But all that has happened this summer.
I have deep gratitude for the many men that have mentored me, trained me, invested me as a leader, and who now respect me as a co-laborer and listen to me preach, follow my leadership, and encourage me on the journey.
But it’s sad. Because this happens so rarely.
Dennis Ortega, Chizu Shimizu, herself, and Kevin Blue