The Gift of Equality
From my earliest childhood memories, I recall a young version of myself lining up toys that I could find in our house—dolls, stuffed animals, and even an Ultimate Warrior action figure in order to play church with them (I have three brothers). I knew then that God had impressed upon me a call to ministry. That call has never wavered. Even in times of challenge and adversity, I have audibly heard the voice of God remind me of who I am and that He chose me.
Ministry is simultaneously difficult and beautiful. Being a woman brings an extra measure of challenge, especially in recent days as some women are being told in particular denominations that their place is not in leadership and that they should “go home” rather than preach.
But Scripture does not tell us to go home. In Matthew 28, Jesus commands us all to go to the nations and make disciples. This sounds more like a herald to boldly march forward with the Truth of salvation.
My calling affirmed
I am blessed to belong to a church that affirms my call to ministry. I equally share the pulpit at our corps (church) to teach and speak because God has called me to do so. It has never once occurred to me to do anything other than that because doing those things are acts of obedience to my Lord. Throughout its history, The Salvation Army certainly has maintained a woman’s right to do these things and for that, I am grateful.
However, my journey as a woman officer has not been without challenges. Certainly, within the Army’s organizational structure, there are ways that things are typically done. Traditionally, I believe men and women officers take on appointments relative to their gender. I have a tendency to challenge that tradition because, in a moment of vulnerability, I am good at almost none of what is assumed to be a woman officer’s appointment.
Instead, I like math, administration, and fixing problems. I am a good organizer and human resources is something I look forward to handling. I am the business and financial administrator for our corps. I really love business and thrive in that because God has chosen to gift me in those areas. I’m sure other women share similar skill sets.
In my marriage and ministry, my husband and I have taken an egalitarian approach and it has worked well for us. We do what we are gifted by God to do. We thrive when we have been afforded opportunities to function in the roles that God has gifted us, rather than assumed roles based upon gender. Scripture supports this idea of using the gifts God gives us individually. In Romans 12, Paul writes about this topic and addresses both his brothers and sisters (12:1) that “we have different gifts. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully (12:6–8). Rather than assign gifts based on a particular gender, He addresses both genders and the command here is to simply use your gifts in service to the Lord, male or female. This idea that we work to our strengths is a biblical one. Yet in my experience, this idea is sometimes missed.
Enduring the setbacks
The Army has recently made a good amount of positive movement in the way of gender equality. However, despite these strides in the right direction to change mindsets regarding officers’ roles based on gender, my journey has often times been difficult. While I have never been told to “go home,” I have been ignored, overlooked, and have had certain assumptions made about what I can and cannot do because I am a woman.
In other unintentional moments, a person has questioned my ability to carry out my call to ministry in the fashion that God designed for me. My husband has had similar assumptions imposed upon him for being a man. These words can never be unsaid, but such mindsets can be changed.
The truth is, God formed us, called us, gifted us, and continues to equip and sustain us.
Giving all to Jesus
When confronted with these situations, I want to loudly defend my ministry and my call. The truth is, I don’t need to. They aren’t mine to defend; they are God’s. Everything I am and everything I have all belong to Him.
So, in that realization I rest, both wholly and holy. I offer what I have in service to Him. I know that I honor Him by obeying His call. My character and my competence speak louder than any oral argument. Wholly living for me means offering everything and every gift—even the ones that are frequently ascribed to men—in service to God. My journey has been beautiful in so many ways but also challenging. I am so encouraged to see brighter days on the horizon.
Until then, I will continue to roll up my sleeves and work as I honor God with every step of my journey.
by Captain Amanda Krueger
—Captain Amanda Krueger and Captain Alan Krueger are corps officers of the Rome, N.Y., Corps.