A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence. Acts 17:12 (TMSG)
Paul’s account of people becoming believers includes women who had an integral part in changing the world; women of influence!
Bible versions use words like important, high standing, honourable and prominent. Who were they? Just as in the case of men, only a few women’s names are recorded, but these were women whom God uniquely positioned to aid Paul in expanding the Kingdom of Christ throughout the ancient world.
Much is made of how the culture of that day was male-dominated. Yet these women were prominent and influential. They turned heads when they walked down the street; people listened when they spoke. However, these women of high standing would serve a church entirely male-dominated. What a difficult assignment – women who were smart, capable and energetic, ready to get things done, yet having to step very lightly among (sometimes around) the men in charge. Women have always carried extra baggage where the leadership issue is concerned.
Of late the church moves as it has always moved – slowly – sometimes stubbornly. Pope Francis has recently reaffirmed that the priesthood is closed to women. While gender issues seem eternally controversial, it’s safe to posit this one maxim:
And that statement – so true in my experience serving churches – begs the issue of women in leadership: real leadership is never about if the powers that be let you in the club, or if you possess certificates that put letters before and after your name. Real leadership has to do with carrying a cross every day. Women of influence are good at that!