Women Biblical Leadership
By Women of Wonder (WOW!), Inc.
We believe the kingdom of God flourishes when there is room for men and women to lead equally. Whether in marriage, ministry, or any relationship, the call and value of one is not diminished at the cost of the other. WOW! seminar series aims to sharpen and expand the understanding of God’s design for women in leadership through sound biblical teaching where God affirms the call to leadership and discipleship for every individual. Subscribe to our mailing list at www.womenofwonder.us to stay up to date on joining the live seminars.
Lydia: the Power of Choice
Within 4 verses, Rachelle Verdier unfolds a multi-dimensional portrait of Lydia with life and color. How did Lydia, a Greek Jewish woman become a game changer? Rachelle points out that “the average adult makes more than 35,000 decisions per day. All of this decision fatigue can lead to a perceived loss of power.” Lydia’s attentiveness to the Holy Spirit, her environment, politics, her trade, and conversations, enabled her to make decisions that led to powerful impact. She became an ezer of trust to Paul and his missions team, impacting the start of the church in Philippi where her legacy is remembered till this day. How can you turn your choices into powerful impact in the community and be an ezer that people can trust? Rachelle Verdier is a lifelong learner and educator and has been teaching in NYC public schools, coaching educators, creating resources for adult learners and providing professional development opportunities for over 20 years. She leads the New Visions Black Educators network and is a founding member of Every Nation Church NYC. Her joy is to help people discover and excavate their authentic identities.
October 15, 2021
Listen to the untold story of Rahab and her enduring faith. What did her relationship with God look like? How did Rahab, a woman who only heard about God from afar, come to participate in a personal relationship with God that led her to be named among the faithful in the book of Hebrews? Christy Chia helps us to pause, observe and reflect on many broad strokes of Rahab's faith which have rarely been brought to the surface. Watch how God emboldened the ezer in her. What can we learn from her faith that was undeterred in a period of indefinite waiting and delayed deliverance? Christy Chia is a third-year MDiv student at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is passionate about creating safe spaces for building community and empowering women and people of color in the church. Christy is currently serving with Fuller’s Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry, and also as a representative on the Fuller Student Council. Christy served at WOW! for a year before she began her MDiv studies at Fuller.
September 17, 2021
Partnership Across the River: Jochebed, Miriam, and Pharaoh’s daughter
Pastor Drea Hairston takes the term ezer out of the confinement of the patriarchal definition and leads us to a deeper dive into the biblical context of the term. Ezer was not designed by God as a gender divide, nor a hierarchical structure, nor a patriarchal ideology. Ezer was a description of partnership and wholeness in reflection of humanity as created by God. How was ezer portrayed through the partnership of Jochebed, Miriam, and Pharaoh’s daughter that would seemingly be impossible to the human mindset? How did seeing each other across social locations rescue them from isolation, ultimately becoming a story of defiance and deliverance? They were a team of ezers. How can this story of partnership inspire hope to our world that is divided and filled with hostility and violence? Drea Hairston is a pastor at Church! of Park Slope. She recently received her MA degree from City Seminary in Harlem. She is a wife and mother of four children under 12. Although growing up as a Midwestern Lutheran, she has lived in Brooklyn and been a part of her non-denominational community church for the last 15 years. She is grateful to be a part of a church that is striving to be a collective body learning and following Christ together.
August 18, 2021
Single Hearted Devotion
The story of Anna's prophetic witness is often told alongside Simeon's in the temple. Similar to a piece of classical music, Victoria Chiu tells the story of Anna's personhood, single-hearted devotion, and prophetic witness as revealed in these 3 verses through 3 movements. Although she is sidelined by society due to her social location as a woman, widow, and a senior at 84 years old, God gave her a public platform, emboldened with a prophetic voice to spread the message of redemption and the work of mutuality in partnership with Simeon. She indeed is an ezer. In fact, she is named a prophetess! How can Anna's story offer you insight about living in the fullness of life that Jesus offers through the social location you find yourself? What is God's invitation to grow in and express single-hearted devotion to Jesus in this stage of your life?
July 15, 2021
Justice of Jubilee
The concept of jubilee stirs promise, hope, and relief. As we re-engage in this season, how has the pandemic prepared us to re-enter the world with God’s vision of Jubilee? Krystin Bruan invites us to envision what it is to put justice back into God's hands. She gives a Biblical overview of jubilee connecting it to Jesus, the ezer described as the one who rides across the heavens to put into motion a full economic and spiritual reset. How are you experiencing the rest, restoration and freedom of Jubilee? What are some new ways you can embody the principles of Jubilee as an ezer? Krystin Bruan aims to raise the collective volume of marginalized voices through cultivating compelling narratives. She loves working with artists, college students, and young professionals to uncover biblical truth and develop healthy spirituality. She is serving her second term as WOW! board chair and making adjustments to pursue her Masters of Divinity at Fuller Seminary.
June 17, 2021
Song of Songs: The Female Body - Desired of God
Rev. Ajung Sojwal’s approach to Song of Songs challenges the common notion that the physical is somehow inferior to the spiritual. This cultural mindset has led to the objectifying and controlling the female body. She lays out 5 themes of mutuality with a number of surprises to ponder in wonder. The book features a woman’s voice which becomes bolder as she faces societal disapproval. She takes control of her own body, recognizes her own beauty, and proclaims that she has only one vineyard and she decides who to give it to. The Shulammite woman is an excellent place to redeem womanhood, marriage, sexuality, spirituality, identity and our inner desire for relationships that are safe, mutual, honest, and deep. How do you see the Shulammite woman reflecting the role of the ezer? Rev. Ajung Sojwal immigrated from India in 1994. She was ordained by the Episcopal Diocese of NY and is now the rector of St. George's Church in Hempstead Long Island. She is married to Milind, an ordained minister; they have 2 adult daughters.
May 18, 2021
Always Winter, Never Christmas: The Story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well
Jesus' meeting with the woman at the well takes place in the long winter season of not just her personal life, but in Jewish history. Rev. Jasmine Flores provides historical, cultural, and spiritual context to help us see Jesus is not just bringing salvation to her, but to an entire nation in this encounter. This radical conversation directly challenges and seeks to dismantle the prejudices and culture of the time, an example we can seek to follow today. Jesus restores her life and dignity by revealing to her that he is the living water she has been thirsting for, freeing her to enter a new way of living and worshipping God. Rev. Jasmine Flores highlights the Samaritan Woman's ezer likeness as the first evangelist, helping birth a new nation that will worship in spirit and in truth. Jasmine currently teaches Chinese in public middle school and is the founding pastor of Ignite Prayer Church. Jasmine and her husband, Rev. Tom Hui, are both ordained pastors. Together they parent and homeschool their three China-Rican children.
April 16, 2021
To Give and Sustain Life
We often hear masculine metaphors to describe God. In her teaching, Dr. Amy Davis Abdallah shows us throughout the Bible there are many seldomly used metaphors highlighting the role of women that reveal the image of God. Ezer-kenegdo is a metaphor used to describe God as one who gives life and sustains life. The giving life aspect is not limited to a biological reference, but describes salvation, triumph and blessings. Sustaining life describes the work of sabbath, conservation and co-creativity. Regardless of your own gender or life stage, what ways are you giving life and sustaining life as an ezer? Dr. Amy Davis Abdallah is a Professor of Theology and Bible at Nyack College Alliance Theological Seminary. She preaches and teaches internationally and is the author of The Book of Womanhood. Find her at amyfdavisabdallah.com or Twitter @amyfdavisa.
March 18, 2021
The Notorious DOZ
What can we learn about being Ezers from 5 sisters born in a time where women were seen as property rather than having the right to own property? This month, Bruce Feffer leads us into the story of the DOZ (Daughters of Zelophehad): a fatherless group of 5 sisters who notoriously fought for their land. He unpacks how three different types of community became the salvation of these sisters, arming them with faith to confront a legal system that favors men and bringing about new societal laws that include women. In what ways is God inviting you into community during this time of social distancing and isolation? How are our current communities reflecting God's character to bring about a more just society? Bruce Feffer is a lawyer, practicing full time in the area of real estate and commercial transactions. He is a Jewish Christian, and recently served as interim English Congregation Pastor at New York Christian Mission Church in New York City.
February 16, 2021
When the World was a Garden
'Ezer' was ascribed to the first woman of the earth by God. In doing so he doesn't limit her to only have babies and be a proud supporter of her husband on the sidelines. God himself has been referred to ‘ezer’ numerous times throughout Scripture. Erika Dayle Siu takes us back to the time when the world was a garden and uncovers how both male and female were given the same foundational calling to cultivate, protect, preserve and care for our earth. This is the backdrop where the role of ‘ezer’ takes center stage revealing the multi-dimensional relationship God has with his beloved people. How can you be a cultivator and preserver of life for generations to come? How are you 'encouraging life' as you live alongside others? Erika was instrumental in helping found WOW! and lives with her husband Simon and 2 children in Chicago, Illinois. She is the Deputy Director of Think Tanks project at the Institute for Health Research and Policy.
January 21, 2021
Empathetic Beyond Embarrassment
Elizabeth endured years of shame and embarrassment because she was labeled barren in a society that counted children as rewards for righteousness. Despite this, Amy Fortunato shows us how Elizabeth received Gabriel’s message with faith, while Zechariah was dumbfounded. Before a miracle even grew in her womb, it was Elizabeth’s hardships and hopes that developed and deepened her empathetic and emphatic faith, far outweighing her embarrassment. This prepared her to be a chosen companion to Mary, offering her acceptance, encouragement and safety when she was facing danger and uncertainty. What role has God called you to carry that requires a faith that is empathetic and emphatic beyond embarrassment especially in today’s pandemic, political and social ills? Amy Fortunato is a high energy grandmother, former WOW! board secretary, and is a pastor at the NY Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Port Washington, LI.
December 16, 2020
Shining From the Inside Out: Leadership Lessons from Ruth
Ruth is one of only two women with a book in the Bible named after her and one of only four women who have the distinction of being named in Jesus’ genealogy. Author and speaker, Nancy Gavilanes helps us glean from Ruth's life, exploring the defining decisions she made throughout that shaped her character. Her decisions to receive and serve the God of Israel, work diligently, and remain teachable remind us that our decisions impact future generations. Even with an unknown future, what is the 'next right thing' God is calling you to at this time? Nancy has a heart for encouraging people as they walk by faith and live their God-given dreams. Find her books and more at AboundingFaith.com
November 19, 2020
Resourceful: Tapping into His Provision
Jesus Feeding the Five Thousand (Mark 6:33-44) is both miraculous and mysterious. It's not difficult for us to see the multitude of needs around us, but Pastor Cathy Bruce encourages us to go beyond the linear and limited solutions we often come to ourselves to meet these needs. Instead, we are invited to heed Jesus' words to 'Go look!' in verse 38. God can make what we think is 'nothing' into 'something'. This principle of tapping into His provision is not only life-changing but world-changing. What might be the simple and small offering we can bring to Jesus and trust Him to multiply today? Cathy is the lead pastor and planter of Hope NoMad Church in NYC. Connect with her at email@example.com
October 19, 2020
Huldah: Integrity & Speaking Truth to Power
A contemporary of Jeremiah, Zephaniah and Habakkuk, Huldah was a prophetess, scribe, teacher, intellectual, and wife powerfully used by God to change a nation. What is it that sets Huldah apart from her well-known contemporaries? Huldah's integrity was the bridge that took her from prophesying at the city gate to prophesying to the king! Rev. Annette Cutino highlights some modern day images of fearless women, but reminds us that God has called us to lead and speak into the leadership of leaders all throughout Scripture. Huldah’s life affirms we are called and able to speak truth to power in such a way that leads to repentance and lasting change in the spheres of influence He has placed us. Where are you intentionally confronting the truth? What is the personal cost to you? Annette loves preaching and teaching the Bible and facilitating workshops. She has served on the WOW! Board and is currently the Director of Advance at Lead NYC, the NYC arm of Movement.org and is Associate Pastor at Harvest Fields Community Church. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 25, 2020
Shiphrah & Puah: Midwives of Justice
Shiphrah and Puah are the first two women named in the very beginning of Exodus, yet their significant role as deliverers in this Book of Deliverance is often overlooked. It was their act of resistance parallel with their commitment to bring forth life even amidst pain, slavery and hardship that paved the way for future deliverance. Pastor Drea Hairston expounds how the personal clarity in which they understood their roles as midwives in relation to the power structure of their day and the ensuing wisdom of their ways ensured that truth would not be veiled with deception and confusion. This would set the stage for many more necessary acts of resistance before the Israelites were delivered out of oppression. How are you called to 'fear God' and work toward justice in the very role and proximity to power you have in this season? Drea is a mother of four young children and co-pastor of Church! of Park Slope alongside her husband. You can contact Drea at email@example.com
July 30, 2020
Visionary for Transformation
The parables of the mustard seed and the leaven (Matthew 13:31-33) are two of the shortest Jesus tells in Scripture. Rev. Ajung Sojwal explores how these two illustrations are used by Jesus to depict the kingdom of heaven, inviting us to pay attention to the visionary work that can actually transform ourselves and our communities. How do these two parables invite us to engage spiritually and lead differently in our current climate of pandemic and racial injustice? Rev. Ajung is passionate about discovering and proclaiming God's kingdom on Earth, especially in seeking to understand what radical hospitality means for the Church today. She is Rector of St. George's Episcopal Church in Hempstead, NY and a former WOW! board member.
July 15, 2020
The Woman with the Issue of Blood: Perfect Image of Creativity and Faith
The story of the woman with the issue of blood is often told to inspire perseverance and hope for healing. Pastor Helen Cummings-Henry challenged us to contend with fear by creatively exercising our faith in her preaching about the Woman with the Issue of Blood (Mark 5:25-34). She highlighted the creative approach coupled with great faith this unnamed woman demonstrated in order to experience healing from Christ. Where do you sense God inviting you to creatively respond for your needs and healing? Pastor Helen has a passion for helping and empowering hurting people. She is the author of two books and co-founder of A&H Ministries. You can connect with Helen through her website www.helench.org
July 15, 2020
Esther: A Woman's Obedience Liberated and Preserved Generations
Queen Esther is known for her beauty and courage, but what leadership qualities allowed her to be used by God 'for such a time as this'? Minister Favour Ikome highlights how honor and obedience were the driving force behind her ability to earn the favor of the king. As we revisit the story of Esther's life, what area of our own life might God be calling us to trust and obey in? Favour's passion is to motivate and inspire people to know their identity, fulfill their life's purpose, and make a legacy-worthy impact on the world. She is the founder of Raising a Generation of Esthers Foundation and can be contacted in her various giftings and ministries at www.favourikome.com
July 15, 2020
Collaboration: A Partnership Between 2 Women and a Man
The difference in faith exhibited by Deborah as a judge, prophet and commander-in-chief compared to Barak's as a general of Israel's armies can cause tension between men and women in leadership. Listen as Rev. Dr. Grace May unpacks how God orchestrates the collaboration of Deborah, Barak and Jael to show God as Deliverer. How does this affect your understanding of leadership? Where would you like to see more collaborative leadership between men and women in today's society? Grace delights in showing how God has raised up women in the Bible to lead. She is the former Executive Director and one of the founders of WOW! Currently, she is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at William Carey International University (WCIU) and is launching an area of focus Global Women’s Empowerment and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 15, 2020
Tamar & Judah: Humility and Grace
Tamar is one of three women named in the genealogy of Jesus. Her role is often downplayed or even scandalized, yet the Bible records Judah saying, 'She is more righteous than I...' (Genesis 38:26). Pastor Jeff Truong challenges us to re-examine Tamar's actions through the lens of grace and humility; actions that created room for God's transformation of Judah and shifted the trajectory of his family for generations. Where might God be prompting you to give more grace in your life? Pastor Jeff is a WOW! board member and the director of connect groups at Every Nation NYC; his heart is about building intentional relationships and investing in other people's stories of God. You can connect with him at email@example.com
June 11, 2020
Priscilla & Aquila: Redemptive Power Couple
Priscilla & Aquila ministered alongside Paul in different cities, helping plant churches and make disciples: most notably, Apollos. WOW! board chair, Krystin Bruan, shows us how, together, they adapted to new environments and situations wherever the Holy Spirit led them. Drawn by the kingdom vision of unity and collaboration, they were able to spread the gospel powerfully, shaping first century Church growth. Have you ever considered how Priscilla and Aquila's partnership redeems the fractured relationship of Adam and Eve? Their marriage exemplifies how men and women can be equal partners in engaging with God's promise and mission. Krystin desires to see people thrive and experience the freedom of their God-given gifts. Along with her leadership at WOW!, she is currently doing this through her role at Generosity NY and her work with students at NYU. Connect with Krystin on Instagram @krystinbruan
June 11, 2020