Breaking Free from Gender Stereotypes within the Church

By Simi John

God's Brave Women - Simi's Story


Born and raised in India, I knew at any early age that women had a ceiling in what they do or accomplish.


Our potential and purpose were limited because of our gender. But I moved to Dallas, TX at the age of 7, and the progressive culture of America helped this little Indian girl to dream big dreams.


I grew up in a predominantly Indian church in Dallas, and I loved the local church. My family came to faith because this little church in the city prayed for us. My dad was set free from alcohol addiction because of the pastor of that small church, who came faithfully to our apartment to share the gospel.


I did everything at that church, from singing on the worship team, to writing plays, teaching Sunday school, organizing youth events and VBS, to outreach ministries in the community. I attended every meeting because I loved the Word of God. I was the dorky kid with the huge Bible and a binder full of notes. I opted out of school dances and parties because that would mean I would miss Saturday service. I think you get the idea.


Well at the age of 17, I told some of the elders and pastors I felt called to preach God’s Word. I loved the Bible, and I was starting to hear the Holy Spirit speak to me through Scripture, giving me wisdom and insight. I wanted to share the Word with others.


I was shocked when the response was an immediate, “No, you are a girl. You can’t speak from the stage.”


I was disappointed and frustrated. Over the next few years I gave up on the call to preach and was angry that God made me a girl, placed me in an Indian church and gave me a calling I could never live out. I was angry at my gender, at men, at my culture, at the Church and at God.


"I gave up on the call to preach and was angry that God made me a girl, placed me in an Indian church and gave me a calling I could never live out. I was angry at my gender, at men, at my culture, at the Church and at God."


I started my college career at Texas Women’s University where it was a requirement to take Women’s Studies as an elective. We would read about the role of women in history and write papers on whether we agree or disagree on how women were treated. One particular chapter was on women and religion, how specifically Christianity portrayed women as second-class citizens. I was overjoyed to write about this topic because this was my story.


As I began to write, the Holy Spirit convicted me that I couldn’t write about God’s heart on a matter simply based on my experience and not seek His word first. So, I began to research and read about women in the Bible. God began to show me how over and over in Scripture He chose, loved, used and empowered women to lead and be an example in the sight of all.


God used that moment to rip off a label and a lie that was placed on me, that my voice didn’t matter because I am a girl.


"God began to show me how over and over in Scripture He chose, loved, used and empowered women to lead and be an example in the sight of all. God used that moment to rip off a label and a lie that was placed on me, that my voice didn’t matter because I am a girl."


I began to dream big dreams again. God began to open opportunities for me to grow and use my gift to edify His Church and bring Him glory.


Over the years I have spoken at churches, women’s events, small community events and virtual conferences. Almost every single time, right before the event that old lie creeps up again, and I have to do battle and call in reinforcement from my prayer group.


I share this with you because often those narratives that were spoken over us can overwhelm us, but we don’t have to be overcome by them. We can stand in the Truth. We can fight from the Truth.


"Often those narratives that were spoken over us can overwhelm us, but we don’t have to be overcome by them.

We can stand in the Truth.

We can fight from the Truth."

And truth is this: God doesn’t disqualify women, He designed women. And everything God made is good, His words not mine. Everything He made is on purpose and for a purpose – to bring Him glory.


"God doesn’t disqualify women, He designed women. And everything God made is good, His words not mine. Everything He made is on purpose and for a purpose – to bring Him glory."


Culture changes, manmade rules and traditions can be amended, but the Word of God lasts forever. So, I remain in His Truth to teach me to be a brave woman who breaks chains and prays bold prayers.


Brave Woman Manifesto