“I had to be very clear about my calling. It takes a lot of gumption and willingness to speak to others, plus persistence,” she says. “The way that I got to where I am as quickly as I did, of course, is God’s providence and timing.” Recalling one naysayer who argued that she would be forced to start her own church, Hagan muses, “Ironically, I became the pastor of the church he served as interim pastor.”
Meghan Good had barely shed her cap and gown in Durham last May when she sat down to talk about pastoring Albany Mennonite Church, in the Oregon town of the same name. “They wanted me to interview the day of graduation, but I pushed it back two days,” says Good, who then spent eight days in Albany and landed the job.
The daughter of a Mennonite pastor, Good now lives some 50 miles from her father’s first church. The family moved several times as her father changed pastorates. Still, Good saw no female role models in Mennonite ministry.
“I never actually met a female pastor until college, and never met one in the Mennonite church until seminary,” she explains. Yet, “even as a kid, going into the ministry kind of went through my head. I would have my siblings play church with me, and I was always the preacher.” Arriving at Duke Divinity, Good says she felt “a really strong calling to preach,” but she thought about doing it in a non-pastoral context. With a 4.0 GPA at Duke, she seemed headed for Ph.D. studies and an academic career.
As an undergraduate at Gordon College, Good had explored evangelicals’ positions on women in ministry. “I knew the arguments on both sides,” she says, “but I didn’t know what could tip you one way or the other.” At home on vacation during her first year of Duke, Good cried out to God, “If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have to know you want me to do this.”
Then she met the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7. Seeing how Jesus overturned the social order for this woman opened up the answer.
“It doesn’t matter what the order was supposed to be,” says Good. “This is the Jesus who hears the voice of the people who want to encounter him. I felt a sudden release, ‘Yes! This is who I follow, and this is what he does.’”
In Africa, where Good later served a Duke Divinity summer internship, “seeing the raw human need, and the hunger for God,” helped her answer for herself, “Where does God need his people?”
Did God need her most in an office, or on the ground introducing people to this radical Christ?
Her conclusion: “I’ve never seen theology convince anyone. The only thing I’ve ever seen change people’s mind is how theology is lived.”