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June 9, 2008

Women in Ministry

I think the topic implies a lot more than I will probably say in this post because I don't think I'm all that great at writing on these kinds of topics. This has been such a huge issue for me lately. Over the past couple of years, my church had to work out the official stance they had for women serving in ministry. It came up when we started our efforts at creating an elder board which still hasn't actually happened...but it will very soon! Some might ask us how we feel about having women as lead pastors and we have the best answer ever - we don't believe in lead pastors.

Officially we are going to be led by a team of elders rather than depending on one person to encompass all these spiritual gifts and manage to utilize them among a body of believers without burning out and wanting to literally burn the church building down. Speaking of which we don't have a building either. It's pretty awesome sometimes and difficult too. This is supposed to be about women though.

I was raised to be fairly conservative on this topic. I don't believe the churches I grew up in would allow a woman to teach from the front on a Sunday morning. Perhaps on a Wednesday night but it would probably be very few and far between. The more I study scripture though, the more I see that there isn't really a reason women would not be gifted to teach on a Sunday morning. Why is it that the teaching done in that context is somehow more "spiritual" or something than when they would teach in a Sunday School setting or a home Bible study? Is God more present in a church during their corporate gathering? Somehow, it just doesn't seem to be that way. I've encountered God just as often and many times with more intensity when I am studying in a room of my peers rather than being taught from the front. This leads me to think I need to be more open to a women teaching.

I don't think women should serve in roles that include the shepherding and overall leadership of the congregation because I feel that role is given to men (elders) in scripture. That doesn't mean women can't serve faithfully alongside men and also have a major voice in helping make decisions, but the decisions ultimately fall to the men. I don't think women should have no voice whatsoever. This doesn't make me sexist, as I'm sure many people would think. Scripture makes it clear that women are equally gifted with men and there are many examples in scripture showing women having major influence and being used by God. It simply means that God made men and women as distinct and very different individuals and called us to specific roles. Sometime, maybe I'll try to expand on that. If you'd like to read the church's official stance, you can find it here Emmaus Road Community Church. The document is found on the right side of the main page.


Matt C said...

It's been a long and crazy ride to get here, hasn't it? Five years ago if you would have told me that future me (ha!) would believe in women teaching from up front as part of a regular teaching team (heck, if you would have told me future me would believe in the concept of a teaching team!) I would have either laughed my head off at you or told you you were going to hell.

Either way, it's pretty amazing where God takes us.