Leadership, Pastors

Women in Ministry

My grandmother was a “layspeaker” in the United Methodist Church. That meant that when the pastor was away, she gave the sermon. She was also an incredible example to me of an authentic follower of Christ. She was a leader both men and women respected.

An uncle of mine who served as a pastor in a different church told her more than once, beginning in the 1970’s, that she should stop preaching sermons because women were not called by God to preach.

She told me that she struggled with this for years. Sometimes, she would feel guilty for preaching. Other times, she knew that God was working through her. Finally, she came to the place where she accepted the call and didn’t question it anymore, but it was a tough journey.

Supporting women in ministry does not make a person a flaming liberal or radical feminist. My grandmother is now deceased, but I have a wife, a mother, several aunts, a sister, female friends, and maybe a future daughter. I want them to have the same opportunities I have in life.

I also know that the Bible is full of stories of women preaching and leading.

Check out http://www.cbeinternational.org/, Christians for Biblical Equality. I’m proud that the seminary I attend, Ashland Theological Seminary, was the first seminary to join CBE.

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4 thoughts on “Women in Ministry

  1. Jay Hawes says:

    Ryan,

    I agree that there are stories in the Bible that relate women teaching and leading. I am also thankful for your grandmother’s obedience to share with others what God asked her to.

    In the church that I belong to (and agree with), women are allowed to serve in a leadership capacity but only under the ultimate direction of a man. For example, the head of our Children’s department is a female. In the end, however, she is responsible and reports to our senior pastor, a man. The senior pastor of our church is the only position which must be male; all others may be staffed by either sex.

    I personally do not feel that a woman should be the senior pastor of a congregation. I do not think that God has called upon women to lead as a shepherd for a body of believers. She may instruct or teach, but only under the authority of a man.

  2. territippins says:

    I would like to know where the position of *senior pastor* can be found in scripture?

    Ephesians 4:11 states, And He (Jesus) gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    Ephesians 4:12, For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ

    Being a pastor is not a *position* it is a gift to the church. People have wrongly turned being a pastor (to shepherd and tend a flock) into a position in which to wield power and exert authority over others (esp. women).

    I noticed that the comment by Jay admits that women can teach (which is also a gift found in Ephesians 4:11) but, that they may not pastor. Is there a passage that details for us which gifts are *blue* and which gifts are *pink*? Women can teach but they cannot pastor. Is being a prophet ok for women? Can she be an Evangelist?

  3. 1 Timothy 3 is not the only chapter in the Bible.

    The Bible contains many accounts of women who were leaders and preachers. Women like Deborah, Huldah, Esther, Ruth, Anna (the “prophetess” who spoke about the baby Jesus in Luke 2:36), Mary, Mary Magdalene, Lydia, Priscilla, Philip’s daughters who prophesied, Phoebe, and others. In Romans 16, it’s possible that Paul even refers to a woman named Junias as an apostle.

    Christians believe that God inspired the biblical authors, but God did not drop the Bible from heaven. The Bible arose within certain cultures, and human understanding also played a large role in its authorship. To deny this is foolish.

    Biblical authors wrote with differing vocabularies, differing worldviews, and even in different languages from each other. God did not grab their hands and move the pen, and God did not perform an info dump into their brains. Ancient Middle Eastern cultural attitudes about the role of women find their way into the Bible as well.

    What is amazing, however, is that so many women served in leadership in Jewish and Christian communities. If this could happen in the Ancient Middle East, 2010 America should not be debating this any more.

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