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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Women in Ministry

I have debated about writing this post for a while now. I have gone back and forth and back and forth. I honestly worry too much about causing other people angst. However, since I am really working through my own beliefs as a Christian -- not simply by denomination-- I feel that I need to get this out. I am really hoping that this will be something that I get lots of responses and commentary on. BUT - let me start out by saying that I am requesting all comments be respectful and full of Christ's love for the body of believers even if your opinion isn't the same as someone else's.
As you know, my husband has been appointed to another church and therefore we will be moving and leaving this place we've called home for the past two years. It was also announced to our church the same day who was to be his replacement. It is to be a woman pastor.

Now, I know there are many, many people who don't believe in ordination of women and there are many, many who do. As I said above, I am working through my beliefs and why I believe what I believe. Therefore, I am interested in all of your opinions on the subject of women as pastors. And while I haven't definitively decided what I believe (still researching and praying) I do want to say that I think the Church (the whole body of believers) spends way too much time debating things like this. Time that could be devoted to the Great Commission of Christ to go and make disciples and how this can be accomplished throughout the world.

But, here is what I am really struggling with. I've heard lots of folks tell me "You know, so and so is leaving because they don't want a women minister....". Here is why it bugs me. I have to wonder if these people have actually searched their bible and researched this and prayed about their beliefs. Or are they leaving out of the tradition of "I've never had a woman pastor so, I'm not going to start now."? Or maybe it is because they've never questioned the things they've been taught at any level.
I don't think those are reasons to leave at all. I think saying that a woman has nothing from God to say and cannot lead a church without even giving it any thought or giving her any chance at all is wrong. Not only that but I think that it is very unloving.

So, I guess I'd just like to say to the folks who read this who attend our church, please don't leave without searching and praying and knowing -- truly KNOWING what YOU believe. And definitely don't do it without prayer. And don't go into this change with the attitude that you aren't going to get anything out of church anymore. Besides that - we come to church to worship God (but that is another rant for another day I suppose) not to "get something out of it".
Give this new pastor a chance -- you might be surprised how well God can use her to shepherd the sheep.

For those of you out in blogland -- I'd love your take on this subject. So, comment away.

NOW - since we move in a little less than 6 weeks -- I've got to get back to getting things packed and in order. Have a truly blessed Tuesday everyone!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dare say if Mother Theresa walked into a church to give a message from God many would leave...however you will always have a few that will disagree...even if Jesus himself came to talk to us...it happens everyday...Pray for these people that God would soften their hearts...
With LOVE!!!

Jaime said...

I think where I run into my own limitations with this issue is all the verses and scripture that encourage men to be leaders of the flock and for women to submit to their authority. I learn from women everyday, they lead me and teach me - so I respect them as leaders and teachers. However, I don't know whether I believe it is biblical to have women in leadership roles in the Church. It's something I have always wanted to pray and study more ... I'd love your perspective on it and supporting scriptures. Good luck and I will pray for God to grant you discernment and wisdom in your search.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Whew...you know how to pose a question don't you?

I'm not into debating the issue. All I will say is this...

Who ordains one to the pulpit? God or man? Pulpits surround our lives everyday. Let us walk carefully in regard to the sacred calling that God has placed upon us all as NT believers to be his light and life...his reconcilers unto Himself in a world that desperately needs to know that their Redeemer has come to earth to save us all. Men and women and children.

Whatever mouthpiece he chooses to use is fine with me. How I pray it is mine!

peace~elaine

Anonymous said...

Did God not use Balaam's donkey for His glory? We must not be quick to put limitations on God.

Cheryl said...

Wow...you sure know how to open a can of worms don't you?! kidding!
The UM church in our small town also has a woman pastor. She was already at the church when we moved here so I don't know what it was like when she came. (She is the 1st woman pastor that this church has had.) My guess would be that it caused some trouble being that we're in a small town.
My personal beliefs after researching the scriptures are that women can be preachers, teachers, etc. but that biblically the role of pastor is reserved for a man.
Hope all goes well with the move.

Charne Trollip said...

I really have no problem with woman pastors, i believe that if God has called them into ministry then they will have a message for us and God will use them to change lifes...

Lacy said...

I agree with you...still researching it and praying, but very open to it! Anne Graham Lotz has a great book where she talks about this a lot as she stepped into ministry. She even shares about her dad Billy G. learning to embrace it.

The Preacher's Wife said...

I agree with Cheryl.

I personally believe in matters like these we should err on the side of caution. There are so many wonderful ministries that are clearly designed for women so why seek out the one that scripture seems to teach against?

I feel called and ADORE teaching God's word and shepherding women but that doesn't make me a pastor.

However, like you said, there are denominations who support this. I choose to love my sisters in Christ based on our commonalities instead of our differences. I know a couple of women pastors and they are wonderful people. As for the church members, if I felt that strongly that a woman shouldn't be in pulpit ministry, I don't think I would belong to a denomination that affirmed it. Do I love the people? Absolutely. Do I intimately bond with a group with which I do not share beliefs? I don't think so. And no, I'm not counseling people to leave your denomination - you just asked for opinion! :) I'm just talking in generalities.

But that's an individual matter and surely one that can't be answered in my rambling blog comment! :))

Kim said...

This is a biggie...in my opinion. I think churches need to stand firm on what the bible teaches about the roles of men and women in the church--that is how God wants it to operate and that is how to operates best. Scripture states that women would not usurp authority over men, neither should women be allowed to teach men. So, that disqualifies women from being elders, pastors, even teachers when men are in the class.

Women can teach children, youth girls, and other women...so there are still great areas to use giftedness in the church. In our church the women lead the women's bible studies and lead the girls small groups in the youth.

We would have a problem with a church or a denomination allowing something in contrary to scripture...not because of our allegiance to any man made tradition, but to the tradition of obeying God's Word. I don't know the motivation for any who might be leaving your church...but Biblical reasons are valid.

This is not a cultural issue--the Bible is very clear.

Not trying to sound harsh...but it is a liberal mind set going on in churches everywhere that stray from God's best way to do things and the church suffers.

I would be concerned.

Again, there are many things that women do and do well...their role is very important, I am not diminishing that--it just needs to be done God's way.