I am an unapologetic supporter of women in ministry. Therefore, I sometimes get riled up when I read about events such as the above. I do not wish to throw rocks at a denomination or an instititution which has done so much good in our world. What I do want to do is to set out some ideas for us all to consider.
Let’s deal with some of the facts of women in the Scripture. Who were first to learn about the Resurrection? Who were the faithful ones taking care of Jesus? Who, throughout the rest of the NT, were intimately involved in building the early church? You guessed it, women. I could go on but will stop for now. In addition, many scholars agree, as do I, that Paul’s writings against women in leadership roles were context specific and not meant to be taken as LAW for the rest of time. The whole of Scripture speaks loudly FOR women’s ability to lead.
Looking anecdotally, in my experience, women have been more than capable in leadership roles within the church. They are more nurturing, on average, than men. They are insightful preachers who work hard at preparation and a narrative, relational style of preaching which strikes a chord for many parishioners. Net, net, I have found women to be highly capable and dynamic representatives of the gospel. I am proud to serve alongside many in Kentucky. I am proud to have been mentored and ministered to by many throughout my life.
So in my opinion…Is there room for women in the pastorate? Absolutely. Do we need women in the pastorate? No doubt about it. Do we need to be sensitive that this is a major paradigm shift for many, many people? YES.
As much as I would like this debate to be over and for women to be widely accepted and deployed throughout the church, I realize we still have a ways to go. In the meanwhile, articles such as these atleast provide grounds for discussion. It forces people to deal with the issue and hopefully seek God’s guidance. For that I am thankful.