Seeking Thoughts from Christian Moms on the Role of Women in Church Leadership

Updated on August 30, 2008
G.W. asks from Opelika, AL
40 answers

Hi Ladies,
On behalf of my husband, I am seeking the thoughts of the Christian women who are regular church attenders in Mamasource world :-) My husband is a deacon in our Southern Baptist church and also the chairman of the personnel committee. He and the other three members of the committee (another man and two women) are in the process of trying to find a Minister to Children to join the all male staff of our church (i.e. Pastor, Minister of Music, Minister of Youth and Associate Pastor who takes care of the financial suff). Anyway, after going through many resumes and praying and discussing candidates, the majority of the committee along with our senior pastor has decided that a woman from FL who is almost done with her Ph.D and has excellent skills and talents would be perfect for our open position. Yesterday, at the monthly deacon meeting, the subject was discussed of whether a woman would be accepted in a leadership role such as this in our church. It became a very heated topic with some of the men being alright with it and others saying that it was /is absolutely not in God's plan for women to lead that way in the church. I know that even Beth Moore has stated that she doesn't believe God calls women to teach men and that is why she aims her ministery at women. so, my question is, do you think it is biblical (and please keep that in mind when answering)for women to be in "upper" church leadership? I know very well that the world accepts women as leaders but we all know that the church is different than the world. If you can, please scripturally back up your opinion so I can share it with my husband. I know that God is testing him to see if he will be faithful to this process but I tell you it is breaking my heart to see what this is doing to him. He feel very discouraged, he thought God had led this woman to the committee and now he doesn't know. BTW, if the committee presented her to the church, there would be a church vote on whether to bring her on staff, that's why this is so vital. If this is something that could bring conflict to our church then it may have to be reconsidered. Thanks for your thoughts.

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So What Happened?

Thank you again ladies for all your heartfelt and honest responses. I'm not sure how many of you will make it back here to read this final revised update but I'll go ahead and leave it anyway. Our senior pastor put in a call to the SBC to try and seek their official stand on women in this type of ministerial role. I guess based on what she would be doing, they are completely supportive of her hiring. Needless to say this is a great load off my husband's shoulders. Our pastor is going to try to meet with those that specifically disagreed at the original meeting to see if he can peacefully convince them that God will not be upset for this hiring. Thanks again, you provided a lot of wisdom and insight on this topic.

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C.F.

answers from Dallas on

I read some of these responses and it really makes me question my Christianity and my beliefs. See I was an atheist and became a Christian because many things rang true to me and I had this intuitive feeling that this was truth (God called me). That being said sometimes I hear scripture, or hear things out of context, and they ring incredibly un-true to me. I especially believe this pertaining to women's perceived place. Many over used scriptures have been perverted to "put women in their place". I know God would not make women so dynamic and capable if he had no intention of them using their skills to their utmost potential. There are many great women leaders in the world. When I read this I remember why I never liked Christians before I became one. The truth is if I really listen to many "Christans" I probably still don't like or agree with many things they say. It is sad that I feel so conflicted about what I believe and what I am suppose to believe. It seems to me that we have lost so much of the entire point sometimes focusing on trying to follow all the rules. The rules aren't necessarily biblical they are just what society and the masses have decided to use from the bible. Lets face it there are many things mentioned in the bible we no longer follow because it is not tradition or socially acceptable. We follow the rules that others think are important, but some of them just are not true and have been misused and abused. I hear people at marriage/family seminars and conferences preach about wive being submissive and a woman's place and many things that just seem like a perversion to me from the truth. God made my husband and myself very smart and capable of making decisions and we do not hold authority over one another. We are partners. I actually heard someone say once in a class that his marriage was a dictatorship and my husband gave me the craziest "what in the heck" look and I just thought that must be an awful marriage. My husband couldn't believe he said that (and several other things)-needless to say we got ZIP from the class. People like to emphasize the depowering scriptures and leave out the empowering ones. One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 31 (which I am sure I could over emphasize and pervert). She is a very strong and empowered woman especially considering the time period in which it was written. What are we teaching our daughters if we don't teach them to be leaders? How can they change the world if they believe they are less than their true God given potential. I believe God created some natural born leaders and some of them are Women. Sometimes all the lack of compassion among Christans makes me want to stop being around them. Using the bible to hate (gays), to judge others, to be violent(abortion clinics), to prevent research that could save millions of live (stem cells), and to oppress women. Shouldn't we all be serving our community, fostering orphans, helping the sick, reaching out to the single parents, feeding the hungry, and teaching the gospel. We need more leaders to get these things done and who cares who they are! We have a major deficit of well trained leaders taking on causes Jesus would probably find very important. Why are we worrying about these little technicalities? Don't we have much bigger problems than the gender of who's in charge? Such as not having enough people taking charge? There are very effective women pastors bringing people to Jesus everyday and changing the world! I know in my heart God is only over-joyed and excited about them. Do you really think God is up there saying "well the message of salvation for Joe was taught by Chrystal and therefore is not valid" or a sin on Chrystals part? This was so disappointing to read many of these responses and it is why I am afraid to tell people I am Christan. I will tell people I believe in Jesus and that he saved us, but to say I am a Christian is to be associated with a set of beliefs that I don't always totally believe. It isn't that I don't believe the bible to be true, but I do believe it is often distorted and abused to press non-biblical or un-Godly beliefs or ideals. Of course a woman who is fully qualified should be given the opportunity to minister. God has already told you she is the one. So where is the road block really? If God has given an answer when they prayed about it and discussed it then aren't you breaking God's will if you don't follow? Maybe I misunderstood what you wrote, but from what I read it sounded like God had already imparted that it was His will she be the one selected. If you can't follow God's will (popular or not) then you really can't lead can you?

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M.H.

answers from Dallas on

These articles may help:

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT...

WOMEN IN MINISTRY?

By Betty Miller

Do women have a place in ministry? If so, to what extent? Is there scriptural basis for a woman to be in any position of authority in the church? What does the Bible really say about this issue? To understand God's intentions, we must go back to the very beginning of creation to see His original purpose for both man and woman.

MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:27).

"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created" (Genesis 5:2).

It is interesting to note that God called both male and female, "Adam" in the day they were created. Adam means "man." Adam and Eve were created with God-ordained differences from each other, but together they made a full "man," or a complete picture of God Himself. There was perfection in their union. Their differences were not a source of discord or inequality, but a beautiful compliment to each other. Together, God gave them the task of overseeing and ruling His creation

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:28).

Notice that God gave the above commission to them both. There is no hint that there was anything but equal authority between man and woman as they existed in a sinless state. What changed things? In the next few chapters of Genesis, we find that sin entered the heart of Adam and Eve. The result was a temporary curse placed upon both man and woman, which would affect the whole earth.

Genesis 3:14-19: "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

This curse has affected all aspects of creation, from the ground itself (infested with weeds and thorns) to human relationships. (I say temporary, because in Christ this curse is removed, as we shall see later on).

When Eve ate the forbidden fruit and enticed Adam to sin with her, one of the consequences for women was the loss of equality with men, as men were to rule over women, instead of men and women ruling together. She would now be "ruled by her husband." However, when Jesus came as sinless Man and died as the Messiah on the cross for us, all things were restored positionally. In actuality, the restoration of man (men and women) began to take place at that very moment.

Though the complete cleansing of the curse has not yet been manifested on the earth, the day is coming when it will be so. Or to put it another way, all those who receive Jesus as Savior receive restoration as Sons of God, but not all of us walk in that restoration--yet. Through Jesus, the curse upon women has been lifted. Women no longer have to receive pain in childbirth nor are they inferior to man with him ruling over them. Women can now be restored to their original place and plan that God had for all His "sons." Although we do not see all things restored at this time, "legally" in the spiritual realm, they already have been.

Adam was the head of the first race of mankind; and Jesus is the head of the last race, the adopted children of God. God only sees two races--the Adamic race (all natural-born mankind) and His children through Jesus (all those born of the spirit).

"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Corinthians 15:21-22).

Once we are born into the kingdom of God, we become new creatures in Christ. In the Spirit, we find there is "neither male nor female," just as there are no race distinctions nor class separations. The Lord looks on the hearts of His new creatures and therefore does not discriminate when He offers His love and privileges. Women are not excluded from any of God's promises nor callings merely because of their sex.

Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

GOD'S MASCULINE AND FEMININE TRAITS

As we stated above, the command to have dominion over and subdue the earth was given to both Adam and Eve. They were both to rule and reign over the Lord's creation. The very act of subduing something requires authority, aggressiveness and leadership, as well as humility, tenderness, patience, and the ability to respect the intrinsic value of what we are ruling. Most of all, it requires love.

Within God's own nature we find these same qualities. Both men and women are to become like Him as we are conformed to His image. Since this is true, there are times that under the unction of the Holy Spirit a woman should assert herself boldly. (This assertion, however, should not necessarily be toward others, but rather toward the enemy, Satan!) For men and women to become overcomers they must have this boldness and authority over the devil. God still desires that His people rule and reign with Him. His intention is to qualify us for that position, whether we be male or female. "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:6).

Even though "kings" is a masculine term, this is the ultimate destination He desires for all of His people. The Lord often uses both male and female terms to refer to both sexes. Women are to live in the "hidden man of the heart" (1 Peter 3:4). Both men and women in the church are referred to as "the bride of Christ." God has both a masculine and feminine nature. The mother heart of Jesus was evident as he prayed over Jerusalem.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37).

Submission is considered to be a feminine trait. However, Jesus submitted to the cross under the direction of the Father. If we walk in the Spirit, we too will possess both the masculine aggressiveness and feminine submissiveness of God.

Both submissiveness and aggressiveness are God-given strengths. Yet, both can be perverted, so that we become submissive and aggressive in the wrong ways, with the wrong attitudes. Because these qualities are so misused and misunderstood by the world, they have become distasteful and despised. If aggression is frowned upon, submission is viewed in an even more negative light in western culture. We equate submission with weakness and lack of spirit. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was never a human being more submitted to God than Jesus Christ-- yet never was there one as completely resistant to the system of the world! It took extraordinary submissiveness and aggression for Jesus to overcome the world. For the Christian, whether we are male or female, He is our model. We are to possess His qualities and use them according to the needs around us.

WOMEN AS MINISTERS

How does all of this lead up to women ministers? Perhaps you are thinking that although we have laid a biblical foundation for "neither male nor female" in Christ, certain verses in the New Testament still seem to ban women from ministry positions in the church. Let's examine these verses for the true interpretation.

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (1 Corinthians 14:34).

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

In these verses, Paul cannot be addressing women who were in the ministry, but rather those in the congregation who were out of order. How do we know this? We have many such proofs, many from Paul himself. Here is a partial list of women who were all in influential positions of leadership in the early church.

Pheobe (Romans 16:1-2): This woman was a deaconess of the church in Cenchrea, who was beloved of Paul and many other Christians for the help she gave to them. She filled an important position of leadership. It would be a difficult stretch of the imagination to say that this woman fulfilled her duties without ever speaking in the church!

Priscilla (Acts 18:26): Priscilla and her husband Aquila are often mentioned with great respect by Paul. Together they were pastors of a church in Ephesus, and were responsible for teaching the full gospel to Apollos. We are informed that they both taught Apollos, and pastored the church together. In fact, Priscilla is sometimes listed ahead of Aquila when their names come up. This has led some to speculate that of the two, she was the primary teacher and her husband oversaw the ministry. At any rate, we see here a woman in a very prominent position of teaching and pastoring. (Other references to Priscilla and Aquila are Acts 18:2, 18; Romans 16:3, and I Corinthians 16:19).

Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3): Here we see reference to two women who were "true yokefellow" and who labored with Paul in the advancement of the gospel.

Junia (Romans 16:7): In this verse we see Paul sending greetings to Andronicus and Junia, his "fellow-prisoners" who are of note among the apostles. Junia is a woman's name. In some modern translations, an "s" has been added (Junias) because the translators were so sure a woman could not be an apostle, that they assumed a copyist has accidentally dropped the "s." However the proper male ending would have been "ius," not "ias." No church commentator earlier than the Middle Ages questioned that Junia was both a woman and an apostle.

Though there were other women throughout the Bible in positions of leadership, such as prophetesses, evangelists, judges, leaders, etc., the above references should be enough to establish that women were indeed a vital and normal part of church leadership. Paul expected women to speak in the church, or else why would he have given the following directive? It would have been useless to give directions for women who were speaking in the church, if they were never allowed to do so.

1 Corinthians 11:5, "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."

Furthermore, if Paul believed that all women should never teach or speak in church, why does he commend many women who did just that?

With all this in mind, what then do we make of the troubling verses that command women to be silent in the churches? First of all, we must interpret those verses in light of what we have just established--that there were women in leadership positions of the church. Obviously, Paul is not writing to them. He is must be addressing another issue entirely--the women who were loud and unruly during the service, causing disorder and confusion..

When he wrote the Corinthians, he was dealing with a church that was very disorderly in their services. Much of the letter was spent correcting excesses and abuses. Some of these pertained to women in particular and some were to the entire church. Paul is not being prejudiced against women when he instructs the Corinthian women to keep silence. In the early church the seating arrangement was quite different from our modern day churches. Men were seated on one side of the church while the women and children were seated on the opposite side. This is still practiced in many cultures today.

The women of Christ's day were generally uneducated and usually only the men were privileged with an education. Due to this situation, when the church met the women were tempted to shout across the room and ask their husbands the meaning of whatever was being taught. This disturbed the service. Paul was simply saying during the service, "Women, keep your children quiet and you be quiet, and if you have anything to ask your husbands, wait until you get home." Because of the new equality that Christianity brought to women, it could be that some of them were taking their freedom too far, to the point of being obnoxious.

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he gave him a similar directive. Again, it is important to understand the context in which the letter was written. In I Timothy, a careful reader becomes aware that many severe heresies and false teachings that were being dealt with. We can draw a conclusion here that many of the proponents and victims of the false teachings were women. Timothy pastored in Ephesus, and it has been suggested that goddess worship might have played a large part in Paul dealing so severely with the women. Ephesus was a primary center of the worship of Diana or Artemis. The heresies being taught might have suggested that women were authoritative over men and had higher access to spiritual knowledge than men did.

Regardless of the particulars, in both cases we can see that Paul is dealing with specific incidents in specific churches for very particular reasons.

We must understand that many of Paul's epistles dealt with local problems and his commandments are not meant to be taken as "commandments" across the board for all situations. Rather, we are to seek the Lord for the basic principal that needs to be incorporated in our churches. Because of Old Testament precedents that had already been set, apparently it never occurred to Paul to re-establish the case for women in ministry. Why would he need to? The early church took it as a matter of course that Jesus would call and ordain anyone He chose--and that settled it! As a matter of fact, the Bible mentions a prophetess who was in the Temple when Jesus was brought there as a baby. Her name was Anna (Luke 2:25-35), and she was one of two people who recognized Jesus as the Messiah because of her sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

Paul's writings are sometimes misunderstood today because we do not know all the details that led him to write as he did. We must rely on the Holy Spirit, and the rest of the testimony of Scripture to interpret how we are to apply these things to our everyday lives. Scripture should always be compared with other Scripture and the context taken into consideration. Even in Paul's day, there were those who tried to twist the meaning his words.

"...His (Paul's) letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do other Scriptures, to their own destruction" ( 2 Peter 3:16).

It is a fair conclusion that the testimony of the bulk of Scripture, church history and God's anointing upon them, all speak plainly for women being able to fulfill all positions of the five-fold offices of apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist and teacher.

MINISTERING TODAY

It has always been a strange doctrine that will allow women to go to foreign mission fields and teach heathen men, but will not allow the "heathen" men at home to be taught by the same women! It makes absolutely no sense to think that a female who is learned in the Scriptures cannot teach a male who is unlearned. Additionally, it is acceptable for many women to teach Sunday School to children, and for mothers to teach their sons. Where do we draw the line and say to the women that can no longer teach a male once they reach a certain age? This may seem like a ridiculous scenario, yet there are those in the church who teach along these lines.

Those that are dogmatic in excluding women from the ministries of God usually are not walking in the Spirit, as they see women after the flesh (viewing her sex), not after the Spirit (seeing her heart and calling). The Lord admonishes us in His Word that we are not to look at one another with regard to our sex, race, class or culture, but rather we are to see one another through spiritual eyes.

"Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:16-20).

God wants to use any person who will yield to His Spirit, regardless of that person's sex or capabilities. Those who are a new creature in Christ have His capabilities.

Our problem is that we must see there are rules for the fleshly, or earthly man, and there are rules for the spiritual man. Then, we must discern when to apply the appropriate Scripture. We are admonished in 2 Timothy 2:15 to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY

The Lord gave the church gifts of His choosing in the form of men and women who would lead the church into perfection (Ephesians 4:8-12).

It is the Lord who calls men and women to His ministry. He does not call special people, but the call goes out to "whosoever will." First, we are called to salvation; then as we walk in obedience to Him, He calls for us to be baptized in His Holy Spirit. As we continue to obey and follow Him, He then may choose us to serve Him in a full-time ministry. He chooses people for the ministry out of those who have walked in obedience to His other calls. He desires that all follow, but can only choose those who are obedient. These men and women who have answered the call are set in the ministry by Jesus Himself. Man's ordination does not qualify them, but the ordination of God does. Men will recognize those who are truly called by Him. They will even recognize women who are called of God as God empowers them with His anointing and power which cannot be denied.

God has used many modern day women in His service as well as women spoken of in the Bible. Madame Guyon, Catherine Booth, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Aimee Semple McPherson, Corrie Ten Boom and Kathryn Kuhlman are only a few of the women on the list of great five-fold ministry gifts to the church. What are those gifts and that ministry? "And His gifts were (varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us,) some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers'' (Ephesians 4:11, Amplified Bible.).

When this Scripture says, "appointed and gave men to us," it does not mean just the male sex. The same man whom God created in the beginning which included male and female is the one referred to here. These "men" are both male and female and they have a responsibility to bring others into the maturity that they possess.

Ephesians 4 continues, "His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ's body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God; that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood....the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection -- the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ, and the completeness found in Him'' (Ephesians 4:12-13, Amplified Bible.).

The Lord has lofty intentions for His men and women and desires that they come into perfection and maturity even as Christ walked in that perfection. The Lord sends those whom He chooses to bring about this maturing and perfecting. If we have been raised in a traditional church, the idea of coming into perfection may sound impossible--even heretical! However, it is clearly a Biblical precedent and until we understand it we will not be able to understand God's full intention for His body. The separation of laity and clergy is not God's plan for His people. All that are called to salvation are called to a full-time ministry in the Lord. This does not mean that all should leave their secular occupations, but all should devote their lives to the Lord and be as committed and active in witnessing, learning and growing in God as the leadership.

The leadership that God raises up is those men and women whom He trains for His work in the kingdom. Women have been limited in traditional churches to certain positions that men would give them, but the Lord is restoring His full five-fold ministry in these last days to prepare the body of Christ for His return.

FURTHER QUESTIONS

If Jesus wanted women to minister, how come all His disciples were men? This question is actually raised from a misunderstanding of the word "disciple." Jesus had many women disciples. These include, Mary and Martha (John 11:1-4, and many other references as well. Mary and Martha, along with their brother Lazarus were among Jesus' closest friends). In addition, Jesus had many other women followers as well.

Luke 8:1-3, "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."

For the sake of brevity, I will not include other lists of names of women who followed Him. However the Scripture makes it clear there were many of them.

In another incident, Jesus motions to the crowds that followed him and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Matthew 12:49-50).

In John 4:1-42, we see that it is a Samaritan woman who leads a large population of her community to Jesus.

Why didn't Jesus choose any women to be among His twelve original apostles? Jesus could not choose women to be among the twelve because it would not be wisdom for men and women to be travelling about together when many of them were single. Also, the twelve apostles fulfilled the "type and shadow" of the twelve patriarchs, so they had to be equal to men (Revelation 21:12, 14). However, this doesn't mean that he does not anoint women to fill an apostolic role today, as we already established in the case of Junia.

Jesus showed a great deal of respect for women--and children as well. In the culture of Jesus' day, these were often deemed "lower class" so to speak, and not worth paying serious attention to. However, Jesus repeatedly broke this unspoken rule. Because His actions were so unusual, those closest to Him were often surprised and annoyed.

WOMAN, THOU ART LOOSED!

We pray that this teaching will encourage many women, who might otherwise relegate themselves to the "back burner" to instead step forward into the full calling of God upon their lives. Likewise, we pray that men who have been taught against letting women minister will see the truth of the fullness of God's plan. No matter who we are in the Lord, we will be held responsible for how we treated others and how we either hindered or helped the cause of Christ on Earth. Those in leadership especially need to heed this warning with reverent fear. Just because we have believed something our whole life, or because our denomination or culture teaches us so, doesn't mean it is correct. If you have a problem with seeing women in the pulpit, or in any position of leadership, we pray that you will prayerfully seek the Lord with an open heart on this issue.

In conclusion, let us read the following promise from the prophet Joel. This prophesy was initially fulfilled at Pentecost, and as we draw closer to the End, we can expect to see it fulfilled in even greater measures.

Acts 2:17-21, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

______________________

Personal Note from Betty:

My own personal call to the ministry came as a surprise to me. I was not expecting the Lord to use me because I did not realize God used women in the ministry. At the time of my call I was in the medical profession. I had been filled with the Holy Spirit and because of the tremendous transformation in my own life, I was eager to share with others this beautiful blessing. I had known the Lord since the age of twelve. However, I had not known Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. After my baptism in the Holy Spirit, I found I had a new holy boldness that I had not had before. I found myself witnessing and sharing with all who would listen. I wanted them to know of my new joy, love, peace and faith. I did not intend to pursue the path of becoming a female preacher. (I really did not know such existed). I just found myself sharing and preaching. Actually all of us who know Christ should be "preachers." Preaching is simply sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. The clergy should not be the ones who do all the preaching! This is the responsibility of every member of the body of Christ.

When the Lord spoke to me about His plan for my life, I immediately thought of many objections. My first was that I was a woman, so how could He use me? I told Him I didn't have the kind of tremendous testimony that would cause people to listen to me. He said, "Betty, it is not your testimony that will cause people to listen, but it will be My Spirit and My anointing." He then ministered to me in a beautiful way to show me in His Word that it was Scriptural for women to minister. Most of these truths are in this teaching. Our confusion over women ministering comes by misunderstanding the full counsel of God's Word. The verse with which this chapter begins is one of the first He revealed to me, "...there is neither male nor female..." in the Spirit. In heaven there will be no sex; so if we are walking in the Spirit now, we will not be conscious of sex, but only of the Spirit of God.

"For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22:30).

My husband and I have been privileged to serve the Lord together as evangelists, pastors, teachers and now pioneering this new work on the Internet. It's rewarding to allow the Holy Spirit to minister through us as He sees fit. We only want to be those vessels who stand ready for the Master's use. The Lord uses Bud to relate to many that I could not reach, and He uses me to minister to others that he could not reach. Together we are able to accomplish much more for the Lord than we would if we were ministering by ourselves. We are grateful that the Lord called us into His service together.

God bless you! Betty

Excerpt from the book and workbook Neither Male Nor Female by Betty Miller. To purchase books click here: http://store.bible.com/

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WOMEN THROUGHOUT HISTORY SERVED AS LEADERS

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOME WOMEN IN MINISTRY

by Richard M. Riss

The involvement of women in public ministry is as old as the gospel. Historian Richard Riss pays tribute to women whose amazing ministries have transformed lives throughout church history.

LEADERS IN THE EARLY CHURCH

Women have always been active in public ministry. On the pages of the New Testament we find mention of many who filled positions of leadership in the first century church. Acts 2:19 mentions the four virgin daughters of Philip the evangelist as prophetesses who lived in his home at Caesarea, where Paul and his associates visited during his third missionary journey. Priscilla, or Prisca, and her husband Aquilla, were known as fellow-laborers in Christ with the apostle Paul. Their expertise as teachers enabled them to explain the way of God more accurately to Apollos of Alexandria, another important leader of the early church (Acts 18:25-26).

Another associate of Paul's, Lydia, a seller of purple dye, opened her home for ministry (Acts 16:40), as did many other Christian women in the Roman empire, including the "elect lady" to whom John addressed his second epistle. Close examination of 2 John would suggest that she was functioning in a pastoral capacity, as would also have been the case for Lydia (Acts 16:40)(Acts 16:40), Nympha (Colossians 4:15), and Chloe (I Corinthians 1:11). Phoebe was a leader of the Church at Cenchrea. In Romans 16:1,2, Paul commanded the members of the church at Rome to receive her as such, and to help her in whatever manner she requested. Paul also mentions that Andronicus and Junia were outstanding among the apostles (Romans 16:7), and there is little doubt that Junia was a feminine name. Both John Chrysostom and Jerome made reference to her as a woman apostle, and no commentator referred to her as a man until the late thirteenth century.

MARTYRS FOR THEIR FAITH

As Christianity spread, women along with their male contemporaries, lived their faith "even unto death," and through heroic deeds of love, helped build the foundations of God's Kingdom in their countries. In the early fourth century, Catherine of Alexandria defended the faith at Alexandria before philosophers and courtiers, before she was tortured to death by Maxentius, the son of the Roman Emperor, Maximian. At about the same time, Dorothy of Caesarea in Cappadocia was martyred (A.D. 313). As she was being led to her execution, Theophilus, a lawyer, taunted her, asking her for a basket of flowers and fruit. Soon afterward, a child came to her with a basket laden with roses and apples. She sent this to Theophilus, who as a result of this incident became a Christian and later gave his own life as a martyr.

FAITH CHAMPIONS

Macrina the Younger (A.D.328-380) was founder of a religious community for women in the eastern church. With her brothers, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, she was a pioneer in the monastic life. She healed, prophesied, and actively spread the faith. John Chrysostom wrote of her that "she was a great organizer, and independent thinker, and as well educated as Basil himself." After the death of her mother, she reared and educated her younger brother Peter, who became Bishop of Sebaste.

Marcella (325-410) was an important teacher in the early church who was highly esteemed by Jerome. She was in the front lines in interacting with heretics and bringing them to a better understanding of Christian truth. Her palace on the Aventine Hill became a center of Christian influence. At one point, when a dispute arose in Rome concerning the meaning of the Scriptures, Jerome asked Marcella to settle it. Her Church of the Household was not only a house of study and prayer, but a center for deeds of Christian charity and sacrifice. It was here that another woman, Fabiola, received inspiration to establish the first hospitals in Rome. Marcella later established on the outskirts of Rome the first religious retreat for women.

It was also at Marcella's Church of the Household that Paula (347-404) and her daughter, Eustochium, first made their decision to assist Jerome in his Latin translation of the Bible. They went to Bethlehem in order to aid him in this work, revising and correcting his translations and making new Latin translations from the Hebrew and Greek texts. In turn, Jerome dedicated some of his books to them. Paula founded three convents and a monastery in Bethlehem, where Biblical manuscripts were copied. This became a model for what soon became the universal practice at monasteries for many centuries.

Genevieve (422-500) lived in Paris when Attila and his Huns invaded France in 451. She assured the inhabitants of Paris that God would protect them if they would pray. While the men prepared for battle, she persuaded the women to pray for hours in the church. Then, after Attila destroyed Orleans, he decided not to touch Paris. At a later time, she was said to have averted a famine in Paris and the surrounding cities by distributing miraculous gifts of bread.

Bridget, also known as Bride (455-523), inspired the convent system that made an indelible impact upon life in Ireland. After settling in Kildare, she built for herself and her female friends a house for refuge and devotion. As other houses were founded through her missionary efforts, she became known as the "mother abbess" of all of Ireland.

Theodora I (500-548), wife of the emperor Justinian, was an important and influential Christian. A woman of outstanding intellect and learning, she was a moral reformer. Justinian, as Christian Emperor, was, for all practical purposes, head of the Church of his generation, and his wife, as Empress, shared his power to select church leaders. The inscription "Theodora Episcopa" or "Theodora, Bishop (fem.)" in a mosaic at the Basilica of Sts. Prudentia and Praexedis in Rome, may have been a reference to the Empress.

Hilda (614-680) was appointed by Aidan as abbess of the convent at Hartlepool in County Durham in 649. Ten years later, she founded a double monastery for men and women at Whitby in Yorkshire, which became world famous as a school of theology and literature. Five of her disciples became bishops and a sixth, Caedmon, became the earliest known English poet.

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a German abbess, and writer known throughout all of Europe. Skilled in subjects as diverse as theology, medicine and politics, she did not hesitate to rebuke the sins of the greatest men of her time in both Church and state. She exerted a wide influence among many people, including the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and various kings, prelates, and saints. Many miracles were attributed to her during her lifetime.

Clare (1193-1253) was co-founder, with Francis of Assisi, of the Poor Clares, a mendicant order which spread rapidly through Italy and into France, Germany, and Spain. In 1249, when she was lame, her convent was attacked by a group of Saracens. She told the sisters to carry her to the door of the monastery, then addressed the Saracens and prayed aloud that God would "deliver the defenseless children whom I have nourished with Thy love." She heard a voice answer "I will always have them in my keeping," and turning to the sisters, she said, "Fear not." At this moment, the Saracens scrambled down the walls of the cloister, recoiling from her valiant words. Clare's care for the poor was a tremendous inspiration to Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231), a princess who, in the last years of her short life, led a life of rigorous self-sacrifice and service to the poor and sick.

Some other significant women of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries included Hechthild of Magdeburg, Gertrude the Great, Angela of Foligno, Bridget of Sweden, Catherine of Sienna, Catherine of Sweden, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, Joan of Arc, Catherine of Genoa, Isabella of Castile, and Maragaret Beaufort.

GREAT REFORMERS

During the Reformation, a member of the Bavarian nobility, Argula von Grumback (1492-1563), challenged the Rector and all of the faculty of the University of Ingolstadt to a debate in which she would defend the principles of the Protestant Reformation. She offered to base this debate upon a translation of the Bible published prior to the outbreak of the Reformation. She was permitted to present her position in 1523 in Nuremberg before the heads of the Empire. Martin Luther wrote of her, "that most noble woman, Argula von Stauffer, is there making a valiant fight with great spirit, boldness of speech and knowledge of Christ." Her extensive education and fine critical abilities enabled her to become a force to be reckoned with. She conducted church meetings in her home and officiated at funerals.

Two other important leaders of the Protestant Reformation were Margaret of Navarre (1492-1549) and her daughter, Jeanne d'Albret (1528-1572), the grandmother and mother of King Henry IV of France, who issued the Edict of Nantes, granting religious toleration to the French Protestants for almost a century. Jeanne d'Albret held services of the new Reformed faith in her palace apartment. A friend of John Calvin, she also used her palace as an institute for Reformation study.

LEADERS IN DENOMINATIONAL MOVEMENTS

During the Puritan era, Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643), became influential in Boston, and opened her home to large classes of women. It is estimated that as many as eighty overflowed to the doorsteps of her house, at a time when Boston had a population of roughly 1,000 people. These meetings grew rapidly, and soon men, also, began to attend. Among her loyal followers was Henry Vane, who served for a short time as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Within two years of her arrival from England, she had the strongest following of any leader in the entire colony. Her large following, coupled with her strong exegetical and homiletical skills, deep Christian commitment and insightful understanding of spiritual truths, may have incurred the jealousy of several New England ministers, who became uncomfortable enough with her successes that she was accused of heresy and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638.

Margaret Fell (1614-1702), the mother of Quakerism, was an English peeress and wife of Judge Thomas Fell, member of the Long Parliament and Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster. Her home became a place of refuge and renewal for the persecuted Quakers for almost fifty years. She was arrested for holding Quaker meetings in her home, Swarthmoor Hall, and imprisoned for four years. After her release from prison, she visited Quakers in jails and traveled on horseback with her daughters and servants to remote farms and villages as an itinerant preacher. Many people sought wisdom and advice from her, including Thomas Salthouse, and, of course, George Fox, who married her a number of years after the death of her husband. Because she had his blessing in her preaching ministry, she wrote many tracts and letters on the subject of women in ministry.

Madame Guyon (1648-1717) was French woman who was imprisoned on several occasions for long periods of time because of her beliefs, but she was never known to complain about this. An author of forty books, including a twenty-volume commentary of the Bible, she had a wide following, particularly in France and Switzerland. Among those profoundly influenced by her ministry was Archbishop Francois Fenelon.

The founder of the first Methodist congregation in America was Barbara Heck (1734-1804).

In England, Lady Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791), founder of the Calvinistic Methodist denomination during the Evangelical Awakening, functioned as a bishop by virtue of her right as a peeress to appoint Anglican clergymen as household chaplains and assign their duties, and to purchase presentation rights to chapels, enabling her to decide who would conduct services and preach. Among the many chaplains whom she appointed and continued to finance for many decades was George Whitefield. In 1779, after sixty chapels were already functioning under her auspices, this practice was disallowed by a consistory court of London. Therefore, in order to continue to function, she was able, under the Toleration Act, to register her chapels as dissenting places of worship, known as "The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion."

Lady Selina frequently invited members of the aristocracy to her home to hear the preaching of the Wesleys, Whitefield, Isaac Watts, Philip Doddridge, Benjamin Ingham, John Fletcher, John Berridge, William Romaine, Henry Venn, and others. She founded Trevecca House on property adjoining the home of Howel Harris. A seminary for the training of ministers for all denominations, its first president was John Fletcher. Joseph Benson eventually became headmaster on John Wesley's recommendation. George Whitefield preached the inaugural sermon when it opened in 1768.

NOTABLE AMERICAN PREACHERS

In America, two important preachers during the first years of the Second Awakening (1800-1808) were Deborah Pierce of Paris, N.Y. and Martha Howell of Utica. Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874), "The Mother of the Holiness Movement" began her ministry in 1835 with her Tuesday Meetings for the Promotion of Holiness, which continued for 39 years in New York City, where she lived with her husband, who was a physician. Hundreds of Methodist preachers, including at least five bishops, were profoundly affected by her ministry. The success of Phoebe Palmer's informal meetings encouraged other women to conduct the same type of ministry, and dozens of them sprang up throughout North America. These meetings brought together Christians of many denominations under the leadership of women, particularly among Methodists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Baptists, and Quakers.

In 1858, Walter Palmer, Phoebe's husband, purchased the periodical GUIDE TO HOLINESS, which under her able editorship, grew in circulation from 13,000 to 30,000 subscribers. She traveled widely with her husband, conducting evangelistic meetings during the summer months. In the fall of 1857, she and her husband traveled to Hamilton, Ontario, where they attracted crowds of several thousand people when an afternoon prayer meeting became a ten-day revival meeting during which four hundred people were converted to Christ. They experienced similar successes in New York City and in England, where they preached for four years to packed houses at Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, and dozens of other places. It is estimated that within her lifetime, Phoebe Palmer brought over 25,000 people to faith in Christ.

Catherine Booth (1829-1890), with her husband, William Booth, founded the Christian Revival Association in 1865 and the Salvation Army in 1878. The Booths regarded the active participation of women to be vital to Christianity. Before 1865, when they were still Methodists, Catherine began preaching. Soon after her pulpit debut, her husband became ill, and his slow recovery paved the way for her own preaching ministry. For a time, he was so ill that she had to take over his entire preaching circuit. She eventually became one of the most famous female preachers of England, and her last sermon was delivered to an audience of 50,000 people.

Hannah Whitall Smith, author of THE CHRISTIAN'S SECRET OF A HAPPY LIFE (1875) catalyzed the development of the Holiness movement in Britain and throughout Europe. Her activities in England led to the Keswick Convention in 1874.

LEADERS OF THE PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT

Carrie Judd Montgomery was a healing evangelist of considerable prominence beginning in 1879, and became a founding member, along with A. B. Simpson, of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1887. She later became a part of the Pentecostal revival and was ordained a minister by the Assemblies of God in 1917, continuing in ministry until 1946.

Maria B. Woodworth-Etter was also involved in the Holiness movement before she rose to prominence as an early Pentecostal leader. In 1884, she was licensed to preach by the Churches of God general conference, founded by John Winebrenner in 1825. Within a few months of this time her meetings were already beginning to receive national press coverage, and in the late 1880s she started twelve churches, added 1,000 members, erected six church buildings, and started several Sunday Schools. Her work at this time resulted in the licensing of twelve preachers. The revivals that she held at this time were accompanied with unusual manifestations of God's power, many healings, and mass conversions. During the early Pentecostal movement, Woodworth-Etter was in continual demand, becoming a featured speaker at the Worldwide Pentecostal Camp Meeting at Arroyo Seco, California, in April 1913. She founded the Woodworth-Etter Tabernacle in western Indianapolis in 1918, which she pastored until her death in 1924.

Beginning in 1906 and 1907, Florence L. Crawford, Mabel Smith, Ivey Campbell, and Rachel A. Sizelove were some of the first women to spread the blessings of the early Pentecostal revival through their separate itinerant ministries. Florence Crawford planted and pastored several churches in the Pacific Northwest, founding and becoming general overseer of the Apostolic Faith Church based in Portland, Oregon, which later became part of the Open Bible Standard Denomination.

Other pioneers of the Pentecostal movement in the U.S. included Mrs. Scott Ladd, who opened a Pentecostal mission in Des Moines in 1907, the Duncan sisters, who had opened the Rochester Bible Training School at Elim Faith Home, "Mother" Barnes of St. Louis, Missouri, who, with her son-in-law, B. F. Lawrence, held tent meetings in southern Illinois in the spring of 1908, and Marie Burgess, who preached in Chicago, Toledo, Detroit, and New York City, where she founded Glad Tidings Hall, which soon became an important center for the spread of the Pentecostal revival. Another early Pentecostal pioneer in New York was Miss Maud Williams (Haycroft).

CANADIAN AND EUROPEAN PIONEERS OF PENTECOSTALISM

In Canada, some early pioneers of the Pentecostal movement included Ellen Hebden in Toronto, Ella M.Goff in Winnipeg, Alice B. Garrigus in Newfoundland, the Davis sisters in the Maritime provinces, Mrs. C. E. Baker in Montreal, and Zelma Argue throughout all of the Canadian provinces. Aimee Semple McPherson of Ingersoll, Ontario, began a preaching ministry in 1915 which began in Toronto and took her along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, and across the United States in 1918. She eventually founded Angelus Temple in 1923, where she continued as senior pastor until her death in 1944.

An outstanding authoress and minister at the turn of the century was Jesse Penn-Lewis who was directly involved with the revival in Wales. Evan Roberts, the chief evangelist of the Welsh revival joined Mrs. Lewis in penning some of her writings on the overcoming life. Mrs. Lewis had a wide public ministry. Perhaps the most popular book she wrote was WAR ON THE SAINTS, a book on spiritual warfare.

AN OUTSTANDING HEALING MINISTRY

Kathryn Kuhlman's ministry began in the summer of 1923. After her ordination by the Evangelical Church Alliance in Joliet, Illinois, she established the Denver Revival Tabernacle in 1935, which she pastored for three years. In the mid-1940s, she went to Franklin, Pennsylvania, where she began to thrive as a preacher and radio evangelist. Many people were healed with notable miracles at her meetings beginning in 1947, and she gained a reputation as one of the world's outstanding healing evangelists, carrying on as a leading figure during the charismatic movement until her death in 1976.

PASTORS OF THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT

A few of the women working as Pentecostal pastors during the charismatic movement of the 1960s and 1970s included Charlotte Baker, Myrtle D. Beall, Helen Beard, Aimee Cortese, Sue Curran, B. Maureen Gaglardi, Anne Giminez, Ione Glaeser, Hattie Hammond, Alpha A. Henson, Marilyn Hickey, Violet Kitely, Janet Kreis, Freda Lindsay, Fuchsia T. Pickett, Iverna Tompkins, and Rachel Titus. A sampling of a few of the other women who were vital during the time of the charismatic movement as speakers, authors, or evangelists, would include Eleanor and Roberta Armstrong, Rita Bennett, Edith Blumhofer, Hazel Bonawitz, Roxanne Brant, Mary Ann Brown, Shirley Carpenter, Jean Darnall, Josephine Massynberde Ford, Katie Fortune, Shirlee Green, Nina Harris, Sue Malachuk, Daisy Osborn, Dorothy Ranaghan, Agnes Sanford, Gwen Shaw, Bernice Smith, Ruth Carter Stapleton, Jean Stone, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Corrie Ten Boom. Mother Teresa was also an outstanding woman who ministered in the helps ministry to the poor of India.

The women mentioned here are, of course, a mere sampling of important figures who have been mightily used of God in every conceivable capacity of leadership in the church throughout history.

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D.V.

answers from Dallas on

G., here is a response from a theological professor at Ft. Worth and a teacher of sunday school in my church, Royal Lane Baptist church.
I feel women are far too suppressed by the narrow minding findings of men. They fail to look at the whole picture and take only the few. She is a brilliant christian woman, and we are all blessed by her. D. V.

I approach the issue with a couple of key points in mind: the high stature and leadership of women mentioned in Acts and the Letters of Paul--a missionary couple, Priscilla and her husband Aquila (Acts 18:2; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim 4;19); as well as Phoebe, a deacon and patroness of Paul and authorized by him to carry his Letter to the Romans (Rom. 16:1); and Junia, esteemed/prominent among the apostles (Rom. 16:7), to name a few. 1 Timothy is very nervous about women in authority positions in the early church, and yet still seems to acknowledge women deacons (3:11). I also give importance to Jesus comfortable (and radical-for-the-time) association with women, friendship with women not related to him, like Mary and Martha (sisters of Lazarus) and Mary Magdalene (who was *not* a prostitute, but a propertied woman who first witnessed the resurrected Jesus and helped underwrite his ministry). That a Jewish rabbi would take such women seriously and have theological conversations with them was progressive and unusual for the social conventions of the time.

Baptists have departed in so many ways from absolutely “biblical” ways of doing things. We certainly don’t organize our churches under apostolic or episcopal (bishop’s) authority, nor do we insist that women cover their hair and not wear ornamentation, nor that widows younger than 60 must marry, etc. I see the conservative phobia about women in ministry as a distraction and a throwback to late first century social norms in which women had such limited and low status. That a woman with a Ph.D. would be interested in serving as a Minister to Children (the usual position for women in churches concerned that they not “teach men”) in a church so reluctant to have female leadership strikes me as curious. I wish her the best.

These are my 2 cents worth! J

Have a blessed day!

--Jan

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M.H.

answers from Dallas on

Hi G., I think that if you re-read your question that you will find your answer. Women are not supposed to lead/teach men.....the Bible says nothing about women not leading or teaching children. If the woman's position is supposed to be "Minister to Children" I do not understand what the problem is. If you check around most evangelical churchs including Southern Baptist have a woman has Director of children's ministries or as ministers to children. If the board feels like this woman was the Lord's answer in response to prayer then why the questioning??? Just because the womans title will be "Minister to Children" doesn't mean that she is the Lead Minister/associate minister etc. Perhaps they should change the name of her title. Just a few thoughts from a Bible believing Christian/regular church member/ and mother!!!!

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J.C.

answers from Dallas on

Hi G.! What a tough situation! I am curious about the "chain of command" at your church. I believe in typical Southern Baptist churches the Minister to Children falls under the Minister of Education's authority. The Minister of Education is over all people groups, adults, children, preschoolers, senoir adults. If this is true, then the Minister to Children is not an "upper" leadership role. It is a supporting role, trying to help the Education Minister with his massive job! Here are a few instances where scripture talks of women ministering!
Acts 16:1-2 Paul says, " I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and the give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me."
Phil. 4:3 Pauls says, "Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."
We see Paul accepting the help of these women for the ministry and even applauding them! So, I believe that if the woman is assisting a man(who is the leader), it is scriptural. 1 Cor 11:11-12 says, "In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.".
And the woman must meet scriptual standards!! I hope this helps! Keep praying!!

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A.E.

answers from Sherman on

Background: I am the oldest of eight children and a home school graduate. I was a virgin when I got married and we grew up in a very conservative Christian family. I dated - sort of - my (now) husband had to ask my father's permission in order to take me out and that was as a Sophmore in College. So that should give you a clue where I am o the conservative scale.

Should a woman be a position of authority in the church OVER MEN? No. But if I read your question portion correctly isn't the position for a Minister of Children? Then yes! Absolutely! If a woman was not able to be in authority over children than why would God bless women with children in the first place.

Unless the students in the children's church will be grown men then the disenters are twisting scripture. Unless the student's in the children's programs will be husbands and heads of their own households then they are twisting scripture.

My understanding of the root word in that passage that talks about women not being in authority over "MEN" is that the word means husbands/grown men/men of authority. It would in no way have been applied to a child regardless of the gender of that child.

A. <><

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P.S.

answers from Dallas on

Not Biblical, but practical, look around at the other SBC churches. Most have women childrens ministers. I come from a very large (about 4000 members) SBC church and for the last 20+ years we have had a female childrens minister. Most of my family attends a smaller SBC church nearby. They too have a female chilrens minister. 121 community church in Grapevine, FBC Lewisiville, same story.

Of course the pastor, associate pastor will always have the highest leadership role in the church. Even the singles/youth ministers. The childrens minister needs to be someone who can relate to children first and next parents (mostly mothers) I personally see no reason why a female can not lead the childrens department.

Good luck, I know it can be small changes that cause big waves in a close knit church!

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

Hi G. -
My husband is a youth minister at a SBC and we both grew up in Southern Baptist churches. The church I grew up in currently has their 2nd female children's minister and there is no doubt in my mind that she is called to that position. Families love her! At the church we are currently serving, the children's minister is also a woman, and again, God meant for her to have that position. It is evident in all that she does.
That being said, there are people in churches that sometimes seem to lose sight of what God wants because of what they want. We serve an all-powerful God, and His Word gives evidence that He can use the most unlikely of people. Did people not doubt that David could slay a giant, and did they not think of Esau as stronger than Jacob, yet he became the father of the whole country of Israel! For the women, look at Esther and how God used her "for such a time as this." I could go on and on, but I will stop. My husband has had to make decisions for the youth ministry that were not necessarily popular at the time, but God called him to the position he is in, so he got to make the decision God wanted him to. In the end, people respected that and (maybe a little begrudgingly) accepted it. God has also called your husband to the deacon council (and I would imagine the church body voted him into the position) where he is part of this decision, and he should never doubt what God is telling him to do, no matter what grumbling he hears.
On the part about the counseling - my husband works with a different population than a children's minister, but he does not counsel with a female unless I am present. We are partners in the ministry. I pray this woman would have a Godly husband to partner with her as well, but if not, perhaps there would be another minister available to assist her in counseling a family. I would imagine that the educational or senior pastor would have a stake in the family as well.
I know this is difficult, as I have had to encourage my husband in situations like this before, but prayer ALWAYS helps. God has you as his wife and will equip you to be the partner he needs at this time too.

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T.J.

answers from Beaumont on

G.,
I am a regular church attendee of a Baptist Church & from reading your message I can understand the dilemma. I thought about everything you said & got out my bible( just to let you know my bible is the NIV Life Application version). In 1 Timothy 2:12 Paul writes about women not teaching to "men" the position your church is seeking is for teaching "children" not preaching to the congregation, that is the pastors role which I believe whole heartedly should be a man. In Romans 16:1,2 Paul speaks of Phoebe who (in my bible version) says she was a "deacon" in the church of Cenchrea & was highly regarded in that church. In my opinion I do not see anything wrong with hiring a woman to minister to children. She would not be the "leader" of the entire congregation & what I am interpreting from the bible, that position should be a man.

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T.C.

answers from Amarillo on

G., Praise God for your husband's willingness to be biblically correct in this decision. I was a member of and " came to Christ through" an SBC church for many years before switching to a non-denom church. I agree with Beth Moore about women not holding leadership roles in church. Not that they aren't capable, but there just doesn't seem to be any scriptural basis. This is where I fault the Southern Baptist- they will educate women in the seminary, but then give a false hope about what can be done with their very expensive degree. I've seen many women graduates want to put their degree to work as an associate pastor or something and then become disillusioned when they aren't allowed. The best solution may be for the woman and her husband to serve as co-leaders (even if he is unpaid) as Priscilla and her husband, Aquila. The problem is that eventually the boy babies will become young men and at what point should they stop being taught by a woman? And what about the men teachers/ministers working under her? it is not scriptural for them to submit to her authority alone. Check out: Rom 16:3; Acts 18:2, 18, 26; and 1 Cor 16:19. Also, Paul admonished that women should be silent in church and should turn to their husbands for biblical guidance 1Cor 14:34-35. That word was not meant to put women down, but to say there must be a correct order of doing things. Yes, there were women judges in the O.T. like Deborah, but she was actually more of a prophetess and she co-lead with Barak ( see Judges 4:4ff ). Remember, however, the reason the Isrealites even needed judges was because of their disunion, disobedience, and defeats so I'm not sure if this is a period of time to be proud of. Out of 17 judges there was only one woman and she co-lead with a man. Doesn't seem like a mandate from God for your church to follow. I believe when God really wants us to remember or do something He says it at least three times, right? Well this is just my humble opinion. At my church in Amarillo the men are called pastors and the women heads of the women's ministry and the nursery are called directors, but the still fall under the overall headship of the (male) Pastor of Family Ministry. Hope all this helps. Stay in prayer and keep to the bible not popular opinion. God Bless...

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V.B.

answers from Miami on

I am a pretty conservative Christian and most of the churches that I have attended have had women as the Children's ministers. I don't agree with women priests or pastors either, but when it comes to teaching children, I feel that is a great place for women to serve the church. My last church was a conservative Bible Church before we moved and they had a woman leading the children's ministry. I don't have any biblical references to backup my opinion, but I feel like this is one area of teaching that a woman is qualified and permitted to serve in the church.

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L.B.

answers from El Paso on

Good question! This is a very hot topic in a ton of church circles so I can only give you my opinion. In the word it talks about woman not teaching(1Ti 2:12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.)And it also says that men are to be the head (1Cr 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman man, and the head of Christ God.) But as far as this position you are speaking of goes, I don't believe that the woman will be over men but children, she will not be the head because she is still under the authority of the Head pastor which is a man. Our pastor's wife( who is also ordained herself) does an amazing job teaching the woman, but on occation will do the Sunday sermons for one reason or another. But I don't think this is wrong either because she is still always under the authority of her husband. There is a church in our city that has a female pastor because her husband passed away and she took over. I'm not totally sure how I feel about that one but it isn't my congregation. Another thing to look at is in the days of the bible women were looked at very different than they are now. I myself am the youth pastor's wife(not ordained but my husband is) and I have shared at Youth and don't think it is wrong. Hope this helps some. Our church is nondenominational so this doesn't really matter much to us but it has come up and I have heard about it from other Christians.

ps In the same chapter as above 1 Cor 11 it goes on and on about covering head not covering head and do we still do all that? no...just a thought provoker.....

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N.M.

answers from Dallas on

Wow! I guess I don't have any words of advice, but reading all of the responses you got, I just have to say I am so glad I was raised Methodist! In our church, women are treated as equals. I can't imagine being a member of a church where I wasn't allowed to hold a position of leadership. Good luck to your husband as he tries to figure this out!

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M.M.

answers from Dallas on

This is 2008. I am ashamed as a woman to see the responses by women that this is even an issue. The bible was written by men at a time that does not apply to today's values and morals. All of you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!!!!

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K.M.

answers from Tyler on

1 Tim. 2: 11 Let a woman learn in peace, fully submitted; 12 but I do not permit a woman to teach a man or exercise authority over him; rather, she is to remain at peace.

However, I don't know that leading a Children's ministry would fall under the instruction of this scripture. Are they young children?

I am a mom, married to a trooper, 38, teach a ladies class at my church, and have taught Middle School kids for 15 years. I do believe that women should not be in leadership positions over men. I do believe women have tons to offer in other ministries!

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K.Y.

answers from Dallas on

Good question! I love it when people/churches seek out truly what the Bible says instead of relying on feelings or what the world says. I am a member of a very large Baptist church in Arlington and we have several women on staff. They do not serve roles over men. Our children's minister has been there for many, many years and she is phenomenal. In fact, I often fear she is going to be snatched up by another church because she is so great! The children's minister that you are seeking also would not be serving or teaching men in any capacity, right? I guess I don't really understand what the big fuss is about if she will primarily be serving children and their families. The Bible does clearly say that women are not to be over men in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, but again I don't think that this scripture directly applies to your situation for the above stated reason. I believe that God does not have a problem with women being on a church staff. And besides women are given insights and gifts in different areas than men sometimes and can do certain roles and jobs in an easier capacity than men. One of these roles included serving, ministering to and tending to children often times. After prayerfully considering and searching for God's best for your church (like it sounds that the committee did), I say go for it and let God change the hearts of the congregation if it is His will for her to come. I understand this is a big decision. I pray your church family can feel peace about moving forward.

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S.

answers from Dallas on

A long time ago, I asked this question of some pastors at my church and they did tell me women cannot be pastors - our church is based on baptist beliefs which they say the bible indicates a woman cannot. They can be very valued spiritual advisors and are most welcomed at that but it did say in the bible that women cannot. - this is what I was told

Now - look at Catholic the women are nuns... not usually higher than that...until lately, I've seen women become bishops.

I don't believe there is anything in the bible that specifically says women cannot be spiritual leaders but it does in the bible talk about how the man is to be the spiritual leader of the household...men have always taken the lead even back to the time of Adam and Eve. I feel sure that the bible does not reference why women cannot because during the time the bible was written there was no forethought to a woman being in a powerful position, women were in a much different position then versus now. Many women have been revered as "great" in the bible - mother Mary, Rahab, Ester, etc.

Personally - we have a leader in our hometeam that is a female. Men have joined the group and have stayed in the group with a female leader...

I think your church needs to be lead by the best interest of the flock rather than by gender. God gives us all a purpose and this lady must have some form of purpose. if your husband is feeling like this lady is best suited and he does not pick her for reasons he disagrees with (peer pressure) then he will be ignoring his "God nudge" to choose her... that may not end up going over well. If he has given this decision much thought and prayed about it then right or wrong he needs to listen to the nudging of his God and use his God given ability to disseminate the best for his flock, there is a reason he was called to be a Deacon.

She is not being asked to be senior pastor, she is being asked to join the staff. I personally think who better to minister to children than a woman... we have God given nurturing abilities and this woman is obviously serious about what she is doing going for a PHD - Bravo to her for going forward with her desire to serve God as a lifetime career.

We recently did a study on Nehemiah rebuilding the wall. We found that when there are SO many "nay sayers", Nehemiah did not allow himself to get distracted by them in order to finish the job at hand. Nehemiah knew without a doubt he had the right people doing the right jobs and he knew God approved of what he was doing. Your congregation will be better for following a collective belief that she would be good, they have done homework to find the proper candidate and they must have prayed about it.

This is my personal experience and my person opinion based on things I've asked and heard. I do hope it helps.

I don't have the answer specifically, I do believe though if there were something in the scripture about women not being allowed to be a pastor then they would never be allowed to attend seminary. It just plain isn't there. Society is the problem here (oh no can we have a woman president? Can a woman fight the battles in war? can a woman be a preacher?) ... We are ALL God's children..equal in His eyes. If a woman has a purpose to serve then she should!
AMEN!

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D.O.

answers from Dallas on

Hi, G.! Wow, what a hot topic! My husband and I are born-again Christians who attend a local Bible church, although both of us were raised in Baptist churches. We, too, believe that there is a place for women in the church, but that place is NOT in leadership of the church. However, we do believe that women can and do fulfill vital roles in the church including children's ministry. Is it possible for the person who assumes this role to be in charge of children's ministry, but under a male leader in the church......for example, in charge of children's ministry, but under an associate or youth minister? The role women play in the church and in the family is pretty clear in the Bible....Paul speaks to this in his letters....and as much as he says about what women's roles are is also what he says about what the men's roles are....what men do...women do not. Even at our church, a woman leads the children's ministry....which is not a problem for us....but they do call her a "pastor" which is something we are not comfortable with. When searching for a local church, we wanted a church where the men lead which is what we feel is God's plan for the church. But, a woman's role is caregiving and raising the children......it is a tough call. I believe you are right to take it to the Lord in prayer. I trust God will lead your church if you trust in Him!!

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L.H.

answers from Dallas on

Traditionally, women HAVE been children's ministers (it seems to be one of the ONLY positions a man at a church is willing to yield). I am seminary-trained with a Masters in Christian Education, and most of the women I know in my degree field went into children's minister positions. I know I haven't given you scripture yet, sorry. The main opposition to a woman in leadership is that "they not teach the men." I think, therefore, many churches find a woman children's minister to not be "breaking" that rule. The main idea for a woman not in leadership comes from I Timothy 2:12, "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet." (This is Beth's argument as well.) Many theologians have argued whether this is an actual statement of Timothy's or something we call "textual criticism" where a scribe added the verse later. I will not bore you with details or try to win you over with this argument. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt (as a Baptist), the textual criticism approach will not win friends. However, taking I Tim. 2:12 and using it to state she would not be teaching men, I think there is a ground for her to stand on. Also, I grew up at Second Baptist, Houston (a hugely prominent Southern Baptist church), and we had a very good and able WOMAN minister for BOTH children's and youth minister. Hope that helps. And hope your husband won't be discouraged long.

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C.G.

answers from Houston on

Except in VERY conservative Christian circles it's okay for a
woman to teach children. We were members of a conservative
SBC church for many years and unless these men feel that
the position comes with other leadership roles that would not
be appropriate for a woman I don't see why it should cause
conflict. I've studied conservative Southern Baptist
doctrine and I don't see where it conflicts. Women clearly
took non-church leadership roles in the Bible for instance
Lydia and Debra. Even the instructional Proverbs 31 woman was
making business decisions. I can look up more references for you and see if I can reference the Baptist faith and message
as well if that would help.

C. G

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L.M.

answers from San Antonio on

Hi G.-
I haven't really researched the biblical application of this; however, I do have my thoughts to share. I, too, am Southern Baptist so I understand the churches concern. When I lived in the DFW area, we attended First Baptist Euless which is a LARGE church (over 3000 members, well-respected and a traditional SBC church. FBC Euless does have a women as the Minister to Children--http://www.firsteuless.com/about/senior-staff/. I understand the principle behind not putting women in leadership roles over men; however, the minister would be in leadership over children. Women are responsible for bringing up children so why not have a woman in the role of Minister to children? I hope this helps some...and I pray that your church comes to a solution that is biblical and best for the church.

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E.D.

answers from Dallas on

My personal opinion, I'm 44, and conservative/traditional in many ways...
While I think women have a role in churches, ministry leaders, counselors, etc... it would make me uncomfortable to have a female Priest or Pastor.
I don't think it is WRONG. I think it is personal preference.

Here is my Bible Reference: http://raptureready.com/faq/faq466.html
Should women be pastors?

This is a loaded question, which I consider with great care.

The primary guidance we have in this arena is the following:
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Tim. 2:11-15).

Peter, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, laid down the principle of the man, not the woman, having authority in Church matters.

In Old Testament times, there are accounts of women taking over because the men were too weak in character to do the job. In those cases, God seemed content, even pleased, with their positions of authority.

However, the general principle –when all things are as they should be—is that the man should be the leader of the church. Peter’s explanation of God’s reasons are obvious in the above Scriptures.

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T.S.

answers from Longview on

Welp our church goes by the Bible and while we have no women elders, deacons, etc. we do have women sunday school teachers for the kids, women workers for the nursery, awana, and youth functions.

We have a woman over the children's ministry--younger kids about 5th gr and under. We had a man do that job once, but he is gone (due to a sudden heart attack--nothing to do with church services).

Women are natural organizers usually and very receptive to small children. They have that natural mother instinct and can really respond to what children need in different situations. I don't think a children's minister is in a position to be teaching anyone, they are simply there to organize and help the children so the parents may go to church knowing their kids are learning something, enjoying themselves and in a safe Godly environment.

Now for our teens and older kids we have men. I think that is who should be in the position of youth leader. The kids will look up to them more (if they are authoritative and yet nice). They are also more in a position of teaching others as they reach out to parents of teens and help them get through that rough time in life.

As for the Bible, it says women should not have leadership roles where they are leading others. But it does not say anything about women denying their motherly or organizational instincts. I will look and see if I can find some verses to back this up. If you want to email me, feel free to do so. ;-)

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J.A.

answers from Houston on

Wow!!! That is a load to carry, but tell your husband that God cares because he is trying his best to be obedient to His will! Unfortunately, I lack the verses, but my belief is to have all involved go to Him in prayer with the same request asking God to show His will for This decision. Seek Him...can't go wrong!
Blessings!
J.

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K.E.

answers from Dallas on

http://www.irvingbible.org/index.php?id=135

Listen to WE:engage audio dated 4/3/07.

It is a panel discussion held by the women's group at Irving Bible Church. I tought it was a great discussion on different views of the woman's role in the church.

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B.S.

answers from Dallas on

G.,
I'm not southern baptist, I'm non-denominational, but we have dealt with this in our congregation as well. According to what we read in the Bible on women's role in church comes from the old testament. (strictly speaking) It says women should not speak out in the temple to adult men. My church employs ministry couples (both of couple are on the payroll) to minister to the needs of the congregation both male and female, however only the men preach. We will often have our midweek services divided men/women and the Women's Ministry Leaders will teach the women/girls. Our Ministry leaders (women) role is ministry, not church governance therefore it does not violate biblical teachings of women's roles in the church but follows it. (Titus 2:3-4) If this woman's role is to minister and teach children and aid those men/women who teach children, I don't see it as a violation of biblical teaching. However different denominations have different guidelines in their charters that interpret Bible teachings differently.
Good luck and God Bless
B.

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A.O.

answers from Lubbock on

I think it is perfectly fine for a woman to be a children's minister. We have one at our church, and she does a good job.

As far as whether or not it is biblical, I believe it is entirely up to how the person interprets it.

What everyone needs to consider is who is best for the children.

I feel like God will show you the way.

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B.W.

answers from Dallas on

Change can always bring conflict, even good change. Woman was made of a rib not a foot.......many things in the Bible such as not cutting hair pertain to the times when it was written....I was raised Baptist (evenhad a cousin on the board for awhile) and I have been in churches with women for Children's Minister and it was awesome.....women are to be the heart of the family and where is it more important than the church and it's children........hope this has helped and I would like to see where it says women are not to teach men. I could go on but I will stop........hope this has helped.

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A.V.

answers from Dallas on

Dear G.,
I am not qualified to speak on behalf of scripture, but I do have a lot of experience in situations with conflict such as these. Your husband has been given the opportunity to lead the church. The definition of leaders means that there are followers. So, what can your husband do to help the church follow the direction that he believes is best for the church? If God wanted it to be obvious, he would have made the Bible much easier to interpret. So, I think he and the others on the committee are there to help the congregation.

I would turn to the congregration. Let them decide but have the personell committee share their thoughts on this candidate. Be upfront about the conflict in the church and within themselves. Ask the congregation to help them decide what the right direction is for the church. I promise you that if this situation is handled such that the congregation feels that there is a conflict or feels that their voice is not being heard, then the vote will go a different direction than if it is handled with respect of each person's choice and belief. You could even have some of the people who openly feel strongly against the woman preacher speak as well.

Best wishes. I'd love to know how it turns out.

Sincerely,
A.

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C.N.

answers from Phoenix on

I looked through my scriptures, but the thought kept coming back to me that this could easily become a fight with both sides throwing scriptural references back and forth. In my own church we have men who lead us but women are also called into leadership positions, over women, girls and children. I don't think anyone would deny the fact that women and men have different roles on this earth, and women are more suitable for the guidance of children. It is in our nature to be more compassionate and understanding of children. Maybe this should be pointed out to the elders of your church and remind them that the role of women in leadership is much less important than the education of the little ones. Men and women were put on this earth to work together, not to rule one over the other. The bible does say that the head is the man and the woman should look to him. We believe this is because the men are the conduits of the priesthood, but the women should only follow them as long as they are following the counsels of the Lord. There is one scripture I found that may help your DH, it is in the King James version of my Bible, Isaiah chapter 3 verse 12: As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. Hope I helped some! Good luck!

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J.P.

answers from Wichita Falls on

G.,
You said a minister to children. This woman wouldn't be leading the men in the church, but the children. Who does God put over children from the very begining of their life - a woman. In Timothy 2:11-15 it talks about the very thing you are struggling with. It says women should learn silently and never teach or have authority over a man, but woman shall be saved by childbirth. It leads me to believe that a role in teaching children is appropriate. God bless.

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G.L.

answers from Abilene on

Yes! go to Joel 2:28-29. Acts 2:17,Ephesians 4:11-12. The only statements in the bible against women in the church was to the Jewish people under Jewish LAW. If this is a God called gift and a Spirit lead gift it would be a shame to ignore and lose such teaching. I grew up under a female pastor in the Assembly of God Church and a better woman of God you could not find. A spirit filled and God gifted woman is just as important in Gods kingdom as a like gifted man. God uses what and whom He wishes,who are we to tell Him He's wrong?
God Be with you and your Church in this time of guidance.

with love in Christ
G. Lewis

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S.P.

answers from San Antonio on

This is Steve Leavitt's response on this issue:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a pretty simple issue. God clearly says that women are not to teach men in 1 Timothy 2.

1Ti 2:9 Likewise, {I want} women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,

1Ti 2:10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

1Ti 2:11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.

1Ti 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

1Ti 2:13 For it was Adam who was first created, {and} then Eve.

1Ti 2:14 And {it was} not Adam {who} was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

1Ti 2:15 But {women} will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

It does not say Children. Most eveangelical prodestant Christian leaders agree that it is ok for a women to be in church leadership over the children. I also agree.

I would hire her to be on Church leadership to be over the children (up to but over Jr high).

Hope this helps.


Keep on Keeping on,

Steve Leavitt

Hope for Life Ministry

408 S. Seguin Ave.

New Braunfels, Tx. 78130

(830) 620-HOPE (4673)

www.hopeforlifeministry.com

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M.L.

answers from Dallas on

My mom is a pastor and I understand this very issue. We live across the street from a Southern Baptist church and ran into similar waters ourselves. I have no issue with women leading anything but this particular pastor got very upset and heated over the topic. I was rather taken aback and astounded that he had that opinion in this day and age. I feel the most important thing here is that you present this to your church body and ask them if it would be an issue. The main people you should focus on is the parents of the very children that would be under this womans tutelage. While some committee members may not agree they need to realize that the parents are the spiritual guidance to these children first and foremost. While most understand that the father of these children is supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the household it doesnt always work that way in every house. My own house is somewhat this way. My husband and I find it is best to discuss the situation since he never was very involved in church until he met me. He isnt sure all the time the best way to handle some situations with the children. They are constantly asking questions and he doesnt know how to answer them. While I want him to direct them he often asks me for insight into what the Bible says should happen. I hope you husband prays about this and I am sure he will. Sometimes you have to go against some heads of church to do what is best for others. The parents is the first place I would start. Yes I feel it is important to do what is biblically right but just make sure that the scriptures you are reading are not meant for a certain time. I will give you an example. Many racist people use the passage that was given when Esau married about not marrying out of his tribe. They assume this meant not to marry another color and what God really meant was to not marry outside your faith. I understand that marrying out of your faith can cause huge issues in your marriage. This is very important..color however is not. While the scripture doesnt state not to marry out of your faith and says something that implies other things if you read all the scripture around it you realize exactly what God meant. I urge your husband to remember this when he runs across this type of attitude. I hope this works out for you. Your flock depends on you to make these decisions with them in mind. I figure the best way to resolve this would be to do a somewhat silent vote and ask they offer their reasons why they are for or against this particular woman leading the children. In the end these are the very people that may leave or stay based on your decisions.God bless and I pray it works out for you

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J.M.

answers from Dallas on

I don't have much time to answer, but if at all possible, could you or your husband talk to this woman about it. She, being a woman, will have addressed this issue to herself and to others in the past and most likely has all the scriptures at the ready were anyone to challenge her spiritual authority. It would also be a good heads up for her that this is an issue in your church (which even if she did get voted in, could cause problems later on). Each church has the right to set what they believe is right and wrong/ or what they believe God has called them to, but other churches have the same right and come up with different answers. This isn't about right and wrong. This is about how this community of believers feels they should practice their faith AS BEST AS THEY KNOW HOW. None of us are experts, and a lot of time, tradition and culture plays a large part in why we do what we do. This may not be about your church wanting her, but ultimately a warning that this might not be where SHE would want to be. But if this is one of those things that is going to be decided democratically anyway, then arguments might be your best bet, since that's what a democracy is all about--people convincing others they are right and asking them to vote their way. If you're looking for ultimate truth in this situation, though, you're probably going to be hard pressed to find it.

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A.L.

answers from Corpus Christi on

Okay, I do not know much about what the bible says about women teaching men, or leading men. What I do know is that as a Children's Minister she would be teaching CHILDREN not men. I am not from a SB church background, but the churches that I have been a memeber, ALWAYS had a female children's minister. I will be praying for you and your husband, and your whole congregation that your decision will be lead by the Holy Spirit and not by men.

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B.A.

answers from Houston on

Hi G.,
You could not have posted this in a more humble, truth-seeking manor. For that I thank you! It is such a heated topic. Here are my thoughts...I believe that women should not hold primary pastoral roles in a church...and my church feels VERY strongly about that as well. Whenever our Pastor is sick and his wife must fill in (b/c the Associate is not available or something) she gives a word of encouragement to the congregation...not a word of correction or rebuke. She is the Women's Ministry Pastor under the covering of her husband. I am the Children's Ministry COORDINATOR under the covering of the Student Ministries Pastor. My husband is in the process of becoming ordained and once he has completed that we will step into place as the Children's Pastors. A woman should never, ever have ANY ministry leadership without being under the covering of a Pastor or Husband. And women should never preach, speak to or instruct men in any form. I do feel, however, that Children's ministry is a place that women naturally excel (hellloooo!) so you do find alot of women in leadership roles...unless this lady you sepak of is an ordained Pastor she shouldn't hold the title of Children's Pastor anyway and should be under the covering of the Student Ministry or Associate Pastor as a Director or Coordinator. The title of "Pastor" gives a person the ability to provide counsel in certain situations and since she would be dealing directly with parents (one or both) for that she should have a male Pastor present. Anyway, I'm getting really specific now. I do hope this helps and continue to pray for God's guidance. He is always faithful!!

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S.O.

answers from Houston on

I'm sorry I couldn't answer earlier so I hope you are able to read. I've been going to Southern Baptist Churches all of my life. We have a woman minister at my old church in which I only left because we moved the Church I go to now is all men except for the children's ministry. The junior high and highschool have a man minister. I believe in my heart that it is okay for women to lead the children but not the adults or men. It's biblical that we are to help but men are to lead. It also reads in the bible that women can instruct children. It sounds though that you may have trouble with some of the men in your church. A split in a church can be really bad. If you and your husband prays about God's guidance and also the committee you can't go wrong with this decision. I've also lived thru 3 splits and I've always gone with the side where I follow after God's heart and all has been gone well. God bless and I'll be helping you pray for guidance and knowledge on what God's will is for your church and children's ministry.

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W.R.

answers from Houston on

I would be ok with the music and youth ministries. But to be the head pastor or associate pastor, in my opinion, should be left to a man.

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A.L.

answers from Houston on

G., I too believe you have answered your own question. You are very kind to search for guidance for your hubby but deep down, I am sure he knows what is right for your church and for the children. I used to attend church weekly but since moving have not. Church here is very different than where I was from. I cannot believe this is a heated topic at the churches. Is she qualified? I understand and know woman "should not be in charge at a church" but it baffles me...some of the responses are a little interesting/scary. I just hope these types of beliefs are not brought into the home...this would just pass this belief that woman are below men. Huh...wouldn't that be interesting if Hillary Clinton became President of the United States??? Wow...a woman running an ENTIRE COUNTRY! Sorry if I have offended anyone but these are my thoughts. I am sure many are thinking this but just did not voice their opinion. Sorry. Best of luck to you and your hubby on his tough decision.

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