* First things first. I know this can be a hot topic in the church, so bringing it up will likely push some buttons. This blog is NOT a space to be rude with comments though. Nope, nope, nope. We discuss with respect. To not do so will trigger my inner tiger...won't be pretty. ;)
Women in leadership/ministry in the church. There you go...the issue I'm studying and praying about. Two reasons for the evaluation...a personal question and a focus for church as we look at who we want to be in the future. Good stuff.
To be honest, I haven't really felt the need to do much "defending", so I haven't done a ton of personal research. The discussion is great though, so I should probably brush up. Well, and it's always good to check in with God to see if I'm headed where He's leading. Beyond that, though, I'm convinced that I will never force the issue on anyone...no profit in causing another to stumble.
Just for background...I've more fallen into my situation than set out to make it happen. Or, perhaps I should say that I really feel that I've been following God here...and my journey hasn't been wrought with much argument. It's really been "normal" from the beginning, I think. My Dad's notion of authority growing up was one of being a covering or protection so that my sister and I could become who God made us to be. He was our umbrella in the rain. (And I'm pretty sure Mom had her hand on that umbrella too...) :) He and my Mom showed us the world, provided us with relationship and discipline...and the rest is history. Several men also pushed me to be more than a wallflower...my Uncle John, my Uncle Tim, Mr. Sundstrom (Sunny, my science teacher) and my ragamuffin pastor Ryan. Similarly, that's been the approach to church by my Dad and the other elders...provided there's a sense of a particular gifting or "call" and there's no issue of integrity that could inhibit growth or perpetrate harm. As such, I like to think I've been given great investment in the context of community...for my whole life!!
** I know I'm going to hear it from some that I haven't mentioned notable women in my journey. Don't worry! I have tons of those too! It just seems the issue tends to revolve around the opposite genders a bit more. (Major kudos to my Mom, my sisters Joy, Debbie and Shell, Martha, Kitty, Coach Kelly, Ms. Bonnema (another science teacher) and on and on and on...)
Today...I speak at women's events and some kids' programs in other churches, in my church as a member of the sermon prep team and an occasional teacher/co-teacher for adult and teen classes, and in my job in a variety of capacities. I never set out to be in authority over anyone...and I still don't. In fact, I don't view my speaking as having authority over others. More like a sister speaking to my brothers and sisters. Some on the sermon prep team say that I have authority but that I'm also under authority...God's and theirs...thus permitting me my current opportunities. Others don't see the need for authority "over me" other than God's and instead expect a solid, humble partnership with others in leadership. Regardless...they keep mentoring me and releasing me.
I feel so grateful...and I want to be that kind of encourager to others. :)
But...it's time to study up. I found this blog last night. I'm not sure that I'll agree with everything he proposes, but I love all of the Scripture he refers to. Now, I can dive into my Bible...and ask God for wisdom in interpretation.
Supporting Women in Ministry