What Ways Are You Supporting Women in Leadership?
April 10, 2019
Updated October 6, 2019
7 comments 110 views
I'm invited to meet with students at Calvin Seminary on Friday, April 12 about how the denomination is working together with the seminary to support women in ministry. This is likely the first of several regular conversations in the future. It's a time to learn, ask questions and imagine new possibilities together.
Although this is a short notice, as mentioned, we will have future discussions. Are you aware of ways churches or classes are supporting women leaders and ordained women clergy? Is there an example of how you personally are supporting women leaders? They are hopeful and eager about how God's going to use them to a greater extent after graduation. I'm grateful and honored for an opportunity to connect with them!
Feel free to post your response or send me an email at [email protected].
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I'm not supporting it, because it isn't a biblical concept.
I think something really gets lost when "women in leadership" is equated with "women in ecclesiastical office". The two are not the same, yet I think in the church too often we use the first as shorthand for the second. This is unhelpful. One thing it does is paints churches who hold to the historically orthodox position on women in ecclesiastical office as against the use and appreciation of women's gifts in the life of the church. Such could not be further from the truth.
I am very supportive of women in leadership. There are a plethora of ways in which women can and do have leadership roles in the life of the church without ever holding ecclesiastical office. I have observed and celebrated it all my life.
The CRC has placed itself in an awkward position. It has decreed that two exclusive positions are both correct. One would suppose that such an incoherent position would only be able to survive in the long term if both positions were allowed to exist side-by-side with impartiality. Yet such has not been the case. The CRC puts its institutional weight behind egalitarianism while marginalizing complementarianism. For example we have the denominational ministry called Women's Ministry which states explicitly "We affirm and support women in all levels of leadership." This ministry then uses denominational resources and platforms to promote teachings and practices at the expense of the other position that the denomination ostensibly holds as "a" biblical position. We also see practices at synod that are not only inconsiderate by also seem to be designed to purposely marginalize complementarians and affirmatively violate their consciences.
It is hard to see this pattern leading to greater denominational unity or cohesiveness over time. In fact, it seems almost designed to either "convert" or drive out a portion of the church so that over time one position is normalized while the other position is marginalized to the point of being considered unacceptable. Perhaps this was inevitable given the logical incoherence of a position that says that "A" and "Not A" are both true.
Good distinction Eric. I have no problem with women leading many things in the church - just as long as they are not elders, deacons, or ministers - in keeping with the requirements of the scriptures.
By merging the two (women in office and women leading other things), the proponents of the traditional (biblical) view are indeed painted as misogynists who just can't stand to have women leading anything. Such is not the case.
If there is a gifted woman who is recognized by the elders as fit for the role of leading children's ministry, or ladies bible studies, or certain mercy ministries - just to name a few - I have no problem with that, so long as those things are under the authority of the elders and deacons of the church, who should be male as per the creation order.
I support we women in church office by treating them the same as the men, with respect and a helping hand if they ask! My wife is a Deacon and it’s a important role to play! Thx
Denise Posie is on vacation from Sept. 30- Oct. 13, and she asked me to let you know that she looks forward to responding to your comments after she returns. Thank you.
Denise, more directly to your question, my main approach is one of prayer and encouragement. I'm not much for programs and such as much as I am the individual deliberative practice of love. Loving each other in the church, when considered in its full-orbed scope, leads us to recognize and encourage the use of gifts in those around us. This is probably most easily and widely practiced in/with those that we are closest to, but should not be limited to that.
My wife happens to be better at some aspects of leadership than I am (particularly in organization), so she not only leads but also helps me when I am called to lead. My wife currently fills roles as Classical Treasurer, Youth Group Coordinator, Minn-I-Kota Youth Network Board Member, pianist, and Sunday School teacher among other roles outside of church. As a husband, but also as a brother in Christ, I am called to encourage and support her in these roles as she uses her gifts to glorify God.
Thank you for your patience. I was on vacation when I saw your posts. I hope the following is helpful.
The Women’s Ministry exists to support all women in the CRC, both non-ordained and ordained women. My post intended to get first-hand information from churches and ministries to share with Calvin Theological Seminary's Student Advocacy Association.
At the invitation of this group, I spoke to young men and women about potential ministry opportunities in the future. I was grateful for a chance to listen and respond to their concerns. Later, I heard favorable responses to our conversation.
As stated in our quarterly report Living the Call, “We recognize that within the CRCNA there are two different perspectives and convictions on the issue of women in ecclesiastical office. Yet, in all of our churches there are women who provide leadership in some capacity.” At Women’s Ministry’s first synod gathering in 2017, about 35 women from Canadian and U.S. classes joined us for lunch. When asked about current leadership roles and positions they are serving in their churches and ministries, we received over 150 different ways of service. This was eye-opening for me!
Regarding your responses to my question, “What Ways Are You Supporting Women in Leadership?” I agree with Ken and Eric. I was looking for examples of the ways churches and ministries are supporting women leaders and ordained women clergy. Unfortunately, I did not receive any responses at that time; however, I am sure I will have another opportunity to share with the Student Advocacy Association. They will appreciate knowing about intentional ways we are supporting women.
Eric, I think to love the person, to pray, and to encourage the use of gifts are affirming practices in your church. I’ve heard many stories about feelings of disconnect and isolation.
Unfortunately, in situations like this, both sides hurt. We don't always do well in handling our differences and living in tension. Our office is here to support churches and ministries in building relationships and creating hospitality for all.
If you like, feel free to contact me at [email protected] Thank you.
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