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What could be done to improve our support for women and ethnic minority leaders when they are seeking a pastoral or ministerial call?

This is the question being asked by the offices of Candidacy, Classis Renewal, Leadership Development: Women's and Ethnic Ministry, and Pastor Church Resources. 

We're aware of what's working, and what's not working, when it comes to connecting churches with pastors and pastors with churches. But are there some things we can do better? Might there be an opportunity for church counselors to assist in improving the support of women and ethnic minority clergy? 

As a next step, we are seeking feedback from churches and pastors. We want to hear stories of how women and ethnic minorities have felt supported in the search process. Do you have examples of churches and ministries that have been intentional about seeking out women and ethnic minority clergy in the search process?

Here’s what we’re thinking and how you might help:

  • Share how your church was intentional about reaching out to women and ethnic minorities
  • Imagine how we can improve our support to churches and individuals seeking a call 
  • Email [email protected] if interested in joining a facilitated 2-hour video conference call exploring this topic further (date to be determined after gathering responses) 

Thanks for your valuable feedback! 

David Koll, Candidacy

Al Postma, Classis Renewal

Denise Posie, Leadership Development: Women’s and Ethnic Ministry

Dave Den Haan and Cecil VanNiejenhuis, Pastor Church Resources


It's sad that no one responded to this post. What does "no response" mean? Was there a better way to communicate our need to hear from individuals and churches on Supporting Women and Ethnic Minority Leaders in the Pastoral Call Process?

I saw a similar post from 2014 about racial discrimination in the calling process. Still, there were no comments about what do we need to do to support ethnic pastors seeking a call. 



Denise, I've been working on the 1 Timothy 2:12 verse that is often used by complementarians based on the 84 NIV (and a few other translations) to prohibit women in church leadership - I believe that particular verse is a HUGE hurdle for a lot of women to serve in leadership in the Church... I've heard a number of times of how "CLEAR" scripture is that it is only men that are to be elders/deacons/pastors... and it often leads back to this specific verse

As you probably know, the role of women in Church leadership has been anything but "clear"...  I did some research on this back in 2008, but put it on the back burner for various reasons... well, again for various reasons, it moved to the front burner, and over the last year and a half or so, I continued digging and researching the role of women again, going back to scripture, but this time, thanks to the increased information on the internet (and of course the Holy Spirit!!!) with the help of male and female theologians around the world, experts in Greek and Hebrew, and Bible websites that are amazing, I was astounded at what I discovered...

a context/lens for 1 Timothy that I've never heard/read shared in the CRC (or in any of my research back in 2008) is how Artemis was a HUGE factor in Ephesus... Interestingly, I found that it seems it is mostly in the last 10 years or so (thanks to the internet), that we have been able to more fully understand how Artemis was worshipped in Ephesus... Many of those who have already opened the door for women in office in the CRC moved on 25 years ago and stopped any further research as it wasn't necessary any more, since it was a done deal for them -however most of the information on Artemis was NOT available back then... and those who didn't agree that women should be in office are not going to look for ways that they might be wrong - they are fine with the status quo as scripture is "clear" and have no reason to question their position... that leaves a small group of those who are even pondering and researching the role of women in office these days...

Acts 19 talks about the riot the Apostle Paul caused in Ephesus due to so many converting to "the Way" from the cult of Artemis.  Ephesus/Artemis is also the context of 1 Timothy.  Paul, in 1 Tim, is addressing false teachings by certain people - men AND women (84 NIV limited it to "certain men"), and how a singular "woman" (possibly a new convert formerly involved in the cult of Artemis) is part of the problem promoting false teachings - that's why Paul is not "permitting" her to teach...  yet!  She needs to learn more about her new faith, and she needs to be encouraged to learn quietly (like everyone else who wants to learn) before she can teach others about the Way w/out confusing her new beliefs w/ the practices of cult worship!  Also, the women involved in the worship of Artemis were often LOUD! 

Whenever "epitrepo"/permit (1 Tim 2:12) is used in the NT, it is ALWAYS a case by case basis, never a universal command for ALL time!  Which sadly, is how it has been implemented over the centuries!

also, the non-biblical headings used in some translations are misleading (ie "instructions on worship" 84 NIV)... there has been no consensus on what Paul was addressing  in 1 Tim 2 - it has been assumed and represented that Paul is referring to the early church worship gatherings... what makes far more sense and fits far better, is this is a point by point corrective comparing the false teachings/worship of the cult of Artemis with the true teachings/worship of "the Way"/Christian beliefs... if you compare each aspect to the cult of Artemis, it lines up powerfully! including v15 re childbearing, which theologians have NOT known how to explain or what to do with that over the years and centuries!

I believe the context of Artemis needs to be tested and vetted and then shared... I have done my research and written a document going verse by verse to compare the correctives to how Artemis of the Ephesians was worshipped. I'm convinced this is the lens that we need to look at this passage with, and that has not been the case as far as I can tell...  I believe getting a better understanding of the 1 Tim 2 passage will help women in the CRC and beyond!

I've done a bit more research on 1 Tim 2:12 and found out that the meaning of authentein in 1 Tim 2:12 has morphed over the ages since Paul's time...  In Paul's time from 200BC to 300AD, authentein was associated with a violent and negative authority... then in the 400s AD when Jerome translated the Greek into Latin, he ignored the violent aspect and toned down the authority to "domineering authority" so still negative, but we lost the violent nuance... then in the 1500s AD when Erasmus did his translation, he toned authentein even more and took out the negative aspect completely, and authentein became "exercise authority"... and modern translations have now simply translated it as "authority"... 

This is such a great question! Although I attend a CRC church, I have been getting leadership training from another church in our area. They provide a Bible study during the summer and help you to develop a presentation. The first year I joined in this Women's Bible study they gave me a woman in the Bible to present on. Every year has been less information. So every year I and those who volunteer have to do more work and investigation on the topics. Also there is a retreat that Dr. Paige, from Calvin, has for women in ministry called Preach Sista. I will miss it so badly this year! But mentoring is so important, but how do you find that support?

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