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5 Reasons Why We Need More Female Leaders in the Church

You may have noticed that there are more women than men in church. This is true for churches everywhere, all over the world. "There are no countries where Christian men are significantly more likely than Christian women to attend services weekly," according to the Pew Research Center. When I checked our church database to see the gender gap in our church, I was shocked. We are 63% female and 37% male! This lines up almost perfectly with the 2001 U.S. Congregational Life Survey (USCLS) which found that an average American congregation is roughly 61% female and 39% male.

And yet, you may have noticed a different and more extreme gender divide in churches. The pastor speaking from the stage is almost always male. The Faith Communities Today 2010 national survey of 11,000 American churches found that just 12% of all congregations have a female as their senior leader.

So women are 2/3 of the church itself but 1/10 of the leadership.

This has to change! Not just because of the math, but because of the Bible. Here are 5 biblical reasons why we need more female leaders in the church:
 
#1: BECAUSE MALE AND FEMALE TOGETHER REFLECT THE IMAGE OF GOD.

In Genesis 1:27, after God has already created so much, he finally decides to reflect his very own image through his creation by making human beings: "in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." The man alone did not reflect the image of God, but male and female together. Notice that there is no hint of male dominance or female subordination.

When the creation story is told from another perspective in Genesis 2, it says that the woman Eve was created as a "helper" for the man Adam. This is so often read as evidence of male superiority because it sounds like Eve is created to an assistant to her boss Adam. But whenever that word "helper" is used of a person in the Old Testament, it almost always refers to God (29 places). God is our helper but he certainly is not our subordinate!

#2: BECAUSE FEMALE SUBORDINATION TO MEN IS A CONSEQUENCE OF SIN

In the creation story, when Adam and Eve sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit, there was a punishment given to each of them. To the man, the punishment was that the ground would be cursed and would require difficult work to produce food.

Here the punishment God handed to the woman: "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." (Gen. 3:16) Pain in childbirth and subordination to men. Those are curses given as punishment for sin, they are not biblical mandates to be preserved. So bring on the epidurals for women in child birth, and let’s stop perpetuating the curse of men ruling over women!

#3: BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY EXAMPLES OF GREAT LEADERS IN THE BIBLE (...AND IN HISTORY...AND TODAY).

If God really didn’t want women to lead, why in the world would there be so many examples of amazing female leaders in the Bible? Here are a few examples:

Miriam was a leader sent by God to lead Israel alongside Moses: "I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam."(Micah 6:4)

Deborah was a powerful warrior, leader, prophetess, and judge over Israel: "Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided." (Judges 4:4-5)

Phoebe was a deacon (leader) of the church. Here is the Apostle Paul speaking about her: "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon, of the church in Cenchreae." (Rom. 16:1) The word deacon refers here to a Christian leader who serves with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways. See Phil. 1:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8, 12.

Junia was an apostle, and one that Paul calls outstanding among all of the rest of the apostles. Wow! Paul writes: "Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was." (Rom. 16:7)

The list could go on and on…

#4: BECAUSE GOD GIVES SPIRITUAL GIFTS TO WOMEN.

Spiritual gifts are given by God to people for the building up of the church. There are multiple passages in the New Testament that list out and explain the various gifts that God gives, and all of the passages have one thing in common, they never add any restrictions on gender. Take a look at Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4.

Other passages make clear that women specifically are given spiritual gifts and should be using them. For instance, the gift of prophecy in Acts 2:18: "Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." Or the gift of teaching when Priscilla (a woman) teaches Apollos (a very educated man) in Acts 18:26: "He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately."

#5: BECAUSE IN THE COMING KINGDOM OF GOD, WOMEN AND MEN WILL BE FULL EQUALS-SO WHY NOT START NOW?

The Apostle Paul was a missionary through and through. He wanted to do whatever was necessary to reach the world for Christ. Here is his strategy: "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel…" (1 Cor. 9:22-23) This means that sometimes when writing to churches about women’s roles or slavery, he felt it better to allow some of the cultural values to remain for the sake of people hearing the most important thing: the Gospel. At other times, however, he lays out the grander vision of what is going to happen when God’s kingdom come in fullness and changes everything. Galatians 3:28 is one of those places where he reveals how social roles will change in Christ: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This is the vision we're heading toward in God’s kingdom: women and men will be equals. So why would we wait for heaven to experience this kind of equality? Let’s do it now! Let’s have women rise up into their callings and start using their giftings so that the church will look more like the Kingdom of Heaven and be more faithful to the teaching of the Bible.

Please join us for a fascinating discussion at our Women in Leadership Seminar with Abigail Gaines on October 19, 2019.
O C T O B E R  1 9   |   1 0 A M - 2 P M  |   C A F E   A U D I T O R I U M
The Seminar cost is $15 per person which includes lunch. Both men and women are welcome to attend.
Does the teaching of the Bible place limitations on women’s roles in the church or can
women actually lead and preach and even become a lead pastor of a church?  If you have
wrestled with these questions, come to this seminar where we will make the case for why
we believe that women not only can, but are called and gifted by God to do everything that
men can do in the church - including be lead pastors. Pastor Jonathan Rue will be teaching as
well as guest speaker Abigail Gaines, the Lead Pastor of the Glendora Vineyard Church.

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