Pursuing Partnership Series: Men & Women in Ministry
Part 1: A Special Movement of God’s Spirit?
By Wendy Wilson, Missio Nexus Mission Advisor – Development of Women
Women’s Development Track, Exec Dir
What special work may God be doing among us in these days? We’ve seen new discoveries in archeology and biblical culture, new access to research through the internet, and new eyes on the revelation of Scripture by gifted women theologians who began to be Seminary trained with greater freedom in the 1980s. We’ve observed the impact of our own surrounding cultures on how the church views women and men. New generations of men want their wives, daughters, and colleagues to thrive as full Kingdom participants. And the church is recognizing a renewed urgency in the battle against evil as it is more exposed in an increasingly connected world.
And so, there is new momentum for the church in difficult places. Is God’s Spirit moving with corrective intent to usher in a new age of gospel success where we need and want all hands-on-deck? We would all agree that when there is a crisis or a battle raging, nobody cares who does what for the benefit of victory – and rightly so! We need every person to contribute fully into the need right where they are and with what they have. And NOW. So what does this mean for us as men and women in the intensifying battle for God’s Kingdom on earth?
The issue of how men and women relate to God and to each other is an issue of wide disparity in position and practice within the North American inerrancy camp, with wide implications for the planting and maturing of the local churches at home and abroad. In the coming months, we plan to offer a weekly series of articles intended take a deeper look at what the issues are in practice and in conviction regarding men and women in ministry (and the many inconsistencies that tend to exist between them no matter where you fall on the spectrum). The greatest hope we have for radical gospel living is that, as God’s people, we most want to walk in God’s truth, wherever it might lead us! And momentum is picking up . . .
Increasing numbers of Christian organizations are embracing the opportunity to better accomplish their mission by seeking women to fulfill a variety of roles for which women have traditionally been over-looked in our North American culture. While our commitment to God’s Word is paramount, we are recognizing and stewarding the talents of women that have been buried or neglected to the crippling of our Great Commission efforts (and the pleasure of our Master.) In so doing, we are strengthening the contribution of our brothers who are meant to be helped by our partnership, rather than bearing the weight of burdens that were meant to be shared, missing opportunities they can’t see without their sisters.
This dawning is shining a light, not only on the untapped giftedness of women, but also on the vulnerability and abuse of women in many cultures around the world – in which we are planting churches and training pastors to nurture redeemed Kingdom people. Men and women both are intended to grow distinct from violent worldly practices and into fruitful godly identities. A new light is shining on both the giftedness and the suffering of women – and what’s at stake for both women and men in embracing a robust movement to restore God’s Image in His people.
In this series, we will attempt to untangle a wide variety of issues in digestible pieces (one-pagers.) Some articles will be related to how and why we embrace different theological positions as those who hold a very high view of Scripture and have done serious work to understand it. Some articles will unpack our actual practices related to that theology (that can be different between us even when we say we hold the same position) so we can address our inconsistencies and unlock our potential. Some articles will explore the actual experiences of men and women in the Body of Christ (and the Scripture as well) who have addressed tension around their calling and their culture, and where it has led them.
The many tentacles of this formational issue reach into every human relationship and purpose that we experience. New momentum is building for the witness of the gospel as brothers and sisters in Christ show the world a quality and power of relationship that is radical in respect, humility, and partnership. In the articles to follow, we’ll explore this vision!