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Here are 5 practices of a church culture that seeks to empower and invest in women, based on what I’m learning through current experience and being graciously taught about the church’s largely unheeded role in the development of women.

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The oppression of women spans centuries and borders. In virtually every country and culture in the world, women have less-than-equal status to men and they are often relegated to subservient and submissive roles. Women suffer from domestic violence, job barriers, lack of control over their bodies, and fewer options for healthcare. They often do not have a voice in matters as broad as politics or as narrow as what happens within their own families. 

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Mary of Bethany believed Jesus. She trusted him. She took him seriously. She saw and heard him. She refused to abandon him even when it meant entering into his trauma with him.

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I once wholly believed in a patriarchal view—not only believed it, but lived it. I didn’t care if it didn’t feel good, I cared about obeying God.

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Complementarianism framed our world, even before we knew what it was called. Yet the practice of complementarianism troubled us. It troubled us so much that we finally decided to challenge it. The Making of Biblical Womanhood tells this story.

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In Phil 4:2–3, Paul exhorts two women, Euodia and Syntyche, to “pursue the same mindset in the Lord.” Unfortunately, he does not offer enough detail to confirm the exact nature of this request.

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“The problem of patriarchy in the church is the problem of male as norm,” charged British author Elaine Storkey at a recent meeting of CBE in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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