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Women in Ministry

Women often underestimate themselves. We minimize our abilities and authority because we’re conditioned to think that to be a woman is to be passive and insecure. We accept the lie that confidence is worthy of censure in women and cause for praise in men. Assertive women are often accused of being vain, proud, or deliberately rebellious. Observing this, many of us censor our words and actions to avoid appearing too aggressive or assertive. From a young age, bold girls are shamed for being “too bossy.” Strong women are punished for defying the patriarchal model for submissive womanhood. Tragically, some Christian women defend and bolster patriarchy and some even persecute strong women, labeling them arrogant and sinful. Some women choose to strengthen the existing patria... Read more
Recently, the Barna group came out with the news that 61% of Christian women “love Jesus but not the church.”[1] Why is that? Could it be because women have too often been denied influence and access?[2] Something is wrong with how we are (or aren’t) partnering together in our communities of faith across gender lines. And, without question, truly equal partnership has been a struggle in the church for centuries.  Which is part of what makes the story of Boniface and Lioba so remarkable.  Boniface, a seventh century Anglo-Saxon monk, was by all accounts a gifted leader. His achievements included founding monasteries, church reform, and promoting the Benedictine rule. Toward the end of his life, Boniface followed Jesus’ call to share the gospel in dangero... Read more
One of my recent tweets was liked 618 times and retweeted 145 times. Male pastor tears up, others applaud warmth Female pastor tears up, hears "Women are too emotional to lead"#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear — Dawn (@dgentry1905) April 19, 2017 I don’t mention this because the tweet itself was so significant, but only to call attention to the widespread interest in the hashtag #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear. Arise recently ran a whole series on this hashtag and many other pieces have appeared since then. Below are just a couple. "55 Things Only Christian Women Hear" "Christian Women On Twitter Unload About Misogyny In The Church" Now that a little time has passed, I want to reflect on some of the negative and/or unhelpful responses I o... Read more
“The 21st century agents of change—across the world—are women,” Dr. Salim Munayer announced in a slow, deliberate, hear-this-if-you-don’t-hear-anything-else voice at a conference. Dr. Munayer is an Arab Christian who grew up in Israel, a renowned missiologist, and an authority on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and reconciliation. Such an audacious and unforgettably empowering declaration from such an impressive man sent a shiver down to my toes. Not of trepidation; it was rather a jolt of conviction, responsibility, and courage. Boom! At the time, I was in the thick of nurturing a fledgling congregation. Talk about serving as a change agent! Women church planters are still a very, very small group amongst pastors, but there are at least five reasons the wor... Read more
This article is the second in a three-part series in response to the recent Twitter conversations on #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear and #ThingsChristianWomenShouldHear. Read Part 1: "3 Ways The Church Can Love Sexual Assault Survivors."  I read Sarah Bessey’s recent thread #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear with fascination. As I perused the comments, I was both amused by the absurdity of it all and grieved by the negative impact these sexist statements have on the community of God. This Twitter dialogue garnered so much attention that it was picked up by secular media, including the Huffington Post, which highlighted the ungodly comments and beliefs foisted upon women in many Christian circles. I have heard many #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear in church, women’s group... Read more
Sarah Rodriguez
This is the third installment in CBE’s celebratory series: Women’s History Wednesday. In our first installment, Rachel Asproth explored four strategies that patriarchal history has used to erase women. In our second installment, third installment, and in this installment, Sarah Rodriguez, a former CBE intern, will profile three subversive egalitarian women who bucked gender expectations to make history.  In shining a light on these women’s stories, we will defy patriarchy’s attempts to marginalize the historical contributions of women. Instead, we will unashamedly celebrate their courage and persistence. Last week, we wrote about the life and work of Jo Anne Lyon, the first female general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church. This week’s... Read more
Sarah Rodriguez
Today is the second Wednesday in Women’s History Month as well as International Women’s Day, a global event where we celebrate women’s social, economic, and cultural achievements. This is the second installment in CBE’s celebratory series: Women’s History Wednesday. In our first installment, Rachel Asproth explored four strategies that patriarchal history has used to erase women. The following three articles by Sarah Rodriguez, a former CBE intern, will profile three subversive egalitarian women who bucked gender expectations to make history.  In shining a light on these women’s stories, we will defy patriarchy’s attempts to marginalize the historical contributions of women. Instead, we will unashamedly celebrate their courage and persistenc... Read more
Recent revelations in the news and social media have once again highlighted the discriminatory and sometimes dangerous environments that women must navigate, both in the world and the church. Women expect to face discrimination and mistreatment in the world, but we hope to find comfort, shelter, and respect in the church. Too often, this is not the case. Too often, women are devalued in their church communities. They are told that their role is "equal but separate,” and they should only use their gifts under the authority of men. Too often, women are relegated to strictly supportive roles in the body of Christ rather than fairly considered for preaching, teaching, and leadership positions. Too often, women are pushed to the sidelines despite their clear gifts and cal... Read more
The author has asked that we publish this article anonymously for the sake of her work in an interdenominational ministry. Working in an interdenominational ministry setting is a saving grace when I am frustrated by the church’s politics, favoritism, and doctrinal stubbornness. I love working in ministries where churches unite, putting differences aside, to serve a community. It is such a beautiful picture of Christ’s vision for service and unity in the body. These settings are also usually a safe place for me to serve as a female egalitarian. In this setting, I can be reasonably confident that I will not receive a hurtful lecture on complementarian doctrine, because those serving with me are aware they are in an interdenominational setting. We all take care to stay on c... Read more
One of the biggest flaws in complementarian theology is that it relies on men rather than God to designate leaders and assign gifts. Complementarians forbid women to equally lead in marriage because they are convinced that male headship is God’s clear design for humanity. Some also believe women can't preach because God didn't design women to lead. On the other hand, some complementarians believe that women can preach and lead, as long as they are under the covering of a men—as if the covering of Jesus Christ isn't enough! But gender should have no part in determining who gets to lead and/or preach. Scripture says multiple times that the Spirit guides our words. Luke 12:12 says, "...because at that time the Holy Spirit will teach you w... Read more

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