I was recently invited to a women’s meeting by a neighbor whom I was just getting to know and wanting to encourage in her Christian life. This friend really enjoys these meetings and the fellowship of other Christian women there, and she wanted to share this with me. On arrival, I noticed a couple there whom I knew from our district and a man (of the couple) who was attending to the overhead projector. I assumed he was there for technical support. After the meeting I asked my neighbor about why this man was there that night, and she replied that he was there every week.
I didn’t press the issue at that point, but the next day I looked on the internet for this particular group of women’s ministries and discovered that they always have an ‘advisor’ at their gatherings. I found this rather odd, and so I emailed the group to ask why it was deemed necessary to have a male advisor present at every meeting. The lady who replied said that it was in order to give a male perspective, offer support and provide a ‘covering’ for the meetings. I then pursued this thought and asked if there was a female ‘advisor’ present at any men’s meetings they might have and I was told that a men’s chapter does exist. They are not required to have female advisors, but they are responsible to the national board’s advisors. When I asked how they came to this reasoning about women needing an advisor present, I was told that in the beginning ‘God put it on the hearts of the women’ that this was what they should do, and that I had to finish my conversation at that point, or I would have been seen to be arguing with God’s direction. I really wanted some biblical reasons for the practice and yet they were not forthcoming.
I am amazed that there are hundreds of these groups in dozens of countries and that presumably all those attending and in membership are happy with this arrangement.