I used to work for a church that went through the tedious process of changing the church bylaws to allow for the full participation of women in ministry, including in the role of senior pastor. But when it came time for a pastoral search, the church sent out a job description containing only masculine pronouns. When I asked why this was the case given that the bylaws allowed for female candidates, I was told that the bylaws do allow for a woman to be hired, but they had decided to hire a man. They were not even taking applications from women.
Recently, I was looking through the website of a friend’s church. The pastoral staff consisted only of men, and all of the numerous online sermons were preached by men. I asked one of the pastors about this, and he assured me that both he and the lead pastor held egalitarian views, and fully supported the equality of women in all levels of church leadership and in the home.
Then he told me some of the logistical reasons for the lack of female presence in their leadership, and said that they have made an effort to have women preach, but haven’t been able to accomplish it yet.
I also went to a worship service at the church of another male pastor I know. He holds to egalitarian theology as well. There was not a single woman present in the leadership of that service. The pastor, associate pastor, scripture readers, and the entire musical worship team were all men. When I asked him about this, he explained some of the logistical reasons for this, and assured me that this wasn’t the case every week. However, it is also true that there is never a week when there are no men up front.
In the case of the first church, they claimed to be egalitarian in their bylaws, but in reality, they are not. They did not even consider a female pastoral candidate, and assured none would apply by the wording of the job description. In the cases of the second two churches, I know these pastors personally, I appreciate both of them, and they have been very encouraging to me and many other people I know.
I am thankful for them and for their voices, but I need them to speak up. The church needs them to speak up.
We need male egalitarian pastors to push through the logistics and work towards the inclusion of women, because of churches like the first, that choose not to.
We need them to give their congregations sound Biblical teaching on the inclusion of women in church leadership, because of the Acts 29 movement, which is actively recruiting men and training men to plant churches that are led only by men.
We need male egalitarian pastors to seek out the voices of women to preach from the pulpit because of the silencing of the voices of women for far too long.
We need them to speak up because of the many called and gifted women who are pushed out of their ministry positions, or denied the opportunity to even apply for a job.
We need male egalitarian pastors to teach their view regularly from the pulpit, in small groups, and in classrooms.
We need them to prepare their churches to interview both men and women when they eventually leave.
We need male egalitarian pastors to raise up women from their congregations, to seek out those who are hiding their gifts because they don’t feel confident or supported.
We need them to make sure this is taught to the girls and boys in their Sunday schools and youth groups.
And we need male egalitarian pastors to go the extra mile to overcome logistical issues, so that we can hear what God is teaching our women.
A friend of mine recently posted a quote from a MAN who supported women in ministry. A commenter immediately dismissed the quote as being from “an angry woman.” This is why we need men to speak up. It’s a battle for the church, and a battle for God’s kingdom. And the voices of women, too often, aren’t heard.
We need you, brothers.