“So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
— Genesis 1:17 (TNIV)
Very often, our perspectives on the relationship between gender and Christian leadership take shape around a few seemingly poignant texts in the New Testament (Acts 2, 1 Cor. 11, 1 Tim 2, 1 Peter 3, Gal. 3, etc.). All of these texts, however, find their fullest meaning when set in the perspective of the grand narrative of the Bible – from creation to re-creation. Sadly, a “creational” framework is seldom employed when it comes to questions and conversation about gender and leadership.
Additionally, we know that many church leaders across North America (men and women alike) are asking questions about “women in ministry.” Some operate within systems and structures in which the answers to these questions are so sacrosanct that they don’t feel safe even asking the questions. Others operate within systems and structures that are so orientated toward cultural accommodation, they aren’t even sure where or how to have this kind of conversation on biblical and theological levels.
For all these reasons and still others, we see hosting presentations and discussions on the topic of “gender and leadership” as an important part of our work – one that has the potential to greatly impact the shape of our mission-focused thinking and practice.
This week, we want to create a space for questions and discussion on this issue of “gender and leadership.”
- How has your thinking and practice with regard to “gender and leadership” been shaped?
- What resources have been most valuable to you in engaging this topic?
- What challenges do you see facing the Church on this front?
And to help set the stage, we hope you’ll download and listen to this workshop featuring presentations by Cherith Fee-Nordling and Fred Harrell. They share their own experiences of thinking (and rethinking!) about this issue and seek to offer theological and pastoral wisdom out of their own stories.
This workshop will address the issue of women in ministry. We will share personal stories of our own theological and pastoral developments with regard to this issue and offer fresh theological perspectives for changing the way this debate often unfolds. Time will be given for questions and dialogue related to engaging this issue personally as well as in community with specific attention given to issues of Church leadership.
The audio download of this workshop is available HERE and is available for free all day today, 7/29/13 (discount automatically applied when you add the workshop to your cart).
More resources by Cherith Fee-Nordling are here. Others featuring Fred Harrell are here.
Missio Alliance Comment Policy
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. From our Leading Voices to our regular Writing Team and those invited to publish with us as Community Voices, we are creating a space for thoughtful engagement of critical issues and questions facing the North American Church in God’s mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles.
Unfortunately, because of the relational distance introduced by online communication, “thoughtful engagement” and “comment sections” seldom go hand in hand. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse. As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:
1. Seek to understand the author’s intent.
If you disagree with something the an author said, consider framing your response as, “I hear you as saying _________. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, here’s why I disagree. _____________.
2. Seek to make your own voice heard.
We deeply desire and value the voice and perspective of our readers. However you may react to an article we publish or a fellow commenter, we encourage you to set forth that reaction is the most constructive way possible. Use your voice and perspective to move conversation forward rather than shut it down.
3. Share your story.
One of our favorite tenants is that “an enemy is someone whose story we haven’t heard.” Very often disagreements and rants are the result of people talking past rather than to one another. Everyone’s perspective is intimately bound up with their own stories – their contexts and experiences. We encourage you to couch your comments in whatever aspect of your own story might help others understand where you are coming from.
In view of those suggestions for shaping conversation on our site and in an effort to curate a hospitable space of open conversation, Missio Alliance may delete comments and/or ban users who show no regard for constructive engagement, especially those whose comments are easily construed as trolling, threatening, or abusive.