Answers to "Ask Mike"
10. How does the Christian Church view women in the church? What leadership roles exist for women?
Churches that take the Bible seriously continue to wrestle with these questions. Some congregations take a narrow hard line view. Others are more open. Canton's First Christian Church leans toward the latter.
Hard line congregations generally hold that women should take no leadership role in the church. They are not allowed to teach adult classes unless they are gender specific classes for women. Women are permitted to teach children and lead other groups for women.
Open congregations accept women in nearly every congregational role. In some evangelical churches women serve as preachers, elders, and in most other roles. Many main-line and charismatic denominations take the position that God's gifting is not gender specific. For them, a woman may serve in whatever way God has gifted her. To refuse to do so, they say, would be to assume authority God has not given.
First Christian Church believes God permits women to serve and lead in many capacities. Our understanding of Scripture, however, designates two roles which women may not fill: Pulpit Minister and Elder. Women serving on the full time staff generally are designated "Director of..." rather than "Minister." In our Ministry System, women may and do facilitate ministries. Women serve as Ministry Leaders for Adult Bible Fellowships and may, if appointed and approved, teach adults. There are cultural, but no biblical hindrances for women to participate in receiving the offering or serve the Lord's Supper. In addition, women serve equally with men on various Ministry Teams. We appreciate the contributions women make to our Youth and Children's Divisions, Music Department, Greeters' Ministry, and other highly visible areas of service.
One last thought. Leadership at First Christian Church is not viewed in terms of "authority" but "service." Jesus said, "He who would be greatest among you must become the servant of all." No male or female who seeks to usurp the church's designated leadership or who is "pushy" or "demanding" should be accepted into leadership.
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