I just finished reading a whole lot of books about women in leadership in the church. The reasoning behind my rush of research was because I have finally been convicted of the need to 'land' somewhere in this debate. For years, I've been content to not know what I think about women leading alongside men in the church... but now, as I'm being put forth as a pastoral candidate at our church, I finally needed to decide. Is it OK? Is it biblical to call a woman into a pastoral role? Or this role reserved for men?
As long as I didn't know, I didn't have to risk the possibility of being told that I will not be a pastor. As long as I wasn't certain that the call that I've heard was also confirmed in scripture, then I could deal with the possibility that our community may not be ready to accept a woman. But, as Geoff told me, I was simply resisting an opportunity for sanctification. I was refusing to move forward on the road of faithfulness... and so I had to decide.
So I went away for 24 hours and I read and I prayed. And I was really surprised to find that the old idea of women being inferior beings actually has a root in my soul. I was reading Sarah Sumner's book, Men and Women in the Church, when I was overwhelmed by the reality that I have truly believed that I should not be in a leadership position because I am actually inferior to men. I know I'm not alone in that unconscious belief... because I see it manifested in the way many of us, as women, function in our relationships with men in the church.
But the Lord is gracious... and He is helping me to experientially inhabit the truth that I am equal to men, equally created to bear his image, equally called to be a steward of the earth, and equally called to know Christ and to make Him known. And that is the first step on the road to understanding my role in leadership...