Originally posted on 8-26-2016
In many evangelical churches today, there are no women on the church staff. The reason for this is understandable, “men are to lead the church” in the role of Elder/Shepherd. This would include the pastoral staff as well as the ruling elders. Women’s ministry is usually an afterthought of men thinking the women need something to do. Therefore it is left to a group of women volunteers to put together events that attract the women of the church. A woman on staff, however, has value for the church. A woman on staff promotes the health of the church body, both men and women.
Before you stop reading because you think I am a rebellious woman, I want you to know that I believe in male leadership. It is biblical. I also believe in the creation account. In Genesis 2:18 we read, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” This is the statement made by God when he created the female. The man needed someone like him to help him as he lived out his life. This help, however, has to go beyond marriage because not everyone is married. There is still a purpose ordained by God for single women. It only makes sense then that this help extends to the spiritual, as male and female serve God side by side.
A woman on the church staff provides opportunities for this spiritual help to male leadership to take place. I have enjoyed the privilege of being on my church staff since 1989. I have served as the Children’s Ministry Director and currently as the Women’s Ministry Director. It has been a humbling and a real growing experience for me. I have learned so much over the years but along with that I have been able to help. There are times when one of the male leadership needs to hear my thoughts on a subject. There was a time when we were discussing the idea of foot washing around the staff table. I simply said, “What about panty hose?” and the discussion ended. There are times when I can help with a large program or project. Most recently I have worked alongside one of our associate pastors to organize a counseling seminar. I am glad that my church has seen the value of men and women learning and growing together.
Another reason to have a woman on staff is that the average church membership contains more women than men. In our own church, we are around 55% women. This tells us that a woman’s voice needs to be heard at the leadership level. Women have different points of view which need to be brought before our male leadership. This is not stating she is always right but rather there are times when her input would be valuable for the health of the entire church. What are the women of the church thinking concerning ______________? You can fill in that blank when there is a greater connection with the female membership. Women will share with other women things they would never share with a man, especially one in leadership. Women may discuss the leadership of the church, the direction of the youth, the impact of the church in the community or the role they can have in making a difference in the church. These things will rarely be brought up by a woman to the male leadership.
Let’s talk counseling. I believe that women should counsel women. This is so crucial. The obvious reason is the guarding of both the pastor’s heart and the woman’s heart. It is so easy in an intimate counseling setting to begin to get too close and that is dangerous. My pastor will see a woman on a one time basis but if long-term counseling is required, he turns her over to me. This is wisdom. Another reason, women should counsel women, is women face issues with which other women can relate. These issues can be physical or emotional. Women will more readily share about menopause or body issues with another woman. Not only that but women hear another woman’s counsel with more acceptance than when the same counsel comes from a man. For instance, a wife may hear the words, “submit to your husband”, from her pastor and become angry thinking he did not hear her. This same wife can receive the same words from a woman and listen long enough to learn how to submit.
We also need women on staff for “Fluff Prevention”. What is that? It is the advancement of theology for women and the prevention of superficial material being taught. Our women love theology. One of the reasons they do is because there is someone on staff who works hard at promoting the study of theology for women. This love for theology in our church was a progressive journey we have been on together. I am so saddened by the number of women’s ministries in churches that are full of shallow activities and lacking in the study of God. A woman on staff can set the tone for the women of the church by striving to grow in theology and then passing it on. This really goes back to being a helper. We cannot be good helpers if we do not fill ourselves.
I believe that men and women working alongside each other in the church is biblical and necessary. After all in the Kingdom, that’s exactly how it will be so let’s begin to practice now. The health of the church depends on it.