One of the things I love about my denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, is their strong support of women in ministry. Change can be slow, however, and women called to pastoral ministry often find themselves walking a long, difficult path, even in denominations that support them.
That's why the ECC's Commission on Biblical Gender Equality is so important. The CBGE exists to “educate people in biblical equality regarding gender; to advocate for justice in the structure of the church regarding gender; to equip the church to articulate the truth about Biblical equality regarding gender; and to advocate for the modeling of women in ministry and leadership in all possible venues within the church.”
They also have a blog, featuring posts by champions of gender equality in the ECC, and I've gotten permission to share some of their posts here. I'd encourage you to hop over to the CBGE's website and check out their blog and all the great resources they have to offer.
This post is by Brian Wiele, pastor of River Ridge Covenant Church in Olympia, WA, and current CBGE chairperson.
Several weeks ago, my wife Linda noticed that a street sign by our home was bent. How did that happen, we wondered? It’s bent in the wrong direction to have been hit by a car. Could it have been the strong winds just a day or two before? It’s hard to believe, but that was our best guess, and we’re sticking with it.
We get uncomfortable with the idea of signs being blown about by the wind; those are supposed to be secure and firmly established – like many other dimensions of life, including believers in their faith. Jesus encourages us remain strong in the face of trials.
But there is another important wind in life that we should allow to move us in a new direction. The Holy Spirit is often likened to the wind; in fact, Jesus makes an important statement in this regard: The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Sometimes the Spirit asks us to be an advocate, “to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves”. (Proverbs 31:8) But too often we are so needful of security and stuck in our routine that we refuse to budge when He prompts us.
My desire is that women and girls will feel empowered by God to lead, speak, and serve. But a desire is not enough; it has to be matched by a willingness of others to speak up for them and to speak against unjust systems that hold them back. It is not enough to agree with a theological doctrine and then ignore someone whose life is impacted by it.
How might the Spirit be prompting you? Are you willing to be blown in a new direction, one where you speak up for someone? What role might God be calling you to play in advancing and advocating for the kingdom principles of love, mercy, and justice?