I am in the place right now where I've been a little back and forth about whether or not I should do this post, but here we are, so let's go :)
I've been attending a multi-site megachurch for approximately three and a half years now, and since I'm being honest, I am going to admit to you, the reader of this post, that I feel as if I have been tricked. Better yet, I feel as if I have just come to the realization that all of this time I have been just another number. Another number to count in weekly reports for attendance and small group leadership. Another number to tell someone rather too proudly where I attend church, my chest swelling just a little too high with pride. You get the idea.
There have been a few things over the past seven or eight months that have really caused me to pause and I'll just list them out here and then I will circle back around and will dig deeper and create a single post for each one over the course of the next few weeks. I've taken into consideration what mega-church life is like across the board, not just at my church, and I've noticed some similar themes amongst them that I'd like to discuss in the upcoming weeks.
*Women to preach to a full congregation in the position of an elder.
*Being highly seeker-driven.
*Being highly purpose-seeking/purpose-driven.
*Uses the terms "communicator" and "pastor" interchangeably.
What's scary for me as a believer, and having the wisdom to be God-fearing is this: the strong possibility of an entire generation of students being taught incorrectly (we have a really high number of students attending services regularly).
So, prior to my attending my church, I never really thought twice about the idea of women preaching. Honestly, I never thought about it because church, Jesus and anything related were not on my radar. This is not to say that I wouldn't classify myself as a Christian at this time, but in my walk now, I can easily look back and see that I was lost.
I'm actually a huge reader, and being that there are many women writers who have in essence been turned into speakers as they travel and publicize their books, I've seen some of them transform even further and become communicators who come in and speak to churches on Sunday, since the context of their books is biblical. While I think that an author has the okay to travel and do book signings and lectures about their books, in my journey to knowing Jesus better, I have learned that this is completely different than a woman who seeks to teach women about the bible through her books. While it is fine for her to lecture and teach her female audience, she is overstepping her boundaries when she becomes a guest speaker for a mixed congregation or during a Sunday service with the same goal of teaching in mind. I know this is hugely controversial in the Church today, but God's word says women doing this is wrong, in multiple verses.
1 Timothy 2:8-15, I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness - with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing - it they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
1 Timothy 3:1-2, 4 and 12, The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospital, able to teach
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive
Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.
Titus 1:5-6, This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you - if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
1 Corinthians 11:5-10, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
1 Corinthians 14:34, the woman should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.
It is important to understand that God has an order for our homes and our churches, which is God's family, and his house (1 Timothy 3:15). In God's hierarchy, God the Father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the Church, and a husband is the head of his home and is the image and glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:3). In order to follow God's hierarchy of authority, it is important to know that while the family is led by the man, so should be the congregation of a church, hence having male elders who are above reproach. So where do women fit in?
It took me hosting a small group and really digging into a woman's role to fully understand my place. Do I think I'm inferior to my husband? No. Do I think he is better than me? No. Do I think I should accept abuse in the name of being submissive in either an emotionally, verbally or physical sense? No. Absolutely not, and you shouldn't either. At age thirty-three (oh vey!!!), I can easily say that my generation is one with just a little more entitlement than generations past. This is not to categorize everyone, I'm strickly talking about myself and those that I know, but many of us have grown up since Kindergarten with teachers, parents, friends and basically everyone, telling us that we can grow up to be whatever we want, make as much money as our favorite celebrities on television and make our own path in life. Could this be true? Absolutely! I think with hard work and determination, anyone can grow into being just about anything they desire. But where many of us fall short at some point is by thinking that we can achieve these goals and live these dreams without acknowledging what God's word says. At the end of the day you are either living for yourself or living for God. Which one are you living for?
There are many popular women writers right now who have published books and classify themselves as bible teachers. I think this is awesome! I am on the journey to doing this myself. There are many young women who need mentorship and leadership and there is this dynamic between women where we battle each other, sometimes seemingly thinking that one woman getting ahead will effect the reaching of our own dreams of successes. This is SO NOT TRUE! But this is a whole other blog post (coming soon!). What concerns me about women bible teachers teaching full (mixed) congregations is this: Can you trust a teacher who teaches from a holy book when they are in direct violation of said book? I don't think so. I've heard some women (and men for that matter) say that they have a calling to be in a pastoral position. While God's word doesn't say that a pastor has to have a special calling to become a pastor, Paul does say in 1 Timothy 3:1, "Here is a trustworthy saying: if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task." Paul doesn't say that if you want to be a pastor that you should receive a supernatural call from God. He is outright saying that if anyone wants to be a pastor, he (notice the gender he chose) desires a good thing. Below are a few qualifications of a pastor...
A Pastor Must Be:
1) An example: (1 Peter5:3),
2) Respectable: (1 Timothy 3:7),
3) Spiritually Mature: (1 Timothy 3:6),
4) Able to Teach: (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:9),
5) Hospitable: (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8),
6) Gentle without a Quick Temper: (Ttus 1:7 and Timothy 3:3)
7) Devoted to his wife: (Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2)
So I look at this list, and while a woman may very well be able to teach, be well respected in her community and be hospitable, she cannot be spiritually mature if she is violating God's word and in regard to God's definition of marriage, her being devoted to her wife wouldn't apply. Looking at this list I also see that women in the bible have taught (Priscilla with Apollos, Miriam and Deborah and even women who publicly prophesied in the Book of Acts in the New Testament Church), which leads me to the belief that while our role should not lead us to be a head of a church, we are all called to spread the gospel, doing this in a way where we teach younger women and women in general, and teach under the authority of a male elder and never overstep our role as a woman where we teach in the place of an elder, or in an elder-type role.
What do you think?