Let women speak (Part Four)

As a complementarian, I believe that men and women have been created equally but have been given different roles in the church and in the home. Therefore, as a complementarian who takes the Bible seriously I want to honour what it teaches. This series started in 2019 with this post, it was a result of me realising afresh that women weren’t being given the opportunities that they should be given to speak in Christian circles. I reposted the blog on my social media a few weeks back and was asked to expand on some of the reasons why women probably don’t speak much. I gave three reasons…

  1. Women haven’t been asked to speak
  2. Women have been taught that they must always be silent 
  3. Women might think that they can’t contribute anything worthwhile.

So let’s dig into that third reason…

Having a church culture where women are silent, whether they are taught that or not, runs the danger of women thinking that their contributions are not worthwhile. Churches should want to see women equipped and enabled to serve and contribute in every area that they see fits with the Bible. There are churches where the minister is the only one who leads, or is involved in, the service from up front. I don’t agree with that approach, but I’m not here to throw stones and I haven’t actually met many people who would argue for that. However, I’ve met a lot of people who by default practice that approach.

Letting women speak in church involves much more than just letting them pray or read in a service though. Letting women speak and be involved means much more than letting them mind the children or give out tea and coffee. It means actively encouraging them to speak and contribute because they, like every Christian, have worth, value and experience that the church should learn from.

  1. Men and women are of equal worth
    The Bible makes no distinction in terms of worth and dignity between a man and a woman. In Genesis 1 God makes Adam and Eve in His own image, it does not say that Adam was made in the image of God whilst Eve wasn’t. But still the way some churches and Christians act, it is as if they believe that men are of greater worth than women. This is played out by not listening to women’s concerns, or ideas about the future of the church. If the church is made up of at least 50% women, then surely they should also be consulted about where the church is going. I believe that the oversight of the church and the teaching of God’s Word are roles reserved for men, however, women should be consulted and listened to when considering moving forward. Why? Because they are daughters of God who have spent time in His Word, who know, serve and love the Lord. Men and women are of equal worth so let women speak!

  2. Men and women have been given different roles within the church
    I see the roles of preaching, teaching and spiritual oversight to be reserved for men. However, I don’t think that these should be done in isolation. Elders should seek the Lord and plan practically on what to preach and how to glorify God as the church moved forward. Listening to the voice of women will benefit you immensely, I definitely have benefitted from many women’s wise words over the years. The church I currently serve in is not a voting church, but we would ask the opinion of members before decisions are made to gauge where the members are and to listen to their wisdom. In sermon prep, I’ve benefitted massively from women inputting into my sermon and asking questions of the text that I maybe wouldn’t have considered. On top of that my wife listens to every one of my sermons and her feedback always, ALWAYS, makes them better. If your in ministry, get into this habit of asking women for the input and their thoughts. Men and women may have been given different roles in the church, but they each have their own thoughts and experiences.

  3. Men and women both learn about the Lord and have experiences worth contributing to the Church
    Every single member of the body of Christ has their own experience and past with the Lord. There are so many women who have spent years in their Bible, years on their knees before the Lord and have seen the Lord do wonderful things in their lives and the lives of others. If church leaders do not listen to such experience and depth of knowledge, they will create a culture where silence rules and the pew may become empty because the church has become a one man show. Learning from the experience of other saints not only helps the church, but it also helps you grow as an individual. I have spent time with older saints and their stories of how God has worked in their lives are always a source of encouragement and joy. Don’t rob the church, or your own private life, of learning from the experience of other Christians.

  4. Women should be encouraged to teach other women, in practice and by example
    In Titus 2 older women are told to teach younger women. The same goes for men. However, from my experience churches happily train men to do this, but not so much women. We’re all called to teach those younger than us from our own experience and to point them to Jesus. This is important because many women are gifted and able to teach, but they aren’t told where or how they can use such gifts for the upbuilding of the body of Christ. One of the dangers of not letting women speak is that this robs younger girls the opportunity to see godly women at work in front of the church and in the discipleship relationship. Women should be walking, talking examples to younger women of how to use their gifts for the Kingdom. So let women serve, so that they can encourage the next generation of women to serve too.

This series could go on and on. I also realise that I am a man speaking about issues that pertain to the church and women. There are plenty of others, far more capable than I, who have contributed to this relevant and important topic. But I hope my ramblings have been interesting to you.

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