By Joshua Brandt
A while back, I received an e-mail from one of my friends. She was concerned about a church she was checking out online. This church made it very clear that they did not support women in leadership, especially as pastors. She could not believe it. She asked, “Don’t they know it is 2016?”
A four-year-old from our church was recently told by a preschool classmate that she could never be a pastor because she is a girl. We can almost hear someone ask, “Isn’t it 2016?”
A few weeks ago, my social media feeds were full of the joy-filled faces of recent Anderson University School of Theology graduates. Many of the women who have proudly completed their degree know that the real work is just beginning. I hear myself saying, “I thought this was 2016.”
The question is understandable. We look around at all of the issues facing the church. We see all of the consistent change happening in our culture. We fall on our knees wondering how God will use this season in our country. We know that the world is different. It seems to some that women in leadership is just one more rallying cry for change.
It is not.
I have been called many things over the years—a maverick, cutting-edge, and an outsider. I take joy in my ability to see trends and respond to them. I desire to be a person who is open to bringing about transformation in the lives of people and the church. However, I want you to know that being a supporter of women in leadership is one of my most conservative values.
The cry being heard from an increasing number of men and women in our tribe, in our movement, is not a demand for change. It is a call to remember. Yes, it is a call to remember who we are. To remember that our tribe has been calling women into leadership over and over again for over thirteen decades. It is perhaps too easy to say this discussion is closed. The experiential evidence abounds.
I think that argument can be too modern, too contemporary. Instead our radical commitment to women in leadership is directly tied to our commitment to the truth of Scripture. I understand that there is, and perhaps always be, discussion over “problem passages” in the New Testament regarding women in leadership. We must ask ourselves what advantage there is in advocating for a view of those passages which would limit women in leadership or remove them altogether. I see no advantage for women.
I am committed to women and men leading the church because I believe it is the holistic witness of Scripture. Not because it is progressive. I take this stand because it is biblical.
Perhaps it is time to take this discussion more personally. To sit in coffee shops and tell our stories to each other. To search Scripture together. It is worth the effort to hear and value one another. Why? Our ability to powerfully spread the gospel is at stake.
I would love to sit and talk this through with you. Perhaps you have felt alone in your conviction about women in ministry. Give me a call. Let’s talk it through. Maybe you have been supportive, but have not yet taken action. I would love to hear from you. And you might just be convinced that I am wrong. I look forward to hearing from you. Maybe we can help each other be better.
Joshua Brandt was primarily raised by his mother and grandma. He and his wife Laura are raising three girls and a sheltie named Charlea (who is also a girl). When he steps into the offices of The Gathering, he is surrounded by women leaders who are advancing the kingdom. His church is full of sons and daughters of God who are working together to impact Muncie, Indiana, and the surrounding area. He is a better leader, a better person, because of all the women leaders in his life. For contact information, visit www.thegatheringmuncie.org. Article originally published by Indiana Ministries. Republished by permission.