Thoughtful Boldness

Thoughtful Boldness on God's Love and Grace

Women in Ministry!

One of the things that I have done in my life is to be the Executive Director of a small non profit organization advocating for women’s issues in religion. The organization was called WITNESS, and it came into being through the work of Rev. Diane Maodush-Pitzer when she taught at Western Theological Seminary .  This little organization had it’s offices on the campus of Hope College, right across the lawn from Western Seminary.  (In the basement of  the beautiful Dimnent Chapel to be specific!)  While WITNESS is no longer in operation, and her website is no longer up, I have gathered together many of those resources that I created for that organization and I will make them available here:

* I Suffer Not A Woman to Teach
Ever hear of this passage in 1 Timothy used to limit women’s leadership in the church?  It means something rather different when you read it in the context of the city of Ephesus, the people it was written to.

* 12 Scriptural Examples of Women in Leadership
What were those women in the Bible up to?  Were they just standing on the sidelines cheering on their men?  Nope. God has been using women as leaders to build up the Kingdom of God for a very long time. Here are some examples of women leaders that everyone should follow.

When I was taking classes at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI in 1999 – 2000,  I did an independent study with the Women’s Leadership Institute, the signature program of WITNESS. In addition to our readings and monthly retreats, each woman in the program had to create and implement a project.  My project was to organize and host a weekly lunch gathering for female Seminary students and to facilitate our discussions.   I called it, The Women’s Leadership Lunch, and we met at the Kletz, the student union cafe on Hope College’s campus.  During our discussions as female seminary students we all wondered what ministry in the churches had been like for the female students who had graduated from Western Theological Seminary before us.  So I decided to do a survey.  I wrote up the survey, got it approved by the Seminary and got the mailing list of all of the female graduates from the WTS alumni office.  A faculty member hearing about the project paid for the postage out of his own pocket.  The surveys came back filled with lots of comments and stories.  It took some time to type them all up and to do some basic analysis of the data.  The final survey results are above.

Here is some of the archeological evidence for women being ordained as Presbyters (priests).

Want to inspire the woman pastor in your life?  The Girls Can’t What?  Site has some awesome art you can get on a t-shirt!

Also I found this good article the other day by Frank Viola.  It is an open letter pdf Reimagining Women’s Role in the Church.  It is an easily readable and very accessible 20 page article about women in ministry.  The best organization today working on Women in the Church issues is of course  Christians for Biblical Equality.  They have tons of great literature and articles on their website.