I’m really hoping to get some responses to this post! I am becoming convinced that I live in one of the most conservative and restrictive areas of the USA (Upstate SC) in regards to women in ministry in the local church. I’d like to develop a list of evangelical churches in my area that allow women more freedom to serve. My quest is not going well. I must emphasize that I’m not looking for fully egalitarian evangelical churches (one must be realistic!) but just churches that give women a little more freedom. Women may not be able to be elders or pastors, but women could do things like:
In a church service: Open or close the service in prayer. Do a Scripture reading. Give the announcements. Hold the communion elements. Be an usher. Collect the offering.
Outside of the church service: Be a deacon. Lead a mixed-sex adult Sunday school class, small group, or Bible study. Or have some type of position (besides working ONLY with kids/women or administrative work) such as being the director of a small group ministry.
Through facebook I put the word out – and the responses (and lack of responses) I got from people in my area confirmed that restrictions around here are typical, or that women themselves just have no desire to do such things and are not concerned. Not many women seem to be asking the questions I am asking…at least not among women that I know locally. (I do know many via the web!)
What surprised me was all the responses I got from other areas of the USA. People shared that while women can not be elders/head pastors – many other options are open to them and women are a more visible part of the church services. This is encouraging! Yet, it doesn’t help me locally. I believe the reason this area is so restrictive is the presence and influence of a certain Christian university.
This is not about debating the issue of women in ministry!! Rather, I am curious and want a broader survey of response than just facebook.
If you attend an evangelical church:
- What can women do at your church? Can they participate in the church service in various ways? Could they be a deacon, lead a mixed-sex adult Sunday school class or small group study? Or have a position at the church besides administrative or with kids/teens/women?
- And what area of the USA are you from? If you don’t want to tell me specifically where you are from, please just share the general area such as the Midwest or Northeast.
Thanks! [And just to clarify, there is nothing wrong with being a church secretary or working with kids or women! But even very strict churches will allow women to do these things – so I am in particular wanting to know of churches that allow women to do things besides those.]