I made a quip on Facebook a few months ago that was born out of our frustration in trying to find a church home in our new area. It seems like every church around here is pretty much a carbon copy of all of the others. You can look at the staff page and guess who is what position just by the pictures. The pastor is always a male with facial hair in his late 30s to late 40s. The worship pastor is always the youngest, hippest looking guy. The oldest looking guy is always the Pastor of Education (or some variation of that). And any women in the mix are always, always children’s “leaders” of some kind (and never children’s “pastors”).
I said something to the effect of wishing that I could find a church with a dude for a children’s pastor, a female head pastor, and a horribly un-hip old guy for the worship pastor.
We visited one church near us that looked promising, but the pastor quoted Mark Driscoll and then started making fun of people for their reasons for why they leave church. Yeah, real compassion there.
But not more than a block away from that church, we found a church with a female head pastor. And several other women on staff – even one as the pastor of education. That one alone will make the blood of most evangelical fundamentalists boil.
I can’t say we will or won’t join this church, because the most important factor for us in a church is connecting with the people in a way that forms solid friendships. That doesn’t always happen no matter how good the Church is. And this is not a bad thing, its just a part of life. Some people connect well and others don’t. Its best to find relationship over theology.
But this is the first time that I have ever heard a female head pastor speak. And her husband was in the row next to us. So its not like this was some weird deal where this denomination was low on leaders and so the wife led a “sister congregation” under her “husband’s authority.”
This was not a woman that was allowed to speak because she had a special message for women that men wouldn’t mind hearing. This wasn’t a church that releases women to speak as a long a male is the main person in charge (no matter what title he gives himself).
This was honest-to-goodness, true, real equality in a church. It was very moving. Very beautiful. Anyone that really honestly thinks that women are in some way not designed to lead, to teach, to preach a sermon (and not just on “women’s topics”) – I challenge you to visit this church. Or any other church that has ordained a women as head pastor.
You will walk into a situation where you truly know that everyone is valued equally. That there are no rules or flowcharts for half the people there to figure out their place. That anyone can really learn from anyone, that everyone is a minister, that everyone is equally loved and accepted.
To reinforce the point, I was going down the list of staff on the bulletin. Right in the middle it had this entry:
Every Church Member – minister
Yeah, its a little cheesy, but it still makes a point on what they value. How do you become a member? Fill out a small slip of paper and bring it to the front at the end of the service. Your profession of faith is enough.
Oh,and for the doubters, the service wasn’t frilly, or girlie, or sissy, or any other word you might hear coming from your typical Driscoll/Piper SuperManlyMan Jesus®©™ type person. It was a just…. human. And holy. Which was a nice respite from the flood of testosterone-inducted mega-services we had been to lately.