Convention Reflections: Women's Role in Ministry

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The last few conferences I have been to have included something called a panel, and can I just say they have all impacted me in some way. If you have never seen a panel, it is a group of individuals being led by someone asking them particular questions on a particular topic. The Southern Baptist Convention was no different (see image above).

Over the few days of the Convention, they had multiple panels on different topics. One of these topics was complementarianism. Now don’t be scared away by the use of this word. Complementarianism is the view that men and women equally bear the image of God but that God formed men and women to perform different roles and assignments in the marriage, church leadership, etc. We are all equally God’s children, but God created men to do some things that women can’t and vice versa.

So, you may be asking what is the big deal and why am I taking the time to write a blog post about this? It is because there are different ways that people view complementarianism. Some would take the side that only men can teach in a mixed group setting. They would say men should be the only ones addressing the church and would close the door to any teaching role for women. Others allow women to address the church in a teaching role but not in an authoritative role, such as a pastor. This would be how Slater Baptist believes. Our church allows women on praise team to read Scripture during the services and even allows women to teach multi-gender classes, such as Crossroads.  

One of the biggest problems when it comes to complementarianism is how people respond. Many think of this idea in a fearful manner. They don’t really know how to react, so to be safe many will close the door to ministry for women. This is something that I realized and experienced 10 years ago when I felt called to the ministry. I didn’t know, at the time, what that would entail, but I knew that in some way God wanted me to intentionally serve him in some form or fashion. Then God led me to North Greenville University into a degree program that was predominately male students. I remember having multiple conversations about how I was going to college for a Christian Ministry degree and hearing the response, “What are you going to do with that? You can’t be a pastor.”

But this is not how we should look at complementarianism. We as a body of believers must remind ourselves that we all bear God’s image and must look at complementarianism with a tone of love. Don’t hear me saying women have the power to do whatever they want because this is not the case. We still must be wary to follow scripture, but we can’t minimize women as not being able to participate in serving Christ. There are many ways women can serve in the church.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:12 that, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” We as the church all have different roles to play and ways to serve. God has gifted us all in some way, shape, or form and we should use these gifts to bring honor to his name.

There are always ministry opportunities available. I would challenge you that if you are not serving in some way, speak to one of the leaders at Slater Baptist and we would love to help you meaningfully serve our congregation.

Savannah Watson