Guys, my spidey senses are tingling. A video circulating the internet features a pastor in Florida claiming that male leadership is “the only kind of leadership.” Whew, thank goodness someone said it, because now I’m free from the burden of leading…?
In the video, he tells his church to not be afraid to go to a church with male leadership, and that “every church that’s right with God should have a sign claiming ‘Male Leadership.’ Because that’s the only kind of leadership, both from Adam all the way to the last part of the Bible. It’s all been male. This is a man’s world!”
I’m not going to link to this video because my aim here is not to draw attention to this man spewing nonsense, but to raise the flag that women, and diversity, are so so so very important in the church.
If you’re posting a sign outside your church lauding leadership by a specific group of people with a specific trait, you’re limiting the power of your church body. Not to mention promoting a stereotype of Christians as exclusive, sexist elitists.
Women play a key role in the history laid out in the Bible. Let’s start from the beginning and work our way to today.
- In Genesis, the original Hebrew wording describes Eve as a coworker of equal status to Adam.
- Miriam, the daughter of Aaron, was a prophet and one of the three leaders of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt.
- Esther married King Xerxes and used her logic and courage to hinder a planned slaughter of the Jewish people.
- Deborah was a prophet-judge and headed the army of ancient Israel.
- Jesus found fit to reveal his true identity as the Messiah to the woman at the well, who then ran back to her town to spread the word, leading many to Jesus and rebirth.
- Women were the first to find the empty tomb and bring the news to the other disciples.
Or maybe we can just look at our own competent, capable female leaders of today: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former First Lady, a U.S. Senator, and candidate for President of the U.S. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who currently serves on the U.S. Supreme Court. Mary McAleese is the President of the Republic of Ireland. Veronica Michelle Bachelet is the President of Chile. Sonia Gandhi is the President of the Indian National Congress and leader of the United Progressive Alliance.
Mind you, these are high profile leaders, and just a handful of the women leaders we have among us today. Embracing male and female co-leadership is vital because men and women are different in a lot of important ways. Creating a diverse, flourishing church means putting value on the different experiences that bring unique perspectives together. That means embracing both men and women of a variety of ages and races as members and leaders.
I shouldn’t feel lucky that my church community and my workplace embrace me as a leader and want me to grow in it. But I do, because of people like this pastor in Florida, and the old school thinking that women need to be quiet and have babies. Ugh. Why are we still talking about this? Why is this still a thing?
Jesus wasn’t about sameness, and he wasn’t about following the accepted norms of society. He broke barriers between men and women, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, elite and lower class. He broke the barrier between humanity and deity, for Pete’s sake. So if the biggest barrier of all is broken (between God and human), why are we still facing barriers for as women leaders?