Male – Female Leadership Roles
A college student who heard me speak recently in Texas wrote a kind letter asking me about my thinking on male/female leadership in the Churches of Christ. There are many reasons I attend a church in which women do not take an active leadership role, but here’s one of them in my response to her:
I have indeed had to mentally process this for years. Many, many people have tried to nudge me to take a more visible role of leadership. (You may have noticed that men who have heard me speak usually just crash the classes I’m teaching — and they’re usually older men, daring anyone to stop them.) They come because I have something to say, not because I’m such a hot speaker, I know.
But having gifts and abilities doesn’t mean that I should exercise them, I’ve concluded, in ways that don’t show submission. The older I get the more I treasure the example of Jesus in Philippians who gave up His inherent rights, in order to function as a servant. There’s nothing I give up, to be like Him, that He won’t reward me for.
On a less “practical” level, I do not rankle under the restrictions of male leadership because I see it as participating in a grand, cosmic model. I submit to my husband (and to visible male leadership in worship) because it pictures something: the submission of the Church to Jesus, and His submission to His Father. In other words, I like being a visual aid! I like explaining that I may have more education and Bible training than any man in the room but I will still show that I am willing to learn, and that I believe the Spirit works with all people REGARDLESS of their education, experience, or polish.