Christian women, Church, Complementarianism, Ministry

Throwback Thursday ~ Let Me Count the Ways: 75 Ways Women Can Biblically Minister to Others

Originally published September 1, 2017

I recently heard someone remark that, among complementarian Christians, there’s a lot of emphasis on the things women can’t do, biblically, when it comes to ministry, but not much has been written about how women can serve in ministry without violating Scripture.

There are some valid reasons for that.

First, the false teaching of egalitarianism (women can hold any position in ministry that men can hold) is running rampant through the church, even infecting traditionally conservative churches and denominations. It is imperative that Christian men and women who have a biblical understanding of the role of women in the church continue to teach loudly, boldly, and relentlessly against this doctrinal error.

Next, there are so many ways women can serve the body of Christ without violating Scripture that it would be impossible to list all of them. The prohibitions placed on women in ministry are comparatively infinitesimal and, therefore, faster and simpler to dispense with. In other words, it’s quicker and easier to say, “Women can serve in literally any scriptural position or function of ministry in the Body as long as they’re not instructing men in the Scriptures or holding authority over them,” than it is to list every particular ministry women can participate in without transgressing God’s word.

But sometimes our brains get stuck and we need some specific, real world examples to oil the gears and get our own thought processes moving. Especially when we hit that mental roadblock of “Ministry equals only preaching, teaching, and leadership positions. Period.” That’s not all ministry is. In fact, it’s only a tiny part of ministry. God uniquely gifts His people in a variety of ways for a variety of services. And Scripture is very clear that all members of the Body are essential regardless of the role God has called us to. Jesus was the best preacher, teacher, and leader of all eternity, and yet the pinnacle of His ministry was not a sermon, a Bible lesson, or position of leadership. The most important act of ministry Jesus ever performed was to humble Himself and to give His life for sinners. Let’s make sure we think about ministry the way Jesus thought about ministry:

…whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43b-45

Keeping that in mind, here are just a few of the ways women can freely serve God, their churches, and their neighbors without violating Scripture:

1. Pray for your church, your pastor and staff, your teachers and elders

2.  Teach a women’s Bible study or Sunday School class. (Remember, teaching isn’t the only avenue of ministry, but it is one of them.)

3. Teach a children’s Sunday School or Bible class.

4. Play an instrument in your church’s music ministry.

5. Sing in the choir or on the praise team.

6. Direct a children’s choir.

7. Run the Power Point for song lyrics during the worship service

8. Learn how to run your sanctuary’s sound system and board

9. Help set up and put away chairs for services or classes

10. Be the hero who gets to church early and has the coffee ready when people arrive

11. Serve as a greeter

12. Serve on the security or parking lot duty team

13. Serve in the nursery

14. Volunteer to help out in the church office

15. Serve as a chaperone for a youth trip, fellowship, or other activity

16. Open your home to traveling pastors or missionaries who need a place to stay

17. Volunteer your home for the next church fellowship

18. Organize a potluck dinner for your church or Sunday School class

19. Take some treats up to the church office during the week to encourage the staff

20. Serve in Vacation Bible School

21. Offer to help your pastor vet new Bible study and Sunday School curricula for doctrinal soundness

22. Go on and/or help organize a short term mission trip

23. Organize meals for a new mom or a church member who’s ill

24. Help clean the church kitchen after an activity or event

25. Visit hospitalized church members

26. Visit church members who are shut-ins or in nursing homes

27. Pick up someone who needs a ride to and from church

28. Nursing home residents often have no way to attend church. Organize a way for your church to take church to the nursing home.

29. Many people have difficulty attending church because they’re caretakers for an ill or disabled loved one. Set up a rotation of church members to be sitters so the caretaker can come to church.

30. Mow the church’s grass

31. Serve on a committee

32. Volunteer your IT expertise for the church’s computer system

33. Open your home to a college student who needs a place to live

34. Open your home to a woman in a crisis pregnancy who has nowhere else to go

35. Teach cooking, homemaking, or parenting skills to the younger women of your church.

36. Start an after school tutoring program at your church where kids get help with their homework and hear the gospel.

37. Volunteer at a Christian crisis pregnancy center

38. Organize and serve at a church work day (cleaning, painting, facility maintenance)

39. Donate money, gift cards, gas cards, or hotel vouchers to your church’s benevolence fund

40. Get trained in disaster relief and serve the physical and spiritual needs of those impacted by natural disasters

41. Serve in your church’s food pantry

42. Serve in your church’s clothes closet

43. Help organize fundraisers for missions, youth camp, disaster relief, church needs, etc.

44. If your church decorates the grounds for Christmas or other special events, lend a hand

45. Start a backyard Bible club (Bible lesson, game/activity, snack) at a park, apartment complex, school, or other gathering place near your church

46. Start a women’s prayer group with sisters at church

47. Organize a “mechanic ministry” – church members who can fix and maintain the cars of your church’s widows and single moms

48. Organize a “honey-do ministry” – same idea but for repair jobs around the house

49. Disciple a younger woman one on one

50. Invite new church members over for dinner

51. Be your Sunday School class’ secretary or fellowship organizer

52. Take food baskets to church members who are in need

53. Do baptistry duty (help those being baptized with robes, towels, etc.)

54. Set up a sewing or craft ministry, making items for the elderly, disabled, newborns, the homeless, or missions. This idea is one of my favorites (don’t forget to include the gospel, verbally or in print, with your ministry project items).

55. If your church is in a high traffic area, stand out front on hot days and hand out bottled water and tracts to passers by (be safety conscious). You can also put a sticker or label on the bottle with your church’s info or a web site that gives a gospel presentation.

56. Sit and talk – but mostly listen – to the elderly people in your church. You’ll minister to them, and they’ll minister to you.

57. Serve on your church’s wedding, funeral, or special event team

58. Volunteer to care for small children of wedding or funeral attendees in your church’s nursery during the event

59. Work in your church library, or set one up

60. Organize a Parents’ Night Out so church members with young children can have a couples’ night without the expense of a babysitter

61. Babysit your pastor’s children so he and his wife can have a date night

62. Clergy appreciation month is October. Organize gifts or other demonstrations of appreciation for your pastor, minister of music, associate pastor, youth director, etc. (Make sure none of your ministers are inadvertently overlooked.)

63. Teach an ESL (English as a Second Language) class to minister to church members and others who are learning English.

64. Write letters and e-mails of encouragement to the missionaries your church supports (send care packages too!)

65. Send texts of encouragement to your Sunday School class members

66. Start a birthday card ministry. Pray for each church member as you send out his or her card. In a year, you will have prayed individually for every member of your church.

67. If you’re a health care professional, volunteer to provide basic health or dental screenings to church members in need.

68. Minister to battered women at your local shelter by listening, sharing the gospel, and caring for their material needs.

69. Instead of Toys for Tots, organize a “Bibles for Tots” drive for Christmas. Give young readers Bibles to children at local schools, the mall, or a community event as a Christmas gift from your church.

70. Research and write a book about the history of your church.

71. Help set up for the Lord’s Supper

72. Do laundry duty. Take home towels and robes after baptisms, table cloths after church dinners, costumes after the choir’s musical, etc., launder them, fold them and return them to the church.

73. Go to the grocery store and run other errands for church members unable to do these things for themselves.

74. Run your church’s web site or admin your church’s social media accounts

75. Organize an abortion clinic sidewalk ministry team from your church

As I said, there are so many ways women can biblically participate in ministering to others that there’s no way to even think of all the possibilities. But I’d love to add more ideas to this list.

That’s where you come in!

What are some ways you, women at your church, or women you know at other churches minister to others without teaching or preaching to men and without holding authority over men in the gathered body of Believers? Leave a comment and let’s see how many more ways women can minister biblically!

Complementarianism, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Women teaching men- Questions from a young reader

I received this very astute line of questioning from a young lady who left a comment on one of my articles. The comment and questions were rather lengthy, so I’ve broken it up into portions in order to answer it in an organized way. If you need to read the entire comment, uninterrupted, for context or ease of understanding, scroll down, reading only the portions in bold.


Hi! Just to let you know, though it may seem, I have no intention of being rude in this question, and genuinely want to know your response to this. I am only in 9th grade, so I have a lot to learn, and want to know what you think about my comment...Thank you, and I am very curious to find out what you think about my questions and things that I might have misunderstood or missed.

That’s awesome! I wish I had been thinking as deeply about these things as you are when I was in the ninth grade. And, rest assured, your questions didn’t seem rude to me at all. I’m so glad you want to learn! I hope you’ll understand that my answers aren’t meant to be rude either, although they may not be quite what you’re expecting or wanting to hear.

You didn’t mention whether or not you’re a Christian or what your church background, if any, is, so let me just start off by saying, if you’ve never been genuinely born again, my answers might not make much sense. I would encourage you, even if you’re pretty sure you’re saved, to examine the materials at the What must I do to be saved? tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page before moving ahead.

I was just wondering, if women are not allowed to teach men, and you are a woman and this blog is public to men and women, then aren’t you technically providing biblical insight and evangelizing to whatever gender is reading this to inform them of the Bible?

Nope. I’ve answered that question in detail in my article Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men?

Additionally, “evangelism” and “teaching” (“providing insight” isn’t really a biblical category) are two different, separate things. You might find our podcast episode Women Preaching the Gospel? helpful for understanding the distinction.

Also, the book of Timothy, like you said, was a letter written from Paul to Timothy, so this was just the teachings that Paul gave to Timothy as instructions for the churches, and not necessarily coming from God.

I’m afraid that’s one of the things you’ve misunderstood. This wasn’t just a letter from one human being to another. The words in 1 Timothy, just like every word of every book of the Bible are from the very lips of God Himself. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” There aren’t some parts of Scripture that are from God and others that aren’t. It all comes from God, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.

First and second Timothy and Titus are what we call the pastoral epistles (“epistle” means “letter”). That means they are God’s instructions, written through His human instrument, Paul, to Timothy and Titus and every pastor who came after them, about how to run the church.

I know Paul was a prophet and one argument could be that he got this information from God,

No, Paul was not a prophet, he was an apostle. And, as I discussed above, the Bible says that all Scripture is breathed out by God, so “Paul got his information from God” is the only argument that can be made, especially for Christians. Because, for Christians, the Bible is our authority on what to believe, not human arguments, opinions, and ideas.

but even prophets (besides Christ) make mistakes in their instructions to others,

I’m afraid that’s also incorrect. There’s not a single prophet in the Bible who, when speaking as a prophet to people on God’s behalf ever made one iota of a mistake about what He said. There were false prophets (who received the death penalty for saying they spoke for God when God had not really spoken to them), but none of God’s true prophets – like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Habakkuk, etc. – ever got anything wrong or “made mistakes in their instructions to others” when speaking on behalf of God.

such as Abraham, who instructed people to be stoned for certain sins,

I think you mean “Moses” here. Abraham wasn’t a prophet, and I don’t recall any instance in Scripture in which Abraham “instructed people to be stoned for certain sins”. Moses didn’t either. God did. God gave Moses the law on Mt. Sinai, and Moses wrote it down and taught it to the people.

and you can see that it was unlawful in God’s eyes

I’m sorry, but that’s incorrect as well. Since God is the One who gave the laws about stoning people for certain sins, He would never have said that someone properly obeying His law was doing something unlawful. That would be like God saying He was wrong when He made that law. And, of course we know that God is never wrong.

and you can see that it was unlawful in God’s eyes when Jesus told the priests about to stone Mary of Magdala that they should not stone her because they have sinned as well and God sees all sins as the same.

I think you’re talking about the story of the adulterous woman in Luke 7-8, right? Again, I’m sorry, but there are many things that need to be corrected here:

  • Stoning a woman caught in adultery was not “unlawful in God’s eyes”. It was lawful. God is the one who gave this law. The scribes and Pharisees correctly cited the law in 8:5.
  • Jesus wasn’t speaking to the priests, He was speaking to the scribes – experts in the law (which was an important point of this passage) – and Pharisees.
  • The text does not say the unnamed woman was Mary Magdalene.
  • Look carefully at the passage. In which verse does Jesus say “they should not stone her”? Answer: He didn’t say, “Don’t stone her.”. On the contrary, He said that they could commence with the stoning as long as whichever one of them was without sin cast the first stone.
  • He also didn’t say they couldn’t stone her because “they have sinned as well”. Every lawful stoning that has ever taken place on planet earth was carried out by sinners, because (except for Jesus) every human being is a sinner.
  • The Bible doesn’t say that God “sees all sins as the same” (In fact, we can see in the way that God deals with various sins in various ways throughout Scripture that this isn’t true.), so Jesus would never have said this nor given it as a reason that these men should not have stoned this woman.

Jesus didn’t say the law against stoning an adulteress was wrong. That would have been equal to saying God was wrong for giving that law. He didn’t tell the men not to obey the law, either. The key to understanding this story is in verses 4-7:

4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

They didn’t care about this woman or what happened to her. They didn’t care about the man who was sinning right along with her. They didn’t care that this sin wrecked the man’s and woman’s lives. They didn’t care that God’s law had been broken. They didn’t care that adultery grieves the heart of God. They didn’t care.

All of those things were just a means to an end for them. All they cared about was trying to get the advantage over Jesus. To trick Him into saying something they could use against Him so they could discredit Him or bring Him up on charges with the Sanhedrin (Jewish court). And they were using God’s precious and holy Word as a tool to accomplish this evil goal. They were blasphemously using God’s own Word against Him.

That is the entire point of this story. God’s Word is His representation of Himself to us. It is our lifeline to Him, because it is how we come to know Christ as Savior. It should be revered as high and holy, not twisted and abused for wicked purposes.

This is just one example of many things that God’s prophets have taught wrongly.

No, none of the things you’ve mentioned, nor the corrections I’ve given, have demonstrated that any true prophet of God has ever taught anything wrong when it comes to prophecy or commands of Scripture. Second Peter 1:20-21 tells us:

…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

So, since times were different in the first century and women were not seen as important to men, couldn’t this have been something Paul told Timothy to do based off of his own understandings culturally?

No. Again, 1 Timothy is a passage of God-breathed Scripture, not Paul’s personal human opinion. It was not based on Paul’s human understanding (see 2 Peter 1:20-21, above), culturally, or in any other way. This is God’s command to pastors, based solely on God’s reasons.

And God kindly shares those reasons with us in verses 13 and 14 of 1 Timothy 2:

11Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

God gives us two reasons for His command that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the gathering of the church body: the creation order and pattern of male headship (13), and the fact that the woman was the one who was deceived into sin (14).

That’s why. Not culture, not Paul’s personal opinions, not because men didn’t value women at the time, not because the women in that particular church at that particular time were unruly or false teachers, not for any of the man-made theories that people have come up with. God tells us exactly why He made this rule for the church in verses 13-14. I’ve discussed this in greater detail in my articles Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit and The Mailbag: Counter Arguments to Egalitarianism. Here are a few of the pertinent excerpts:

You’ve asked some really great questions here, and your reasoning skills are sharp. It was my pleasure to serve you by answering your comment. Keep asking questions, studying, and learning all God has to teach us through His authoritative, inspired, all-sufficient written Word.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Complementarianism, Rock Your Role

Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men?

“You say that women shouldn’t teach men (1 Timothy 2:12), but what about men who read your blog? Aren’t you teaching them?”

It’s the canard that will not die. Complementarian women bloggers, authors, and content creators are frequently asked this question, often by dissenters looking for a “gotcha” moment. Other times it’s a genuine concern from Christian women who want to write but still be in obedience to God’s Word as it speaks to the role of women. But, whatever the motivation for asking, it’s a great question that needs to be answered. Biblically.

It is true that God has ordained different roles for Christian men and women. Both roles are needed and important, but different. Part of the role for women is outlined in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Women are not to preach to or teach men in the gathering of the church or hold other positions of authority over men in the church body.

But notice that key phrase “in the church.” The context of all of the passages dealing with women refraining from teaching men refers to the teaching of God’s Word in the gathering together of the body of believers.

That’s not the same thing as blogging in the public square. The gathering of the church body might take place within the four walls of a church building, at a park for a Resurrection Day sunrise service, at a Christian conference, at a chapel service at a Christian college or seminary, at a Bible study in someone’s home, or a myriad of other venues, but it’s just that – a physical gathering together of the body of Christ for the purpose of worship, studying the Word, sitting under the preaching of the Word, observing the ordinances, prayer, practicing the “one anothers,” and other “churchy” things.

You’re reading this blog right now. Are you practicing the “one anothers” with anyone? Is anyone standing in front of you preaching the Word? Are you actively worshiping? Do you see an offering being taken up? Baptism? Communion? Prayer? Do you consider yourself to be attending church right now? Of course not. You’re staring at a screen reading an article. This is a blog. Not the gathering of the church.

The Greek word for “church” in the New Testament is ἐκκλησία, or ekklesia. It literally means a gathering or assembly. No gathering, no church.1 And because of that, women bloggers and other content creators aren’t violating the Scriptures that prohibit them from teaching men in the gathering of the church. (And, by the way, this all applies to women on social media, too. That’s not the gathering of the church either, praise the Lord.)

When I explain this biblical distinction to the “gotcha” folks, the pushback (that’s a polite word for it) I often get is, “You’re just hypocritically splitting hairs and doing hermeneutical gymnastics to justify yourself!”. No, you’re just conflating things the Bible clearly distinguishes from one another.

Think of it this way: If I say that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful, but I joyfully fulfill my marital duty to my husband, am I a hypocrite? Am I splitting hairs or doing hermeneutical gymnastics? No. Because there are right and wrong contexts for sexual activity just like there are right and wrong contexts for women teaching the Bible, writing on biblical topics, and so on. The Bible has defined categories and contexts. The Bible draws lines of distinction. Conflating a biblical “do” with a biblical “don’t”? That’s what’s unbiblical.

But let’s consider something else, too. Even though Scripture doesn’t require it, most godly, doctrinally sound women bloggers and online content creators – including me – aim our content primarily at Christian women. I have set up parameters for my blog (and my book, when it was in print) and for my ministry to do everything I can to place myself under the umbrella of 1 Timothy 2:12. Look at the title of this page and my Facebook page. It specifically says “Discipleship for Christian Women“. My book was always labeled and marketed as a women’s Bible study. If you’ll take a look at the “Welcome” tab at the top of this page, you’ll see I explicitly say that this blog is for Christian women and that I’m a complementarian. When I address the readers of this blog I nearly always address them as “ladies,” both because my target audience is women, and also to remind the handful of men who follow me that they are not my audience; they are, in a sense, “eavesdropping” on what I’m saying to women. My speaking engagements are for women only. I ask men not to use my Bible studies. I’m not really sure what more I need to do to make it clear that my blog and my ministry are for women, not men.

Don’t men bear any responsibility here? Why should the entire burden for women not “teaching” men fall on the shoulders of women bloggers and content creators? Why don’t the Christian men who are ostensibly so concerned about men consuming content from women address the men who are reading our blogs and following our platforms?

But sometimes these “gotcha guys” – who often have ulterior motives of undermining complementarianism – will visit my blog, claim to have learned something, and then turn around and attack me as a hypocrite for “teaching” them. This is akin to a man listening at the door of a women’s Sunday school class, then bursting in and saying, “Aha! You taught a man.” To those men, I would ask a simple question- If a female blogger puts a fence around her blog and you jump over it and trespass on her property, how is she the one at fault?

Along with Christian women, Christian men ought also to be obedient to 1 Timothy 2:12 by not seeking out female content creators for biblical instruction for themselves. While I welcome male readers – especially those who are vetting me for their wives and daughters or the women of their church, or to gain a better understanding of the issues affecting Christian women in order to lead and shepherd them better – I do not want men seeking me out for personal biblical instruction. All of my readers should look to the doctrinally sound teaching of their pastors and elders for biblical instruction. For women, my blog should only be a leisure time supplement to their sermons and classes at church.

Being a godly female blogger or content creator can be a tightrope walk. All of us have fallen off from time to time, and in those cases we ask that you extend us grace and forgiveness, knowing that we didn’t do it intentionally or rebelliously. Praise God for the “net” of God’s mercy and cleansing that catches us and puts us right back up on that tightrope so we can encourage and build up the lovely Christian ladies in our audience. You mean so much to each of us. We love you and want you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why we do what we do.


1This is why it is impossible to “attend church” by watching an online church service. You are not “attending church” online, you are watching other people attend church.

This article is an updated and revamped version of the original article by the same title, published on October 23, 2015.


Additional Resources

Rock Your Role – a series examining the Scriptures governing the biblical role of women in the church

Rock Your Role FAQs

Sisters Are Part of the Family of God, Too!

Women Preaching the Gospel? at A Word Fitly Spoken (on the issue of conflation)

Complementarianism, Podcast Appearances

Podcast Guest Appearance – Servants of Grace

Before all the hubbub of the holidays, I had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with Dave Jenkins of the Servants of Grace podcast.

Listen in (or watch and listen above) as we delve into the issue of women pastors and why this is such a blight on the modern day church, how the church can support women and foster Titus 2 relationships, and more!

Be sure to check out all of the materials, podcasts, and other contributors at the Servants of Grace website, and find their social media links so you can give them a follow. Also, go subscribe to the Servants of Grace YouTube channel so you’ll never miss an episode, or add it to your queue on your favorite podcast platform.

Articles / resources mentioned or touched on in the episode:

Bible Studies

Speaking Engagements

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit

Let Me Count the Ways: 75 Ways Women Can Biblically Minister to Others

The Servanthood Survey

A Word Fitly Spoken Podcast

Contact & Social Media

Searhing for a new church?


Got a podcast of your own or have a podcasting friend who needs a guest? Need a speaker for a women’s conference or church event? Click the “Speaking Engagements” tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat!

Christian women, Complementarianism

Solving Misogyny- You’re Doing It Wrong

For the next several weeks I’ll be preparing to speak at the
Relying on God and His Word conference, so I’ll be re-running
some popular articles from the archives. I hope you’ll enjoy this one.


Originally published June 8, 2018

If God is the God of Romans 8:28…

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

…then Satan is the god of the anti-Romans 8:28. He wants to twist anything and everything that’s the least little bit good into harm, especially for those who are called according to God’s purpose.

Several very good things have come out of the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements. Many victims who previously kept silent out of fear and shame have found the courage to tell their stories and begin healing. We’ve had the opportunity to offer them comfort and encouragement through the gospel. Churches have become more aware of how widespread the problem of abuse is and have begun to respond accordingly. In several cases, abusers have been exposed and brought to justice.

Unfortunately, Satan has also used this movement to harm people. False accusations have been made against innocent individuals. Sweeping accusations have been made against Christian men in general. And now, perhaps worst of all, there are rumblings afoot to right the wrongs of real, and imagined, misogyny by “empowering” Christian women and giving us greater, often unbiblical, positions of church and denominational leadership, either as reparations for past mistreatment of women or prophylaxis against future mistreatment of women, or both. (Pastor Tom Buck wrote an excellent article on this yesterday, which I urge you to read for more details {and bookmark for subsequent installments, which I’m sure will be equally stellar}.)

Don’t fall for it, ladies. This is Eden all over again.

In the same way that God created a very good tree, planted it in the midst of the Garden, and put a “do not eat” fence around it, God also created the very good “tree” of Christian leadership, planted it in the midst of the church, and put a 1 Timothy 2:12 fence around it.

God’s restrictions about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were minimal: don’t eat from it. Eve was free to sit in its shade, admire its beauty, fertilize it, plant flowers around it, pretty much anything, except eat from it. And that one restriction is what Satan used to tempt her to sin.

For women, God’s restrictions on church leadership are also minimal: don’t instruct men in the Scriptures and don’t exercise authority over men. That’s literally all there is to it. There are scrillions of ways women can serve the Body of Christ without getting anywhere near that fence. But these two small restrictions are what Satan is using to tempt us to sin. And, unfortunately, this time, instead of approaching Eve in the form of a serpent, he’s approaching Christian women in the form of the sinful or misinformed words and ideas of pastors and Christian leaders. “Did God really say you can’t have that particular position of leadership?”

But there’s another issue at play here that needs some airing out.

Power. Leadership. These are the ideals that are being touted as the way to lift women up. Is that what Jesus taught? Is that the example He set? No. Jesus taught and exemplified humility, lowliness, and servanthood:

But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:34-35

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:25-28

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
John 13:12-15

God doesn’t think the way we think. We think that the only way someone can be valued and heard is if she has power and prestige in the eyes of her fellow humans. That’s where this “empower women and give them positions of leadership” idea is coming from. It is a worldly way of thinking.

God’s way of thinking about this is that we are already intrinsically valuable in His eyes because we are made in His image. Being valued by God is so infinitely more significant than being valued by other humans, that how we look to others shouldn’t even register on our radar. Letting go of what other people think of us frees us up to live in the holy gratitude to God that says, “It is my joy to serve You because I love You. I will live like Jesus no matter what I have to give up, no matter how much I suffer, no matter how humbling it is. You are worthy of my self-abasement.”

He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:30

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10b

In God’s economy, the way to greatness is to be a slave. The way to fame is anonymity. The way to exaltation is humility. Why are Christian women being encouraged to stand up and demand the seat at the head of the table instead of being encouraged to give up their seats for others, serve those at the table, even clean up after the meal? What do these Christian leaders want for women – that they find favor with man or that they find favor with God? Orchestrating outward appearances, such as giving women positions of unbiblical leadership, is merely attempting to fix the very real problem of women being sinned against by putting another coat of whitewash on the outside of a tomb that’s full of dead men’s bones. You don’t fix one sin by creating another. You clean out the tomb.

In any instance in which women are being sinned against by men, the answer is not to “elevate” women to improper places of leadership. The answer is to exercise biblical church discipline against the men and disciple both the men and the women to humbly serve Christ and the church in accordance with God’s Word. Broken, sinful men do not need to hear what broken, sinful women think about how women should be treated. They both need to hear what the holy, almighty God who created men and women has to say about how women should be treated. And the way God has structured leadership in the church, the responsibility of teaching what God’s Word says about this or any other issue falls primarily to the pastor.

That’s especially of note in this particular situation. Why would these Christian leaders further burden women they consider mistreated with any part of the responsibility of fixing their mistreatment? Why aren’t they instead urging pastors to step up to the plate and properly train the men of their churches to regard and treat women in a godly way?

This whole idea of solving the problem of alleged misogyny in the church with an “I am woman, hear me roar” groundswell is backwards, wrong, and – ironically – man-centered. And encouraging women who have already been victimized to act in ungodly ways is just victimizing them all over again, this time, spiritually. As the Body of Christ, we must be Christ-centered. God has given us all of the necessary instructions for handling problems in the church and between Believers in His Word. We need only to follow them. And Him. Let’s do this right, church.