1 Timothy: Women in the Church Pt. 5

  • Read Ephesians 6:1-4 here.
  • If you missed Sunday’s sermon (20 June), you can listen to it here.
  • Follow the rest of this discussion here.

My Father’s Day sermon discussed how to apply the lessons we’d discussed in the series on “being the Church OF Christ”.  My basic point was that while the formal responsibility for leading church culture change falls on the elders, ministers, deacons, and ministry leaders of the church, they can only be as effective as the leadership coming from the homes.  Specifically, God gives men the responsibility for the spiritual leadership of the family (Eph. 6:4) in partnership with their wives.

I thought this topic provided a good opportunity to finalise my series on the roles of women in the church that I posted back in February.

I believe we often err in this conversation by only discussing the roles of women, while neglecting to discuss the roles of men.  Significantly, chapter 3 immediately follows the discussion of the roles of women with the character traits of elders and deacons.

Men do not assume leadership in the church because they have randomly received a biological blessing.  God gives the responsibility of shepherding his flock to men who love Him, and will serve others.  Too often we men assume leadership as a God-given right, equating it with power and authority, rather than viewing it as a calling to greater servitude.

It’s my opinion that when the men in the church pursue God, love people, and take their responsibilities seriously, much of the tension between gender roles is removed.  But when men demand to run the worship service, but don’t practice the readings, don’t arrive on time, don’t give thought to the song selection, or haven’t prepared a devotional thought over the Lord’s Supper, then it’s natural for women (or anyone) to think, “I could do a better job of this than those guys”.

Some Biblical examples seem to establish a principle that of God expects women to fill the void when men neglect the responsibilities He’s given them.  Granted, the list of examples is short and familiar, but also undeniable:

  • God gave the honour to Deborah & Jael, in Judges 4, when the male leaders of Israel declined to trust God and lead the Israelites into battle.  (see Judges 4:6-9)
  • When Nabal foolishly insulted David and endangered his family, Abigail, his wife, took the initiative (leadership) to approach David seeking forgiveness for her husbands insult.  God punished Nabal and rewarded Abigail with marriage to David, even though you could argue that she “usurped her husbands authority”.  She did what was right and responsible.  (see 1 Samuel 25)
  • In the NT, Timothy’s father was known within the church as a Greek, meaning he worshiped the Greek gods.  So in the absence of a Godly father, his Jewish mother and grandmother raised him in Judaism and influenced him to follow Jesus.  (see Acts 16:1-3, 2 Timothy 1:5)

Basically, I believe that any teaching on the roles of women should be accompanied by teaching on the responsibilities of men. Do they take their faith, and responsibilities seriously?

I do not agree with the concept of men’s business meetings as they reward anatomy, not spirituality.  Yes, men may need training as many of the responsibilities of church or worship leadership do not come naturally, but choose those men on the basis of their character, not their gender.

I understand that determining whether men are pulling their weight is a subjective call and that having that conversation may create more conflict, but that probably indicates that the Spirit of God isn’t being given much room to work anyway.

Okay, there’s probably lots to discuss there, and I may have even overstated a couple of points to prompt discussion. 😉

  • What are some ways that men leading worship can demonstrate that they take the responsibility seriously?
  • Do you agree that men genuinely serving the congregation will remove some of the impetus for women to take a more active role in the worship service?
  • Is it better to have a few men genuinely leading worship every week, or to involve as many men as possible hoping they’ll “grow into it”?
  • How can we develop younger Christians into leadership roles, while maintaining the quality of the worship experience?
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2 comments

  1. eirenetheou

    True worship emerges from a life of faith that calls one to express praise and thanksgiving to God. If only persons equipped with male genitalia may “lead worship,” then we should strongly encourage them to study the Bible together and learn to express their love, admiration, and gratitude to God. If all else fails, elders of a congregation might require everyone who wants to “lead worship” to study and learn to worship together every week. We might hope that such elders would be “apt to teach” and help others to learn what they need to know to “lead worship” effectively — although, often enough, this is not the case. Elders and other “leaders” should at least model “skills” in worship for others, even if they are not gifted to “teach” those habits and traits.

    Those who “lead worship” should at least gather together before the “service,” read the text for the day, share current concerns among the congregation that should be the subjects of prayer, and then pray together for their common responsibilities and the common life of the congregation.

    “Let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable. . . .”

    God’s Peace to you.

    d

    • ozziepete

      Thanks d,

      Although this is my last post on the topic [for the foreseeable future] I hope you still drop by.

      I don’t think our positions are too different, although we probably express them differently.

      I like the idea of those involved in “leading worship” actually taking some time for worship together prior to 10:00am Sunday. That’s certainly an improvement on the 2 minute prayer before worship begins.

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