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Wednesday, August 30, 2006
women in ministry
Another interesting discussion about women in ministry is happening over at Jesus Creed , Scot McKnight's blog. He raises the question about why ordained women are not given large congregations to lead.


posted by Julie at 1:19 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 8/31/2006 08:31:00 AM, Blogger A Women's Kavura

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  • At 8/31/2006 08:37:00 AM, Blogger From the Margins

    There are now 163 comments ... lots of good stuff. Yet, only one person mentioned 'emergent' (#90 I think) and no one picked up on it.

    I'd like to see some think-tank brainstorming EMERGE on collaborative leadership structures replacing heirarchical ones. What effects could this bring to the imbalance of gender/race leadership issues?

    Anyone want to find some money and put together an "Emerging Voices" think-tank! :-)

  • At 8/31/2006 09:13:00 AM, Blogger Kate

    I tried to bring it back up later in the comments, but no one was really biting since the issue is so prevalent in the church as a whole.

    I'm all for a think-tank. Excellent idea!

  • At 8/31/2006 11:50:00 AM, Blogger caz

    How much money is needed to put together a think tank? Just curious...

  • At 8/31/2006 02:23:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    I've been watching the thread, lots of good stuff there. My interests obviously lie in certain areas of the discussion, but all of it has been interesting I think.

    Here I come again with some questions from the 'side'. Does 'emergent' have to be mentioned? To me, emergent is more like a state of mind and its more about the ideas than a 'thing'. I get the feeling though that although its been said its not a movement or 'church' that indeed that is where some of this is going. I'm not a detractor....I got involved in the discussion because I believe in the discussion, the thoughts, the dialogue. but several references here and there (and some of it 'old' I suspect that I am not privvy too and we needn't go there) get me wondering about what 'emergent' has as its goals. Does one have to 'buy in' to have a real voice.

    That aside, what exactly do you mean by a 'think-tank'?

  • At 8/31/2006 04:05:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    A think tank is a research institute, other organization or informal group providing advice and ideas on any aspect of future planning and strategy - for example issues of policy, commerce, and military interest - and are often associated with military laboratories, corporations, academia, or other institutions. Usually this term refers specifically to organizations that support multi-disciplinary theorists and intellectuals who endeavor to produce analysis or policy recommendations.

    Obviously I looked up the defn ... so glad you asked!
    It's all about theorizing (visionaries arise!) and offering opinions and plans for what something could-should-might work for a particular problem or look like in the future! Why not come together for envisioning future 'church' possibilities!

    D: You are on the right track ... it's just a term to capture the thoughts/dreams/ideas of what may 'have to' or could be ahead. Or what God is prophetically trying to help a group of people envision for the future cultures of peoples locally, nationally, and globally. Words like transitional thinking/postmodern theology/post-historical have all been used. AND, nah ... of course you're welcome without buying into "all".

    $$$$$$ Hmmm ... don't know, but I'm thinkin'! I've always liked the idea of being paid for brainstorming new ideas with a group of people who have a passion to be influencers.

    Can we keep this a secret?? :-) I hereby patton this idea.

  • At 8/31/2006 04:08:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    kate ... I don't think that's why they didn't bite (on conjecture, of course.) I'm still not sure that many in the traditional church are thinking out-side-the box. Leadership was still being baited around with the paradigm of a 'lead pastor.' That's very inside-the-box. What do ya think?

  • At 8/31/2006 06:01:00 PM, Blogger Christy

    I'm not sure the whole emergent conversation needs more brainstorming and talking. I think what everybody needs are models and examples of people and organizations that are doing things differently. In my experience, the secular non-profit world is the best place to learn from women and people of color who are using more non-hierarchical methods of leadership and collaboration.

    The emergent conversation has a LOT to learn from community organizers, whether Christian or not. I know a lot of people in Los Angeles who are doing fantastic and innovative things and who have much to teach, if emergent folk are willing to step outside their comfort zone and learn.


  • At 8/31/2006 07:35:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    FTM: Though I sort of agree with someone else, there are enough 'think-things/blogs/conversations' going on already - I actually think some specific methodical research and analyzing any data...looking at various models and working through possible outcomes and then article writing - with recommendations isn't a bad idea.

    and hey - my lips are sealed.

    Collaborative leadership seems a good place to start.

  • At 8/31/2006 08:46:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Think tanks aren't just for talk...they can actually DO their prototype models. They experiment with it first by doing it and then tweak and then document.

    I agree we don't need more brainstorming ... or writing about it! We have enough writing about it too.

    Somewhere people have to just do it! So, this think tank would have some experimental church communities and try the stuff out, have people give feedback, document it. Like making protypes of toys or games and then trying them out with living people before marketing them? Ha... what an idea for church ... bringing in non-church people to see what they think? Maybe new churches would actually be birthed out of this ... or some not! You could be imagining and doing with all sorts of demographic types at once ... with limited interference!!

    Christy: I agree. One of the best books I read was 'The Difference Difference Makes.' A critique of feminine leadership in the corporate world.


  • At 9/01/2006 12:36:00 AM, Blogger sylvia skinner


    I think you are on to something. Interestingly, our church is moving toward a collaborative leadership group--I don't use "team" because we call our lay leaders the leadership team. Currently my husband is the senior or (if we wanted to be more willowy) the lead pastor and I suppose he will always be seen as the guy at the top. That is, of course, unless all of the evangelicals leave our church--which could happen, you know. We are kind of in process.

    I hate to use the word experiment because I think our leaders are committed to it far beyond the outcome it works or it doesn't work (as is usually measured by numbers and $). But I do know that my husband is committed to a group of leaders leading at the same level--not a hierchy. This is all new and I am proud of my husband for his courage. I wonder how it will all turn out.

    The unfortuante thing about this is that just as we are making this transition, I left the staff (I was the only woman--besides our Children's pastor.) I know they are committed to not marginalizing women, so I guess we'll all have to wait and see what God does to bring more women to lead and speak.

    I love the think tank idea! I am very concerned that if women are not championed as equal leaders in Emergent (and it will most likely take some very courageous men to make that happen) we will be no different than the very thing we are emerging from. Since I was already serving in ministry at my church and was given the opportunity to teach as much as I wanted to, at the point I was first exposed to Emergent that was not an immediate concern to me. I guess I was just feeling so many other emotions about the freedom and possiblilty of a new way. But, I quickly noted and started commenting on the lack of women's voices, even before I came across this blog. We do need to speak up--graciously, but firmly--and I believe now is the time.

    BTW - I did hear back from Focus on the Family. I was asked for a clarification of my question. Apparently, I misunderstood that the pictures of the men on the left-hand side of the webpage are not presenters, but rather commentators or endorsers of the project. The sessions are all presented by a single man. So, I did a more thorough search of the site and still found no women's voices--endorsing or otherwise. (They did at least include a picture of a woman--definitley looking like a business woman.) So, I reponded and asked the question again: Where are the women? I'll keep you posted when I get a real answer.

  • At 9/01/2006 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Doxallo

    Hi all, Still tyring to get a handle on the 'think-tank' idea. One concern I have, maybe its my perspective - is the idea of rushing ahead of the HS. So the idea of making a church with xyz criteria so that it can then be studied, seems a recipe for disaster. I may be getting the wrong idea though. How about identify some emerging, grassroots sort of communities/churches/fellowships and begin by contacting them, asking for input (data?). Seeing where a church plant might come from that? So that its growing out of a natural movement? (just talking out loud here)

    Are there any - at least partial - models to start with? Or begin by looking at some women pastored churches?

  • At 9/01/2006 10:16:00 AM, Blogger Doxallo


    What kinds of questions would be asked? What kind of dialogue? Survey of ministry leaders? Survey of congregation?

  • At 9/01/2006 11:05:00 AM, Blogger caz

    I came across this Christian "think tank" a while back. Unfortunately, it looks like they are no longer active, but their website may give you a feel for what a think tank does.


  • At 9/01/2006 12:26:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    Caz, you got me curious so I did a search

    HOw about this?


  • At 9/01/2006 09:58:00 PM, Blogger Kate

    FTM - You're probably right about why people didn't bite on the emergent line. It's possible that some of the people taking part in the conversation don't even know what emergent is. I mean, I'm pretty new to the conversation, so I guess I shouldn't assume that everyone else knows about it and is taking part.

    The conversation was framed in such a way that rethinking leadership as a whole wasn't considered by most. It's easier to try to fix what's broken (and despair that it can never be done) than to start from scratch and build something better.

  • At 9/02/2006 08:03:00 AM, Blogger From the Margins

    Sylvia ... really helpful and encouraging thoughts. I couldn't agree more.

    Dox ... good questions! My Two Cents on some of your concerns: Getting ahead of the Holy Spirit??? Is that possible?? Or is this a 'religious line' that has been used to keep creative "OTHERS" in line??? I see no biblical evidence of such a thing! Ha ... I can't imagine being able to be ahead of the Trinity??? For your concerns about 'natural' means, I'll opt for BOTH/AND ... your suggestions are all valid and don't negate other possibilities, it would seem to me. And, if there are those of us who are 'wired' to be visionaries, then it's a "natural means" for me.

    Kate ... great comments and wisdom. What seems 'easier' has pretty much been proven impossible! But, it does keep a certain group in control!

  • At 9/04/2006 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    I'd lean towards a "research what works" model for a think tank, as opposed to a "let's think it up and try it out live" model. The logistics seem much easier!

    Like Doxallo suggests, the place I'd look would be in community groups and non-Christian environments, or new start-ups, or churches that are going through dramatic statistical changes (up or down). It sounds like a great masters or doctoral thesis topic.

    Do we need money? Or just some people willing to chip in some time and resources? Blogging is free and a perfect documentation system. If someone(s) were willing to blog/discuss the parameters for the survey and question set, and then others were willing to "interview" (I'd suggest recording the interview) and posting responses...And whomever's interested helps coalate/statistic/summarize...

    Isn't one of the problems with the church (and the world) too much bureaucrasy?

    What do you think?

  • At 9/05/2006 08:53:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    charlotte: Aren't all the church plant and leadership books out there a compilation of 'what works?' Every church flavor has it's sites for 'what's working and where.' The S. Baptist church plant site is huge ... 21 power points ... on ways being done.

    I hear your concern about the logistics of trying new models, but that's what beautiful about a 'think tank.' Existing institutions are slow to respond and nortoriously careful with their monies. It's very difficult to get a denomination to buy into something new. That's where "WE" are unique. It's our goal, not an anomomoly begging for funding.


    Blog might just work ... parameters of who to interview would be interesting.


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