Women in Leadership?

7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God. 1 Corinthians 11:7-16

Paul spent half of a chapter talking about head covering and submission. It was obviously an issue for the leadership in the church, and needed to be addressed. The issue still comes up today in some church circles.

I’ve visited quite a few churches and denominations in my travels. Some evangelical denominations will not allow women to be elders or deacons. Some only allow women deacons. Many will not allow them to be pastors. Often denominations get around this by calling them “co-pastors.” Most of the arguments for and against women in leadership in all of those denominations are derived from verses 2-16.

Leadership in the church is difficult and not for everybody, including many men. They are charge with care and feeding of a flock of unruly, uncooperative, and undisciplined sheep. They work long hours and are always interrupted at home, including late hours of the night. They are under constant attack from the enemy, and quite often from their own parishioners. They are criticized, studied, and live in a veritable fish bowl. Their spouses have to endure judgement about child-rearing, role of the pastor’s wife, and what she wears. Plus both pastor and spouse rarely have close friends in the church and yet are expected to be friends with everyone.

Forget for a moment denominational views on women in church leadership, given all this and more, why would women subject themselves to such abuse month after month and year after year? Certainly they can handle the abuse and stresses, but why would they want it in the first place?

Needless to say, pray for your pastor and his family.

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