As we get ready to welcome our daughter, Jubilee, into the world, I love being part of a church that won’t disqualify her from ministry leadership just because she will be a girl. I’ve often told my wife that I love the fact she would not be denied the chance to lead in a local church just because God gave her two X instead of an XY chromosonaI combination. I won’t use this post to defend the Wesleyan stance on women in ministry—there are enough resources dealing with the issue and I don’t really have anything to add that might change your mind if you disagree with the idea.
The Wesleyan Church’s history of being deeply involved in the women’s suffrage movement (even hosting the Seneca Falls Convention) is awesome. Our push for equality in the era of Jim Crow is something to be proud of. It seems we really hold to the idea that in the Jesus Kingdom there truly is no male/female, slave/free distinction. We have held high the banner of equality for generations and I hope this continues.
I love that anyone is seen to have the potential for ministry leadership & participation–that women aren’t relegated only to ‘hospitality’ and children’s ministries but have the same potential to take leadership in other areas, be involved in preaching, and pursue ordination in the same manner that a man does. Again, I know we’re not perfect but we act on the belief Jesus can use anyone he chooses… and more important than gender or background is the condition of a person’s heart.
Still, I hope we aren’t found resting on what our forebears stood for but that we continue to recognize the need to pursue equality today, and recognize this goes further than the issue of women in ministry. We continue to hold that all persons are understood to have the right to life, whether aged, not-yet-born or somewhere in between; but there are other issues we must lend our voices to, as well. This will cost us because what is right and what is popular are not always the same, but in doing so, I believe we continue living out the heart of God.