As a church, we are blessed with many men and women who faithfully give of their time, talent, and treasure to build God’s kingdom for the glory of God and the good of His people. It’s through the efforts of all God’s people, especially as it is multiplied through the congregation, that we see evangelism and discipleship taking place, as well as friendships, learning and mutual care.
Occasionally, people bring up questions about the roles of men and women in the church. While the larger culture generally dismisses the idea of gender-specific roles, the Bible addresses them in different passages like 1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 15:33-35, 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; and Acts 6:1-7, which we understand through careful exegetical and theological consideration. Moreover, the church has addressed the roles of men and women in the church throughout its history, even more so in the last 150 years, and explicitly so in the last 60 years. Biblically faithful churches have considered how to remain true to Scripture in a society with ever-changing values and with ever-changing societal norms when it comes to the role of men and women in society. Close to us, in 2017, the PCA published a study report to address some of the key questions of our day (link).
Our church officers, like the rest of the PCA, understand gender roles within a framework called “complementarianism”, which affirms that men and women are both created in the image of God with equal value and dignity, and that God distinguished male and female by giving different roles in the church and home. One popular statement articulates it this way, “Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood… Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart.”
As it relates to the church, God designates certain functions and offices within the church to be reserved for qualified men - particularly in areas of teaching and leadership.
As plain as the Bible and the PCA Study report are, churches still need to decide how to apply the principles in the context of their own specific congregations. Our Session regularly makes decisions regarding teaching and leadership across the ministries of NLICC, and sometimes people ask questions as to why we do what we do. In light of this, the Session desired to communicate why we do what we do, and how we make the decisions we make. So, in 2019, the Session put together a committee to
Study the Scripture and the PCA’s Report on Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church in
order to propose a biblical, rational, and reasonable policy on how women can be involved in
the ministries of New Life in Christ Church and to clearly identify any boundaries that
may exist in areas such as teaching and leading ministries.
We assembled a study committee of eight people who carefully considered the question above over a 15 month period, putting together a report for the session. They faithfully studied the Scripture, referenced the PCA Study Report and worked to apply these to our own situation at NLICC. After they finished, the Session considered their report, making some adjustments here and there, and voted to make that report available to the whole congregation. You can find a copy of that report online here (LINK).
If you look at the report you will notice that it provides dimensions that the Session considers for teaching and leadership. It doesn’t put together a comprehensive list declaring who will teach in which situations, but it instead focuses on matters the Session would typically discuss and consider in setting up teaching and leading opportunities. The goal was to show how, in obedience to the Bible and using sound judgment, decisions like these are made.
The committee put in many hours of thoughtful study and our heartfelt thanks goes out to them for the report they provided: Elder Eric Schroeder was the committee chair, together with Mrs. Tamra Corbeau, Elder Chris Garcia, Mrs. Sharon Leaman, Mrs. Pam Lopes, Mrs. Sarah Schroeder, Elder Mark Shigley, and Deacon Robert Williams.
I encourage you to take a look at the report. If you have questions about the report, or questions about how we will implement it, please let me know, or speak to any of our elders.