Why Some Churches Fear Men and Women Ministering Together (Post #1)
(In this post and others following, I’d like to address a couple of possible Christian objections to women and men working together in ministry. My partnership with co-author Cliff Williams underscores the fact that putting in the work to understand our differences makes our ministry much more beneficial and enriching to our own lives.)
When I first tackled this book project with Cliff, I ran the concept past a few agents I met at a Christian writing conference. I won’t forget the fifty-something woman’s reaction.
She heard me out, her brow twisting inwardly. “So why,” she said bluntly, “do you want to write this with a man?”
Well… we’re friends and former colleagues, I’ve known him for over half my lifetime, he’s a gifted listener and published author many times over, and I trust him to deal kindly and respectfully with the women we interview for their stories. Why not? And why would working with another woman help to make the book more useful? I think it’s the opposite: our different perspectives make our work more nuanced and useful for women dealing with ministry issues.
At one point, Cliff summarized it for me: “Christians are suspicious. Conservative Christians are especially suspicious.”
In ministry, men and women need to deal with that tension. Failing to engage with it means that women don’t learn from men. Men don’t learn from women. Mentoring relationships don’t happen. Trust never occurs. Women stay on one side of the aisle in spiritual burkas.
To that end, I’ll be writing the next two to three blogs about how to deal with this tension, including thought-provoking questions for you to raise with your church about how to include women in ministry leadership.