Greg and I have agreed to visit his sister's church that their family recently started attending. I've been reading up on it this morning, and I have decided that I don't want to be a part of any church that doesn't have women involved in leadership.
That doesn't mean a woman has to be head pastor or even on the pastoral team, but if you have several elders and women aren't included, then to me that means that you have a core group of leaders and decision makers that are exclusively men.
I've seen so many churches with structures like this. They almost always have a Women's Ministry leader who is supposed to represent all women in the church or something, and maybe they'll have a Children's Pastor (if the church is REALLY conservative they'll call her a "Children's Director" because of course they can't actually have the word "Pastor" or "Minister" after a woman's name on their program.)
This particular church I'm researching has two of seven women on staff, not bad right? But the titles are 1. Students/Girls and 2. Financial Administrator.
A couple things jump out at me here. I thought maybe the first title was actually code for "youth pastor" with a girls group thrown in, but they have a guy whose title is "Worship/Young Adults" so I assume he is the equivalent of a youth pastor and the "Students/Girls" person is in charge of the Children's Ministry and probably also leads a group for preteen girls or something like that.
There is no mention of a Women's Ministry in anyone's title, and I do hope that a church wouldn't refer to women as "girls" at least on their website (I don't think always inappropriate, but it depends on context; i.e. "Hey Greg, I'm going out with the girls" is different than "We need something for the girls to do in the church.")
The second thing is that I think it's funny that the Financial Administrator's bio is last considering that's probably the most important person in the church after the lead pastor. If a church is squandering money or not making money, or spending too much money, or hoarding too much money... that church is going to fail. Like it or not, churches need money to operate. That doesn't mean I think all churches want is money (in fact I believe most churches have good intentions about money) but any church who denies that money is important to grow their ministries is in denial.
I'm not saying I think modern churches today are sexist chauvinist pigs. But I think it's more subtle than that. I can't help but wonder why churches will let women count their money, minister to their kids, and have all kinds of women's ministries and retreats where ladies can speak to other ladies, but when it comes time to lead the church as a whole and discuss mission and direction, they don't have women on board making those types of decision. (And I don't mean the "But I'm sure they all ask for their wives' opinions" BS).
I mean that I want to see a church where a woman is on the regular speaking rotation. I want to see a church where women are amongst the elders. I know there are churches out there that have that, so maybe I just need to do a better job of seeking them out.
I'm still going to go visit. I might even like it. But I seriously doubt I will give any of my money or become a regular attender unless I see that their leadership actually does include women in a real way.