In May, over a relaxing breakfast and coffee, men and women gathered to explore the roles of men and women in leadership, what the bible says about this and how we should apply this within the church. After breakfast the leaders of St George’s led a bible study, and small group discussion where people could share their experiences and opinions; this was followed by a Question and Answer session led by the leaders.
Katherine is network leader alongside her husband and share’s her experience.
Why did you want to explore women in leadership?
I have always been confused that Paul seems to prohibit female leadership in some of his letters, yet God gifts women with leadership skills and calls women to be leaders - so how can that make sense? It seems so odd that Jesus who was so radical and revolutionary in some ways - and offers this amazing gift of freedom and liberation and equality - should want to restrain people from reaching their full potential. I really hoped the morning would shed some light on some of these apparent clashes, so that I could understand more about what God wants for his church, and for me as a Christian woman.
What did you learn?
Mark explained that when, in Genesis, God decides to make a woman as a 'helper' to man, the actual Hebrew word is 'ezer', which is usually used in relation to God helping people. This affirms to me that I am not less valuable that my husband, and the 'help' that we offer is not a sort of 'second best'. I learnt that a lot of the restrictions in the New Testament on female leadership are not as harsh as they might seem, partly because of translational differences, but also because of cultural situations. I also learnt that the early church indeed was very progressive in how it viewed women, relative to the cultural norms at that time, allowing women to learn (which in ancient times was not normally allowed) and also to be apostles and prophets. In response we too should be progressive and inclusive as we search for the best and most appropriate leaders for the Church.
Has it changed your outlook on leadership?
I already lead a Network, and was pleased to find that the Bible offers strong support for female leaders. I think I've always felt like it was right to encourage women to lead, but now I have a more thorough biblical knowledge to back this up. I hope the St George’s team decide to put on this seminar again in future, so more people can benefit from the teaching we received.