The church mission committee was meeting

Chair: So the next item on the agenda is Christine’s return on home assignment for nine months.

Ron: I expect she is going to have to go round all her supporting churches raising support for her next term and we won’t see much of her.

Chair: Well actually we will have her exclusively with us for five months.

Carole: That is a long holiday!

Bill: I expect she will want to be active in the church for some of the time.

Paul: She can’t spend all that time telling us about her work even if she visits every house group and all the activities that take place.

Chair: Her mission agency has suggested that we use the gifts she has displayed in her ministry with them to benefit our own church.

Carole: So what exactly has she been doing?

Chair: She has been seconded to the staff of a large church in the capital and also done some teaching at the theological college.

Ron: So what did she do in the church – teach the women and children?

Chair: Yes she did some of that and was very active in evangelism, but she was also sharing the preaching with the lead pastor.

Ron: Well she won’t be doing that here. You know the Pastor guards his pulpit and certainly would not allow a woman to preach.

Carole: Why shouldn’t she preach here, if that is what we have been supporting her doing in Asia?

Paul: I heard her preach once. It was very good. She was very clear in explaining what the text was actually saying and her application was very challenging. I would like to hear her again

Chair: You know the Pastor has very strong views on this subject and believes that we would be disobedient to scripture if we let a woman preach.

Carole: But I remember hearing him once say that if we could get Elizabeth Elliott to visit the church he would let her preach.

Paul: So what is the difference with Christine? She hasn’t had a husband martyred, but she has certainly received the gifts from the Holy Spirit to be a good preacher. Shouldn’t we be asking questions about her gifting rather than her gender? I remember when I heard her preach I thought how much better she was than some of the men I have heard.

Chair: I did hear that one of her other supporting churches that doesn’t normally have women preaching make an exception for her.

Paul: I think we should make a recommendation that she be given opportunities to preach while she is here and then wait to see how the Elders respond.

Carole: I agree. They will probably say no, but at least we will have tried.

Bill: If they say no, doesn’t that raise issues about our supporting her? If they say that she should not preach because she is a woman then she should not do it in Asia either. And of course we are not only supporting her in the preaching but she is also lecturing in New Testament at the theological college where they are training pastors. Should she be doing that?

Ron: I think we should talk to Christine before we take any action. She has a good relationship with the Pastor and seems to have accepted his restrictions on her ministry here. We don’t want to end up withdrawing support do we? Nor do we want to spoil her fellowship with the Pastor and church members who think like him.

Bill: So it is a bit like ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ then.

Carole: What did you do in Vegas?

Chair: I think we should have a time of prayer and then think how we will proceed.


Photo by Haley Phelps on Unsplash

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Ray Porter

Ray Porter

Chair of Global Connections Board
Ray retired from full time lecturing in 2013 and his main Oak Hill roles are now in supervising dissertations and keeping an eye on some aspects of the Theology for Crossing Cultures course. Ray's major ministries have been in two blocks of 14 years with OMF: one in Indonesia where he pastored and established churches, and the other as a regional director in the UK where he recruited and encouraged missionaries and mission support. Shorter slots have been as minister of a UK church and as New Testament lecturer at Belfast Bible College. Ray also is the former Chair of the Global Connections board.
Ray Porter

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