MORE ANONYMOUS SURVEY ANSWERS...

Can you give an example of something that is said or done at church that makes you feel valued or honoured as a woman?
 

"My vicar occasionally sends me his sermon a few days before Sunday to read through and asks for feedback on it."

"A church that encourages women and provides opportunities for them to grow in Bible literacy."

 

"Having an equal share of men and women taking roles such as leading sung worship, reading the Bible etc."

 

"Helping in any area of the church is not gender specific. I am 60 and a woman and am on the tech team."

 

"Applications in sermons that honour the mundane aspects of motherhood."

 

"Acknowledging how hard life is as a mom to young children - finding ways to support this God given role and reaffirming life choices."

 

"The church teaches men how not to abuse their power, the church protects women in oppressive marriages."

 

"I feel like my pastor treats me as a human being. He speaks to me like I am a grown up, he values and invites my ideas and thoughts- including on Biblical issues."

 

"Including women in up front roles is very encouraging."

 

"My church has done a bible handling course for women which has shown me that I too can be well equipped to teach the Bible and disciple young women."

 

"The pastor frequently meets with me and other women to ask our opinion and wisdom on various things."

 

 

Which aspect of your current view of gender roles in church and/or family life do you find most difficult to understand or explain to others?

"I'm in a denomination that has ordained women for a long time, and it's hard for me to deny what God does through these Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Jesus-teaching women. However, I feel guilty about this. I feel as though I'm allowing experience to trump Scripture."

 

"Having to submit to a fallen human being in my husband who maybe is not being as self sacrificially serving as much as I think he should be. My friends feel I am allowing myself to be weak and manipulated and reversing years of feminist progress, that I'm putting myself down."

 

"My church is run by men and consequently often feels like it is only for men."

 

"My husband has been heavily invested in for showing godliness and leadership skills and I often feel that my leadership skills are completely under-utilised unless I wanted to do children's work or administration (which I don't!)"

 

"When men aren’t fulfilling their roles well, it is hard to justify not doing things just because you are a woman."

 

"In our church the leadership is all male, so I find it difficult to approach them with difficult situations as a woman. I tend to go to good Christian friends instead."

 

Which aspect of your current view on gender roles in church/family life do you struggle to apply consistently in your life?
 

"When my husband and I disagree about parenting issues it is more difficult to submit to his decisions."

 

"Being a mum. I feel like I miss out on a lot of teaching and fellowship because a lot of the responsibilities land on me to look after our child at church."

 

"I sometimes feel that I am not a complete woman since I don't have the privilege of having kids."

 

"I struggle to get free from the idea that I am less of a person before God because I am a woman."

 

"I believe in male eldership but it is hard when you think they could get much more done with a woman or two on board!!"

 

"Every once in a while I want to have the pulpit for a minute. ;)"


 

Can you give an example of something that is said or done at church that makes you cringe as a woman?

"When women are expected to be the ones making the coffee!"

 

"When only women are asked to cook/bake for people who have just had babies or are ill. Many men cook so why should they not also be included?"

 

"When all women's events are based around afternoon tea and crafts."

 

"When books are advertised as specifically for women - usually they are less "dense" or academic than the books advertised for men. We can read academic theology too!!!"

 

"Older male preachers making old fashioned jokes about a woman's place."

 

"Once heard a very one-sided sermon on Ephesians 5:22-33 - all about a wife's submission and little on a husband's sacrificial love, and not much about how it is really a picture of Christ and the church."

 

"I was once told to let men in my mid-week bible study speak before me which was submitting to male authority."

 

"Only making application for lust to men and eating disorders or control to women."

 

"I have had men put their hand in front of me to stop me talking in bible study. I have heard applications of the bible that are trite and irrelevant. I’ve seen it presumed that domestic child care tasks in church are female only."

 

 

Some reasons why people have changed their minds…
 

"I was quite driven by a feminist agenda when I became a Christian, I wasn't prepared to consider the Bible's view on the issue at all. After God working in my heart in terms of accepting the Bible’s authority over all issues, I spent time reading and thinking about the issues and became convinced of the complementarian viewpoint."

"I was brought up egalitarian, and have moved to a complementarian position, mostly because of the Bible, but partly pragmatically because it seems to me that it is hard enough to reach men for Jesus in our culture without the church leadership being full of women as well as the church as a whole."

 

"For the first half of my life I would have followed a complementarian view.  I had led quite a sheltered life theologically until I became a missionary and met others on my mission team who were evangelicals but held different views.  Being part of a church-planting team caused me to think again about what the Bible said about women and men's roles in ministry.  It took me more than 10 years to reach the position I now hold as I grappled with Scripture, read opposing views from respected evangelical academics, spoke with other Christians, heard sermons on the topic and saw how gender roles are worked out in practice in various churches. I am now a member of an evangelical church in which both men and women hold preaching/teaching and leadership roles." 

 

"In my 20s I was rather more black and white about women staying at home looking after the children and husbands being the breadwinner in a Christian family.  I've changed as I've thought more about what the Bible does or doesn't say about this and as I've lived among people/family in the world!"

 

"Since I had my own children and realised that a women's role as a mother is very different from that of a father and also that you need both ideally to work to bring up children and both are equally important to the children."

 

"I used to think that submission was weakness, but I have learned that godly submission is life giving. The more I study Jesus' example, the more freedom I see for women to lead and speak."

 

"I was raised very conservative and ended up experiencing a lot of shame over the fact that I am a woman. I have struggled to form a different interpretation of God’s view of woman."

 

"Formerly complementarian but researched and thought deeply about this at seminary."

 

"I used to think women should listen to men more as they had more authority but I do now see more equality and responsibility for women. The church needs the insight of women as well as the leadership of men. Things should be more mutual."

 

"As a non-Christian I refused to say obey in my wedding vows. I now understand, believe and accept the concept of male headship and have repented of previous unbelief and behaviours."

 

"Previously was comfortable with the idea that men could be vicars/ministers and not women. As I've got older and thought about it more, read more articles about it, understood more about the context in which the Bible was written, that idea has made less and less sense."

 

"Having been married to controlling abusive man, traditional roles can be give men too much power to abuse."

 

"I have flip flopped a bit through hearing both sides. I am naturally inclined to see restrictions on roles for women as injustice and therefore wrong but I desire to submit myself to God's will as revealed in scripture."

 

"Before I was married I was much more liberal and independant. Through studying God's word and seeking to be a godly wife I find my view of a women's role changed. Submission doesn't mean doormat which I previously believed it did."