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It's Different Here #4 - We Recognize the Full Potential of Women as Spiritual Leaders

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We recognize the full potential of women as spiritual leaders.

Central has a longstanding tradition of including women at the highest levels of church leadership. You may have been part of a church that limits when or how women are allowed to serve. We take a different approach. We believe Christ himself set an example of including women in his closest circle of leadership. We see women like Priscilla and Junias showing up in the New Testament, helping to launch the church.  It is not unnoticed here that the very first person to witness the resurrection was Mary Magdalene and that she and several other women were the first people to spread the good news of Christ’s resurrection.

 

For most of my life, I’ve attended churches that limited women's participation in church leadership. At the same time, I observed that much of the church's actual work was being accomplished by women. It struck me as odd that women could clean up after communion but could not serve communion. They could serve as leaders on the mission field but not at the churches that sponsored them. 

 

Perhaps the best way to highlight the importance of this difference is to just let one woman, Heather, talk about what this has meant to her at Central.

 

One thing that makes Central Christian stick out in our community is that members are given the same opportunities to serve and lead, regardless of gender. Long before the board of elders announced that everyone is included at Central, regardless of gender identity (or sexual orientation), this has been demonstrated by intentionally inviting women to join the board of elders, preach sermons, lead Bible studies and worship services, head committees, and teach children and youth. By including women as leaders, we are all able to get a fuller glimpse of God’s love, power, and wisdom. We are also creating more opportunities to warmly welcome our visitors and new members. We acknowledge that God used women in major roles throughout scripture and Christian history and that the Holy Spirit gives us equal authority to lead one another in the Christian faith.

 

Now, a little about my story. As a little girl, I was taught to be quiet and obedient. As a young-ish woman, I had not had many opportunities to be a leader, even while working in a predominantly female profession. When I was asked to join the board of elders at Central, I was shocked. I prayed and prayed and felt that God was pushing me to lean into this role, get out of my comfort zone, and trust that the Holy Spirit could work through me. About a year after joining the board, I was nominated to take the role of chair of the elder board. I experienced the same prayerful process of self-doubt turning into an invitation to trust God. Serving on the board for three years was a time of rich spiritual growth in this area, and has encouraged me to lean into other leadership roles in my life. I share all this to encourage other women: let yourself be seen and heard. God is inviting you to take an active role in making this world more like Heaven, and we at Central would love to be part of that journey. 

 

We need the skills and insights of women like Heather to live up to our full potential as a Jesus-centered church. If you’ve ever bumped into a glass ceiling at church, come check out Central. That won’t happen here.

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