Rev. Joanne Lyon, current head of the Wesleyan Church, met a couple weeks ago with the faculty and administration of our seminary and we discussed our mutual visions for the church. I think everyone would agree (see Wayne Schmidt's coming post Monday on the seminary blog) that our values and sense of direction are very much the same.
One interesting idea that popped out of the synergy of that discussion was the idea that some of our women who feel called to ministry might lead church plants. While the Wesleyan Church remains firmly in support of women in ministry from a theoretical perspective, many Wesleyan churches in practice would resist a woman pastor. The result is, as Keith Drury once wrote, that we can end up sending our best women off to other churches like the United Methodists.
So what do you do when you're the pastor of a small group of twenty dead folk with frowns on their faces, sometimes darkness in their hearts, and a death grip on the non-direction of the church? You either close the church or you ask God to empower you to build a living congregation around the dead flesh... until they can outvote the dead wood.
In the same way, the spark of an idea was to take some of our most talented women who are called but stalled in the church and start some new, living church plants. Work around the dead flesh.