Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Women Church Planters

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.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Schenck,
This concept is an awesome idea! I know a few women pastors who have experienced many of the non-movable people. I have observed the discouragement of a called women of God at the brink of leaving ministry because of the dead wood that called themselves "pillars of the church."
I am very excited to see how Wesley Seminary will work with the denomination to raise up an army of women planters and churches!
GO! Go! GO!

Ken Schenck said...

I should make it clear that the caustic tone and "dead flesh" motif here is all me. Dr. Lyon and the others from the seminary were perfectly sanctified about the idea. I added the attitude.

Anonymous said...

I was saddened to read the article about 'deadwood' in the churches. What a challenge to love one another! I watched my Preacher father set that example before me while growing up in the Wesleyan's. He was the most Humble and Godly man I ever knew, and probably because he Loved the people. Deadwood? Don't think so. He had a servant heart, and it made a difference, ,,

Ken Schenck said...

This was a rhetorical piece aimed at those whose prejudices keep them from accepting a woman minister. I didn't mean to suggest that all small congregations of 40 are deadwood. Many want to reach out and just don't know how. Many others are full of stubborn bitter people who will die off one by one until the church closes.