A few weeks ago I attendedÂ the funeral ofÂ PawPaw’s AuntÂ JoAnn who was killed in an automobile wreck in Georgia.Â Three ministers officiated at the service - two men and one woman.Â I was struck with how comforting and spiritual the woman minister was.
After the innumerable arguments in comments here at TMS aboutÂ women ministersÂ - with the COC folks declaring that it isÂ anti-scriptural and wrong, I guess I am very sensitive to the whole issue.Â Well, and the fact that my mother is a minister.Â Whenever I’m around a woman minister - such as at JoAnn’s funeral -Â I observeÂ carefully to see if there’s a hint of arrogance or of trying to push her way into a previously all-male world.Â I try to figure out her motivation and purpose.Â I’ve had significant interactions with three women ministers, and all three have been positive interactions.
The COC folks who’ve commented here have written that males and females have their mutually exclusive roles, and any position ofÂ service in a churchÂ where a woman might possibly lead Christian men is forbidden.Â Of course their male domination extends beyond just the ministry. It seems amazingly arrogant to not only discount what one could learn from half the population but to also limit what God can do through the ministry of women.
The minister at the funeral was named Melissa. Â She gave the main eulogy - talking about JoAnn’s life and sharing little anecdotes about JoAnn.Â Her message was one of honoring JoAnn’s life as she told about how JoAnn grew up, married Ansley andÂ how she lovedÂ God and her family - how she lived a life of service to others. Before and after the service she was at JoAnn and Ansley’s home, visiting with the family and providing comfort and guidance.
LaterÂ I overheard PawPaw’s mother remark to someone that she’s never been much in favor of women ministers, but after hearingÂ Melissa speak at the funeral and watching her as sheÂ interacted withÂ the family, she would like having her for a minister.Â I’ve seen the same thing happen in churches where my mother was a minister.Â Once people experience having a woman as their minister, they realize the narrowness of believing that God can only work through men as ministers.
I guess if a person has never been around women ministers, it would be easy to say that it’s wrong and to follow blindly the teachings of churches such as the COC.Â However, I can say unequivocably that God is working through the ministry of at least the three women ministers that I know, and the churches and the communities where they work are the better for it.
Â I think my mother said it best when she said hers is not a ministry of authority butÂ of service.