Most people who read this blog know that, although its main emphasis is usually on simple/organic church, for several months I’ve been writing consistently about women. The reason? For the past two years, I’ve been compiling a book on women in the Kingdom. That process is very now very nearly finished. Just the final details on the last chapter to go before the manuscript is ready to send to the publisher (YAY!)
Here’s a little history behind the book.
Five years ago, recognizing my own need for peer fellowship, I reached out to a few women who play a significant role in the body of Christ. We connected via conference call. As our fellowship grew deeper, a natural discussion topic was the role of women in the church. Between us, we were aware of many women who desire everything God has for them, but yet who hang back, waiting for a man to take the lead. What could we do to give them permission to follow the Holy Spirit with all their hearts no matter where he led, even if it meant them taking the initiative? How could we encourage men to stand with them?
We knew from experience that in the church in the West, with notable exceptions, women have been sidelined and marginalized. Because they’ve been taught that they’re stepping out of line if they initiate or lead, they have settled back into passivity. Men lead; women follow. That’s the godly pattern. The result? The mission of Jesus suffers as a large portion of the workforce for the harvest waits for men to take the initiative.
On a couple of occasions, our team of women went away together for several days of prayer and fellowship. Always we came back to the idea that God longs to free women into their destiny, that if they were released, the workforce for the Kingdom of God would potentially double. The obvious follow-up question: is there anything we can do to inspire and empower other women?
Then came a weekend when God spoke to a larger group of 12 of us about Deborah and Barak. As a result of studying that story, we decided to approach some men who we knew stand with us in our beliefs about the role of women. We recognized that if a group of women tackled this subject, we would be perceived as feminists with an agenda, but if both men and women were involved, it had the potential of contributing to a Kingdom movement.
Many men actively advocate on behalf of women. Some take every opportunity to speak about the injustice that exists in the church and do everything they can to promote women. Others have made the study of the Scriptures concerning women a priority. Still others take practical steps to hold open the doors allowing women in ministry. Several pledged to stand with us and together we would seek to release women.
The group of half a dozen women finally concluded that we would write a book together, and that we would ask men to contribute.
We approached several men who agreed to share from their particular area of interest and expertise. We are so grateful to them for their willingness to identify with us and to actively champion the cause of women.
The final list of contributors to the book apart from myself:
Peggy Batcheller-Hijar, Neil Cole, “Jan Diss,” Katie Driver, Dave Ferguson, Michael Frost, Alan Hirsch, Suzette Lambert, Floyd McClung, Julie Ross, Frank Viola, and Jon Zens