Like it or not, for most women in the church there is a stained glass ceiling. Women have limits. In most churches, they are not allowed to baptize or to give communion. In many other churches they cannot teach from the pulpit or hold a position of authority.
The stained glass ceiling is a reality, and it’s painful for women to keep hitting their heads against it.
Even within the house church movement, where there are generally no barriers for women, those of us who were brought up in the traditional church still find it difficult to initiate or lead out. We have been conditioned to live within stained glass limits. As I observe the simple/organic/house churches I am familiar with, I find it’s usually the women who either were brought up in the simple/organic movement, or those who became followers of Jesus within it, who plant churches.
We recently held a round table at our home where people from many different church backgrounds came to listen to the Lord about where God is taking this movement of men and women working together as co-equals in the Kingdom. Several of the women described the stained glass ceiling they still experience in their churches, and the incredible pain and frustration it causes them. These are women of caliber with professional qualifications who, in church, cannot fully use their considerable gifts and talents solely because of their gender.
Some of the men present described how, in the past, they have been responsible for creating a stained glass ceiling for women. They repented very specifically to the women for their personal role and for the church’s patriarchal attitude. They deliberately dismantled the stained glass ceiling for the women present.
I’ve been in meetings before where this has happened and witnessed firsthand the healing that this brings to women. I’ve experienced it in my own life too.
As I look around the world, it appears that the Holy Spirit is in the process of shattering the stained glass ceiling. As Gamaliel said in Acts 5,
“If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
If this move of men and women partnering together for the harvest is something God is doing, nothing can stop it!
My latest book, The Black Swan Effect: A Response to Gender Hierarchy in the Church is now available. Check it out.