Got this and plan on responding, but asked the author if I could submit it to you all for the "collective wisdom."
So- what do you think?
I am a pastor of small church plant (2 yrs. in) in XXXXXX. I have followed your blog for sometime and have been especially interested in some of the discussions you have had in the past about women in ministry and William Webb's Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic. I am familiar with Webb's model. In fact I wrote my thesis in grad school applying the RMH to Eph 5.
You may or may not have any advice but I thought I'd pick your brain on the following issue. Our church is wrestling with the issue of women in positions of leadership. Currently, women are encouraged to participate in all areas of church life such as leading worship, speaking, and leading individual areas of ministry. However, our board feels compelled to restrict women from participating in the highest level of leadership within our church. The board that we have is made of myself and four other men. One individual on the board and myself are convinced that women participating as the equivalent of elders is a good thing and the direction our church should go. Two others on the board are firmly opposed to this and one is on the fence. I am sure you see the jam.
Those opposed are good guys but are convinced that the best approach is to remain conservative on issues that are ambiguous like this. Their convictions are borne out of a real concern. They want to be faithful to God by being faithful to Scripture. Most of us have come out of churches where women were not encouraged or allowed to lead. All of these guys are sharp but remain unconvinced by the RMH. They have not read Webb's book, however, but I am not sure that would be enough.
We are a small congregation... we have around 85 people on a regular basis. We have had some success in building relationships with people who have been both burned by the church and those who have never been a part of it. Our board is more conservative than the rest of the church and they are aware that there could be some real problems regardless of the decision that is made. Gratefully, the board agrees that the most important thing they do is resolve this issue in a way that honors the Spirit's work in one another and within our congregation. How we make a decision is more important than what decision we make.
There is some pressure on the board to resolve this issue before Aug 1 when their terms expire and a more permanent leadership structure is put in place. Do you have any suggestions on how to proceed?
I know you are a busy guy and understand that you may not have time to respond to each e-mail. If you have a thought or two that would be really helpful. If you don't have any advice pray for us anyway. Thanks for taking the time to read this rambler of an e-mail.
God bless you,