Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The day after we ordain women

I'm going out on a limb here and assuming the day will come when we ordain women.

And I'm also going to assume the experience of other denominations will hold true for our own, i.e. this decision will be followed by a surge of women into the ministry.

That's why I'd suggest we begin thinking now about the following topics, just so we're ready for them:

How do we decide who pastors where?
The experience in other denominations has been that women get hired to be associate pastors or to pastor small-church districts . . . but they don't get considered for the "top" jobs in big churches, not least because they're not part of the "old boys network." So how can we be more open and transparent in our hiring and placement?

How can we protect pastors from abuse?
Emotional abuse is common enough in the ministry -- but some women pastors in other denominations have suffered far worse from their members and church leaders. And yes, I'm sure this has already happened in our own denomination as well . . . which is all the more reason to come up with some clear policies on how we deal with this.

How can we promote family-friendly policies for the ministry?
What of the pastor (male or female) with small children who wants to work part-time -- or even take off a couple of years -- until they're old enough to attend school? What of the pastor (male or female) whose spouse's job makes it difficult to move frequently? Finally, what of the pastor (male or female) who needs time-off to take care of elderly parents?

Okay, that's my list -- any answers?

1 comment:

David Hamstra said...

1. In my experience, rural churches are more resistant to women pastors, and they end up almost exclusively in larger urban or institutional churches.

2. Good point

3. In Canada, a father and mother get 12 months of paternity leave to divide between themselves as they wish. For example, the father might take all twelve months, or the father and mother might take six months each, concurrently or consecutively. The government funds this and employers have to accommodate. I know of several male pastors who have taken paternity leave under this policy. I think this policy is very family friendy.