Women & leadership in the church

Come join us as we walk along this journey together

An Announcement from the Elder Board

Many of you are aware that as a church we are going to be entering a time of study and discussion as we seek to discern the Lord’s leading with regard to having women serve as elders here at Avalon. As the Elders we want to give you an update on how we see this journey unfolding. Before we get into the details of the timeline, the board wants to emphasize the importance of how we as a church will approach this topic. We know there are differing views held within our fellowship and there is a potential for tension, but there is also a great opportunity for us to find a unifying clarity within the scriptures as we study them together. Our posture towards this topic is going to be of utmost importance.

First, we must have a posture of humility before the Lord. As a church we want to look to the Bible to see God’s design, his purposes, his will for us, and how he wants us to live this out in the practical aspects of our fellowship. Let’s approach the text humbly and prayerfully and let’s ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us through His word. This posture of humility before the Lord and his word is not the same thing as a posture of uncertainty. We believe that the Bible does have something to say about this, and we also believe that by God’s grace we are able to know it. But the way to come to that is to allow the text to speak to us. This means that we commit ourselves not to our pre-existing opinions, but rather to searching and drawing out the meaning of the text then allowing ourselves to sit under God’s authority and his word.

The second posture that is going to be very important is a posture of love toward one another. Our culture is big on making flimsy arguments with harsh and cruel words, but that’s not how it should be among us. In our church family we ought to speak and act kindly towards one another.  We ought to be able to put ourselves in each other’s shoes and treat each other the way that we would like to be treated. We ought to examine our own hearts regularly for selfishness and pride as we interact and read and study. We need a posture of love toward one another.
As a board we have been studying the book of Ephesians in our times together, and we think that Ephesians 4:2 ought to characterize our fellowship. It says: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

So with that as our foundation of how we want to approach this process, we the Elders have laid out 5 stages to this journey. This fall/winter we will start the journey off with a time called Foundation Laying where we will discuss what Eldership currently looks like for Avalon. As you heard last week, we have our Kitchen Table Conversations this Tuesday where you can come out to begin to engage with your church family. Here you’ll have the opportunity to discuss and help form the next few stages of our journey with the Elders. We want to hear from you on how you see this whole process will unfold.
We will then move into a time of what we’re calling Personal Learning where you can begin to dive into the scriptures and other resources we have laid out in our Church Library. This dedicated time will be as individual families and those close to you. In the spring we will have our District Superintendent Bernie Van De Walle will give a presentation that will kick us off into our formal process what we are calling the Corporate Learning & Discussion time. This stage will stretch through the summer until next winter where we will have multiple formal learning and discussion sessions as a church. Winter / Spring of 2023/24 we will have a dedicated time of Discernment, Reflection, and Prayer although this should be a constant theme throughout our journey. Finally, we will arrive at a Decision Making phase where we will have a membership vote around March 2024.

So as you can see some details are still being planned, but we have laid out the stages and timeline to the process. So we the Elders invite you to come join us as we walk along this journey together. Again if there are any concerns about this announcement or other topics concerning the church, please find an Elder and they will be more than willing to get the information you are looking for.

Avalon Alliance Elder Board November 27, 2022

Corporate Learning & Discussion

As part of our journey, we have set aside some time for Corporate Learning & Discussion.  Kicked off with a presentation, our District Superintendent Rev Dr. Bernie Van de Walle guided us through a discussion on Women and Leadership in the Church.
We are now in the time dedicated to family discussions that dive deeper into the conversation of Women & Leadership in the Church.  These sessions are designed as private family conversations. Sessions will be available through the password protected link below. Please contact the office for the password.

Complementarian Perspective Books

Men and Women in the Church A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction

Kevin DeYoung
Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung presents the biblical case for the distinctness of men and women in the church and addresses common objections to complementarianism.

Eve in ExileAnd the Restoration of Femininity

Rebekah Merkle
The first part of this book provides a history of feminism. The second part looks at different biblical passages and how they show God’s design for men and women.

Jesus & GenderLiving as Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher
Teaching on gender relations, roles, and rules binds the conscience beyond what Scripture actually teaches. Gender has become a battleground for power. But God created men and women not to compete for glory but to cooperate for his glory. In Jesus and Gender, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher paint a new vision for gender--Christ's gentle and lowly heart.

Jesus, Justice & Gender Roles: A Case for Gender Roles in Ministry

(Part of the Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry Series)

Kathy Keller
A personal and challenging perspective on biblical gender roles and the complementarian view. a preference for reserving certain leadership positions in ministry for men. Only 43 pages.

God’s Good Design: What the Bible Really Says About Men and Women Second Edition

Claire Smith
Claire Smith looks closely at seven key Bible passages about men and women and how they should relate together in God's purposes.

God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical Theological Survey

Andreas J. Kostenberger & Margaret Elizabeth Kostenberger
A husband and wife team--both biblical scholars--set forth a robust biblical theology of gender, examining key texts, employing sound hermeneutical principles, and considering important historical influences related to the Bible's teaching on manhood and womanhood.

Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism 2012 edition

Edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem
The rise of evangelical feminism challenges traditional Christian beliefs related to gender roles in society, the home, and the church. This comprehensive defense of complementarianism contributes to the debate with systematic argumentation and practical application.A full conversation on the Egalitarian Perspective from a number of Biblical Scholars, Theologians, and Church Practitioners on (1) Biblical Texts, (2) Theology, (3) Culture, and (4) Practical Applications. (This volume is meant as a complement to Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood edited by Wayne Grudem & John Piper)

Complementarian Perspective Podcasts

What You Should Know About Biblical Complementarianism

The Gospel Coalition   Sept. 23, 2022
Melissa Kruger, and Nancy Guthrie discuss what it means to have a healthy, biblical view of complementarianism. Melissa Kruger defines complementarianism as understanding men and women to be “equal in worth and dignity, and different in how we live that out in the world.” The panel answers questions like “What does healthy and unhealthy complementarianism look like?” and “How do we graciously argue for it when others disagree?” As the panel discusses the differences in the roles of men and women, they also encourage us to keep the gospel central and to follow the example of Jesus in how he treated both men and women.

Male and Female He Created Them

The Gospel Coalition   October 9, 2015
Panelists Tim and Kathy Keller, John Piper, Don Carson, and Kathleen Nielson discuss how they each came to a position of complementarianism, what complementarianism is not, and the enormous implications of moving away from the clear teachings of Scripture on gender roles.

Egalitarian Perspective Books

Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts

Lucy Peppiatt
Does God call women to serve as equal partners in marriage and as leaders in the church? Lucy Peppiatt offers her work on interpretation of the Bible and Christian practice. With careful exegetical work, Peppiatt considers relevant passages in Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Peter, 1 Timothy, and 1 Corinthians. There she finds a story of God releasing women alongside men into all forms of ministry, leadership, work, and service on the basis of character and gifting, rather than biological sex.

Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry

(Part of the Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry Series)

Michael Bird
Originally published as a short eBook, Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts offers an engaging, incisive perspective on biblical gender equality and the egalitarian view.
While Bird is now egalitarian, he nevertheless strikes a respectful tone toward those in his previous camp, seeking to craft a perspective that both values women and upholds biblical differences between the sexes. Humorous and hard-hitting, Bird will challenge readers on both sides of the gender-issue divide.

Partners in Christ: A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism

John Stackhouse
When it comes to understanding what Scripture says about men and women, those on both sides of the debate can and do marshal strong evidence from the Bible. Why are they able to do this? John Stackhouse boldly contends it is because Scripture in fact says both things.

The Blue Parakeet

Scot McKnight
In this bold, engaging re-examination of reading the Bible, Scot McKnight calls all Christians from both ends of the spectrum to stop taming the Bible and to let it speak anew to our hearts. He invites us to rethink how to read the Bible, to see it as a story that we're all summoned to enter and to carry forward in our day.

Discovering Biblical Equality

edited by Ronald Pierce & Cynthia Long Westfall
The third edition of this ground-breaking work brings together scholars firmly committed to the authority of Scripture to explore historical, biblical, theological, cultural, and practical aspects of this discussion. This fresh, positive defense of gender equality is at once scholarly and practical, irenic yet spirited, up-to-date, and cognizant of opposing positions. In this edition, readers will find both revised essays and new essays on biblical equality in relation to several issues, including the image of God, the analogy of slavery, same-sex marriage, abortion, domestic abuse, race, and human flourishing. Discover for yourself God's vision for gender equality.
A full conversation on the Egalitarian Perspective from a number of Biblical Scholars, Theologians, and Church Practitioners on (1) Biblical Texts, (2) Theology, (3) Culture, and (4) Practical Applications. (This volume is meant as a complement to Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood edited by Wayne Grudem & John Piper)The Gospel Coalition   October 9, 2015

Egalitarian Perspective Podcasts

Evangelicalism and Feminism

Kingdom Roots with Scot McKnight   Feb 4, 2016
The role of women in the Church is one of the biggest debates in Christianity today. Dr. McKnight helps turn this hotly contested debate into a positive conversation.
The Kingdom Roots Podcast with Scot McKnight is a conversation about how the Kingdom took root then and how it takes root now. Kingdom Root conversations with Scot McKnight will give clarity to the context of the New Testament and how that context informs the Church today.

Female church leadership, complementarity and marriage

Ask NT Wright Anything  Jan 30, 2019
Tom answers questions on what the New Testament says about the role of women in church leadership. Does 1 Tim 2:13-15 forbid women from preaching? What does he make of complementarian vs egalitarian theology? How does he treat passages such as Ephesians 5: 22 ‘wives submit to your husband’?