Clergy Resources

The original intent for this section was to discuss the theological foundations for women as clergy. As I started researching the topic, it became apparent that it would be difficult to give adequate treatment to the topic in the limitations of a portion of a web page. Therefore, I will provide a link to a source to obtain information on the theological foundations for women as clergy.

The Wesleyan/Holiness Women Clergy website list booklets prepared specially to address the issue of women fulfilling their God-given call to ministry as pastors. Visit their website at http://www.whwomenclergy.org. The text of the booklets is posted, providing the opportunity to garner information prior to purchasing a booklet. Use these resources as a means of understanding the theological biblical foundations for women as clergy regarding clergywomen.

Lately, I've realized that much of life is lived in the tension of both/and. Life is much easier if I can pigeonhole everything into neat categories. Yet, I often find that some things fit into more than one category. Living in this tension requires that I abandon categories and remain open to movement and new possibilities.

How does both/and relate to women as clergy? First, it validates women who are called into the ministry. This approach allows us to acknowledge that God calls women into pastoral ministry. A quick review of the booklets on the website mentioned above reveals the role of women in spreading the Gospel and the formation of many of the denominations within the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition.

In a recent sermon at Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Roger Hahn, professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary, stated that we gain a complete picture of the Body of Christ when both men and women preach its message. General knowledge of the differences between the make-up of men and women celebrates the diversity and understands that the genders complement each other.

Second, it appreciates the diversity of gifts. For example, some pastors are more teachers than evangelists. Others have skills that enable them to be discipelrs while others expand ministries and programs of a local congregation. Some are expositors, providing us with background of the scriptures, while others employ a narrative approach to their sermons. Ideally, we understand these differences and celebrate them.

Third, it recognizes that most of our experiences center on a male pastor. There needs to be a willingness to expand our experiences to include women. Dr. Nina Gunter and Dr. Janine Metcalf are two examples of how God uses women to share the Good News of the Gospel in today's society. Few would deny the ability of these women to preach. However, have you considered a woman as a potential candidate when your church was looking for a pastor?

As women we need to affirm and support women who are answering God's call to pastoral ministry. Conversations with some women clergy centered on the reluctance of women to having a woman as a senior pastor. Rather than being stumbling blocks, let's admit that it may challenge our comfort levels, caucusing us search for answers to questions and recognizing the gifts, talents, and abilities of clergywomen.

Living in the tension of both/and presents challenges as we confront and address issues. However, I'm convinced there is much to learn as we acknowledge and celebrate differences. We are part of a community, and part of belonging to a community is learning to work together.