The topic of women's participation in church meetings was the first subject we studied when we began this congregation. Gender roles in the church is one of the most debated, controversial and emotional subjects in the Scriptures. Going into our study there were mixed views among our group. I recall commenting before we began our study that I feared we would end up disagreeing over the matter. Before we studied, we prayed together for GOD to show us His will, whatever that might be, and we would accept it—we just wanted clarity of understanding. For all who were present that evening, we are convinced that GOD answered! It was an amazing experience. Within an hour-and-a-half we had reached a unanimous decision based upon our study:
During our group's meetings, women are allowed and encouraged to participate—specifically, to comment or ask questions during Bible study, offer prayer requests when solicited, and request hymns to be sung. Women will not, however, take any leadership role during our meetings and should maintain a submissive attitude.
To anyone who might be raising an eyebrow or shaking your head in disagreement while reading this, please don't quit reading yet. Let me ask you two questions, and be completely honest with yourself:
- Are you wholeheartedly searching for the truth on this subject, regardless of your current belief?
- Have you prayed earnestly for GOD to show you His will on the matter?
If you answered no to either question, there is little-to-no chance that you will agree with my explanation. Don't read further until you can answer yes to both questions.
We based our particular conclusion primarily around two factors:
- First, and most importantly, was our understanding of the Scriptures which deal with the subject. Without this, nothing else matters.
- The arrangement of our meetings. When we meet we all sit facing one another. One of the men leads us through the assembly, soliciting input and participation from others along the way. Our meetings look a lot more like a Bible or "Sunday school" class setup in other congregations than they do a traditional "worship service." This arrangement enables people—and specifically, for this discussion, women—to contribute thoughts, answer questions, or sing without "leading" in any way.
Click here to read how we reached our conclusion from the Scriptures.