You can ride a bicycle with one pedal, but it sure is easier with two! – Indian male church planter
Men and women share in origin, image-bearing, sin, redemption, and giftedness. With so many yet to hear the gospel and experience Christ’s kingdom, both males and females need to be equipped, empowered, and released to take the whole gospel to the whole world. A Cambodian church planter recently stated, ‘If you have 20 men and 20 women workers in your church, why would you only want to use the 20 men? Getting the job done requires everyone.’
Yet often times the church looks similar to surrounding cultures and religions, practicing a ‘caste system’ where one’s birth as male or female determines how one can serve Christ and his church. A Thai pastor commented, ‘It is so difficult to be a female pastor . . . Sometimes I ask God, “Why do you use me?” Sometimes my heart feels such pain and at times anger when I see males are more preferred. I am just trying to obey.’
Both men and women need to remove obstacles and step up humbly to serve out of their giftedness to build up the body of Christ and impact the world. Motivation should not come from roles, rights, or pride.
All of us, women and men, married and single, are responsible to employ God’s gifts for the benefit of others, as stewards of God’s grace, and for the praise and glory of Christ. All of us, therefore, are also responsible to enable all God’s people to exercise all the gifts that God has given for all the areas of service to which God calls the Church. We should not quench the Spirit by despising the ministry of any. The Cape Town Commitment II-F-3
We continue to discover that every nation struggles with how to value, equip, and empower both males and females. Emerging from previous Lausanne gatherings, Alliance 2.29 (from Joel 2:29) serves as a catalytic resource for this issue across geographic regions and denominations. Contact us if you are interested in theological resources, prayer, hosting a local Lausanne meeting, inviting a speaker to your area on this topic, uploading relevant comments or stories, or starting a local Alliance 2.29 group.
Our action plans include encouraging both males and females to ‘pedal the bicycle’ for the sake of finishing the Great Commission.
- Stories: Promote stories of males and females who display a kingdom ethic of partnership in various religious blocks and cultures.
- Awareness and prayer: Help identify and pray over strongholds/obstacles that prevent both men and women from being released into God’s mission work.
- Theology in action: Produce and promote resources that encourage deep theological reflection and practical action, seeking every possible way to multiply the harvest force.
- Localized networks: Identify leaders in various nations with a passion to see both men and women united and released into mission. Create Alliance 2.29 groups (or some variation) with these leaders from which will spring contextualized action plans.