Do We Need Women Advisers Again?

Vantage Point
The better alternative is for women officebearers to serve as synodical delegates. . . .

Synod 1995 received an overture noting that at Synod 1994 only three of the 184 delegates were from ethnic minority communities. The overture asked synod to “include a minimum of 10 members from the various ethnic communities in the CRC to serve as advisers to synod . . . to help synod be alert to the perspectives of the nations (Agenda for Synod 1995, p. 395). Synod decided to appoint seven advisers.

In 2005 the committee that reviewed this practice recommended that the position of ethnic adviser continue as long as the number of ethnic minority delegates was less than 25—the number representing the highest number of ethnic minorities delegated to synod in a particular year (18) plus the maximum number of ethnic advisers approved by Synod 1995 (seven). Through this practice and by other means, the denomination has become much more sensitive to the need to bring ethnic minorities “to the table of policy and decision-making at the denominational level.”

What a contrast this is to the way we’ve dealt with women advisers! Because “the presence and input of ethnic advisers [had] been beneficial to synod and the churches” and because “women [could] make a valuable contribution to the work of synod,” Synod 2000 voted to “have up to seven women . . . serve as advisers” (Acts of Synod 2000, p. 699).

Synod 2008, the synod immediately following the synod that permitted women to serve as delegates, voted to no longer appoint women advisers because “Synod 2007 approved the appointment of women delegates” (Acts of Synod 2008, p. 479). But there was no encouragement for women to attend synod or for councils and classes to delegate women, perhaps because some classes really don’t wish to see women present.

If Synod 1995 had responded to the observation that there were only three ethnic minority delegates by simply saying “ethnic minorities may be delegated to synod,” we would not be as inclusive as we are today. The effect of these two different approaches is obvious. At Synod 2012, from a rather small pool of ethnic minority denominational members, 22 were delegated (18 actually attended) and four advisers were appointed. From a much larger pool of women members, only 15 served as delegates.

Those who have served with women know that their perspective enhances the ministry of the church. Though appointing advisers is a rather artificial way of bringing people “to the table of policy and decision-making at the denominational level,” we’ve considered it necessary to make sure that the voices of ethnic minorities, women, and youth are heard. Perhaps we need to reinstate the position of “woman adviser” until there is a critical mass of women delegates. The better alternative is for women officebearers to serve as synodical delegates and for councils and classes to bring women members to the table.

About the Author

George Vander Weit is a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.

See comments (6)

Comments

According to HOT BUTTONS; Has the Church Caught Onto What Appeals to Men? by Brian Mavis
If a father is the first in the family to become a Christian:
1 ) There’s a 93% probability everyone in the household will follow.
2 ) The likelihood drops to 17% if it’s the mother.
3 ) 3.5% if it’s the child.
 
From QUEST AND THE FRATERNITY, by Robert Lewis
These statistics were part of a strategy for reaching groups and then below you will find the percentage of success for having families join your church:
1 ) 25% of reaching the family if you reach a child.
2 ) 29% of reaching the family if you reach the wife / mother.
3 ) 95% of reaching the family if you reach the husband / father.

Gracelegacybuilders, is a ministry in Grand Rapids Michigan that God is using to help equip men to be spritual leaders in the home, church and society. It makes a hugh difference spiritually, if men step up to the plate. Below are some statistics. 

Why not just let the church councils and classes send the people they believe best equiped to be delegates?  They may be white or black or brown, male or female, does it really matter as long as they're all children of God?  Why this constant attempt to stack the deck based on outward appearence?  Stop looking at race and gender and focus on spiritual maturity when choosing those who will represent us. 

70% of all prisoners grew up fatherless.

80% of all rapist grew up without a father.

71% of all high school dropouts did not have a father in the home.

63% of all teen suicides are teenagers who did not have a father.

40% of all children are raised in single parent homes.

Dr. Tony Evans says there is a "Biblical manhood as God originally intended it to be."

"God has called the men to lead His covenant, and the church is the new covenant of God. We are growing weak men in the culture because we are not developing them in the family, and then in the church, and so they are creating a mess in society." 

"The cry for Kingdom men is coming from the culture, from men themselves, and from Almighty God."

"Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray, they turn you from the path." (Isaiah 3:12)

"And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that i should not destroy it, but i found none." (Ezekiel 22:30)

"And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest i come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." (Malachi 4:6)

truthmatters - Excellent points.  I go around a bit on the women in leadership positions.  There are extremely talented women who want to serve.  My inclination is to say why not let them?  I do think that men are becoming wimps and need to step up more, not only in the church but in all aspects of life.  I have been a deacon and Christian school board member.  Were there female members of the church and school society who could have done just as well or better?  Probably.  Should they?  I tend to think so but my wife thinks not.  The Bible, which must be our guide, does seem to tell us its the man's responcibility.  Maybe if us guys put in a little more effort this issue would go away.

With statistics like these, just maybe, God was right when He gave guidelines, precepts and statutes laid out by the apostle Paul to govern the home and church. Perhaps the feminist movement has been a detriment to the truth. I remember watching a show where a women defiantly said, "Anit no man gonna tell me what to do!" i could feel the hurt and abuse of an ungodly man in her life. if she could only know a man under the authority of God's word. I know the outcome would be different. We need women who encourage men to take up their God given responsiblity to be spiritual leaders under the authority of Christ in the home and the church.

X