Big Questions
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Q What should I do? I love my local church but I have a problem with some of its practices. As a woman, I am struggling with the assumed gender roles that I find sexist. I can leave for another church to save myself grief, but I worry about the young girls growing up in this church.

A Even as I commend you on loving the church enough to seek change, let me emphasize that the end goal is always to help each other grow into spiritual maturity in Christ. Therefore, prayer is a must.

If your issue is with women in office, the CRC regards both options as biblical. Otherwise, sexist behaviors have no place among Christians. Even without office-bearing, there should be affirmations of women’s spiritual gifts and service in the church.
With those in mind, I suggest you talk to others you trust. Are there others who feel the same way? If not, it might mean this community isn’t ready for change.

However, if there are others who feel the same, then I suggest you and like-minded folks mentor the young girls and boys in the church. Provide them with good resources, good role models, and good conversations on what it means to be women and men in Christ.

 Eventually, as a group, approach the church leadership discreetly and gently to voice your concerns and hopefully have a fruitful conversation. Remember that they probably mean no harm, even in disagreement. Propose specific, incremental changes rather than radical changes. A possible proposal could be a season of mutual learning and dialogue on the subject. What results from such a meeting should give you signs of possible next steps.

About the Author

Shiao Chong is editor-in-chief of The Banner. He attends Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Toronto, Ont.

Shiao Chong es el redactor jefe de The Banner. El asiste a Iglesia Comunidad Cristiana Reformada en Toronto, Ont. 

시아오 총은 더 배너 (The Banner)의 편집장이다. 온타리오 주 토론토의 펠로우쉽 CRC에 출석한다.

You can follow him @shiaochong (Twitter) and @3dchristianity (Facebook).  

See comments (1)


By the defintion of the questioner, Jesus presumed or at least acquiesced in the existence of "gender roles" in his ministry, choosing 12 men and 0 women.  

Gender roles exist in many cultures, assumed as a part of a well organized, constructive way for society to exist, as well as a part of obeying God.  Missionaries can't really be missionaries without aquiescing in a number of social ordering structures, gender roles being just one of them.  The same is true in any local church.  

If you can't get over a personal offense because gender roles exist in a particular culture or community --or church-- and focus on serving, you should consider either seriously dealing with the log in your own eye or leaving for the sake of that culture or community - or church.