Women in Ministry: 15 Years Later

Fifteen years after women were first allowed to serve as ministers of the Word and sacraments in the Christian Reformed Church, approximately 70 women have been ordained, many of whom serve in the CRC.

But equal opportunity for women in CRC ministry remains elusive.

Of the roughly 500 candidates declared eligible for the ministry since 1996, 87 percent are men. But when it comes to positions as a senior or solo pastor, 97 percent of men get those calls.

Women, on the other hand, are getting calls to staff positions and chaplaincy at a rate that far outstrips their presence on the candidacy list.

Churches call only 3 percent of female candidates to senior or solo pastor positions. Twenty-nine percent receive calls to staff positions such as youth pastors or family life pastors, and 34 percent receive calls to chaplaincy positions, mostly in the medical field. The rest are finding other ways to serve, including on the mission field or in the employ of the denomination.

But that’s when women can find a position. Of candidates needing an extension because they did not receive a call within one year of being declared a candidate, 31 percent are women, more than double the 13 percent they represent on the candidacy list.

Women Waiting Longer for Calls

The Banner surveyed female pastors and, with only one exception, respondents agreed that it takes substantially longer for women to receive calls than men. And when they do get a call, it may be to a position they weren’t seeking, rather than to a solo pastorate.

Indeed, fewer openings are available to women. In August 2011, the denomination’s Pastor-Church Relations office reported that 59 churches were actively seeking a new pastor. Of those, almost half (26) said they would consider only male candidates. The rest didn’t indicate whether they would consider a woman. None of the profiles specifically indicated a willingness to consider a woman.

Rev. Karen Norris served as pastor of congregational life and outreach for West End CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, until recently. “I observed most of my male classmates receiving calls before me,” she said. “I was encouraged to apply for chaplaincy positions and youth pastor positions, though I did not feel called to youth ministry. It was an incredibly discouraging time.”

Rev. Chelsey Harmon, associate pastor of Christ Community CRC in Nanaimo, British Columbia, said she found it difficult to find a church position. “In my experience, women are not receiving calls as readily as men, and women are compromising on the types of calls they will take,” she said.

Women who have been in the ministry longer recognize that the job search isn’t getting easier.

“I have taught amazing women who will be fantastic pastors,” said Rev. Mary Hulst, chaplain for Calvin College and assistant professor of homiletics at Calvin Theological Seminary. “It is heartbreaking to see them have to wait for calls.”

Rev. Thea Leunk, senior pastor of Eastern Avenue CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich., mentors female seminary graduates. “I know that they are often not interviewed for open positions and most often are only considered for associate pastor positions,” she said. “Many have to get creative in designing a call so they can be ordained.”

With so many women in part-time staff or chaplaincy positions, it is tempting to assume that they prefer those positions. And indeed, some do. Many women in chaplaincy are there because they view that as their calling. And many women who are caring for young families are happy to work part-time.

But in terms of making it a generalization regarding all women in ministry, “that’s bunk,” said Rev. Vicki Cok, pastor of Waterloo CRC, Ontario. “Women go to seminary to be ministers—just like men.”

Clergy Couples

The women who have received calls sooner rather than later after being declared candidates have often been older graduates, in their 40s and 50s. And those same women were more likely to receive a call to a solo pastor position.

Other women employed sooner were those married to fellow candidates or someone already in the ministry. They are part of a new wave of clergy couples.

While the women who are part of those clergy couples are happy to be working in ministry, it can be a double-edged sword.

One respondent said that once her husband graduated and they started considering team ministry, they found more churches willing to talk to them.

But another said she works basically as a volunteer, whereas her husband is employed. “It’s difficult because his career seems to take precedence,” she said. “The assumption is that I am BOGO [buy one, get one free].”

Follow Your Calling with Eyes Open

Despite the difficulties they face, most of the women surveyed said they are happy and fulfilled in their ministry. Some have found the kind of position they envisioned when they went to seminary. Others have been “surprised by God,” working in roles they hadn’t envisioned but where they have found fulfillment.

They also wouldn’t hesitate to encourage women to enter the ministry if that’s where God is calling them. But, they said, those women need to do so knowing there will be difficulties.

“I don’t think we should discourage women,” said one respondent. “Ultimately God opens doors that no one can shut.”

That said, “we need to not sugarcoat how well we are doing,” said Harmon. “There are too many candidates who are eligible who are not getting calls.”

Rev. Leanne Van Dyk graduated from seminary a decade before the CRC approved the ordination of women, so she left the denomination to find work. She was ordained in the Presbyterian Church and is now in the Reformed Church in America, where she is academic dean and professor of Reformed theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich.

 “I am concerned about the issue of young women receiving appropriate encouragement and affirmation but then hitting the wall of a resistant denomination,” she said. “It is a terrible affront not only to the women candidates but to the Holy Spirit.”

Rev. Erica Schemper also left the CRC to find work. She was, until recently, pastor for children and youth for Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva, Ill. She expresses concern about women who already have a church position. “I’ve heard stories of women in the CRC who know that if they leave the position they are in, they may not find another call,” she said. “Churches can potentially abuse this power they have over a woman pastor.”

Change Will Follow Experience

Asked if they foresee a change in the CRC any time soon, respondents’ answers ranged from those not expecting any change to those who hope for change to those who said there will be change, but it will come slowly.

However, they said, change will not come from arguing the issue, but rather from experience. “We have to change our perception of what a pastor looks like, sounds like, and even pastors like before those of us who are ‘unconventional’ are going to be able to thrive in our ministries,” said Harmon.

“I've discovered that most of the time, [attitudes] don't change from arguing. Instead, amazing changes in attitudes take place [with] some positive experience with a female pastor,” said Rev. Eleanor Rietkerk, senior pastor of Mill Creek (Wash.) Community CRC.

“Churches need to have women regularly come and preach, or hire a seminary student for the summer,” said Hulst. “The more we as a church see the gifts that God has given these people, the more eager we will be to hire them.”

Some look to the Presbyterian Church, both in the U.S. and Canada, for an idea of what the future holds for female clergy in the CRC. The PC(USA) opened ordination to women more than 50 years ago.

Schemper said, “One thing that makes a huge difference is that churches are now required by their presbyteries to consider both female and male applicants. Truthfully, it’s probably not policies that have changed people’s minds so much as the slow progress of time and exposure.”

In the meantime, women in CRC ministry will continue doing what God has called them to do and encouraging other women who are called to follow God’s leading.

As one said, “Women need to keep on doing the work faithfully. That is the best testimony.”

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

See comments (42)

Comments

We need men of courage to rise up, take up their God given mandate to not only be faithful, spiritual, and responsible leaders of their homes, but also the church.

Why are some quotes in this article anonymous, with no reason given for anonymity? The article would pack a greater punch if more sources were willing to speak "on the record" or if the Banner at the very least noted why a name was being withheld.

That's too bad.

I am delighted that so many ordained women are in the chaplaincy. I facilitated many of them into this ministry.They have done wonderful ministry in institutions that appreciate their calling, their training, and the skills for ministry. When I was Director of Chaplaincy Ministries for the CRCNA, I was brought to my knees many times, in praising and thanking God, when supervisors of these chaplains praised their ministy. When I went to the meeting of the groups that certify and offer continuing education for chaplains,I saw our female chaplains serving in elected positions, serving well and with deep profession ability. I am amazed that secular institutions value ministry regardless of gender considerations, while my denomination values males over females. I think the female disciples of Jesus and Paul's female co-workers in ministry must look upon us with sadness. I wanted to say something very negative, but these are sainted women who fought their own struggles. To the women who are graduates of my Seminary, I salute you, because in so many ways you do ministry that I am not gifted to do. Praise God for you and your suffering service in the CRCNA.
Bless your ministry with Spirit filled joy and hope for a better tomorrow.

I am serving the Valley CRC in Binghamton, NY as an Interim Ministry Team with my wife, Martheen, who is one of the first two women graduates from Calvin Sem in 1978.

The Council here, after discussing the issue with the congregation, has instructed the Search Committee to carry out their pastoral search of all candidates based on their qualifications and Valley CRC's need including all gifted and qualified minister candidates, regardless of gender, as they continue the search process. This person would be the sole pastor here.

Don Griffioen

Could it be that "equal opportunity for women in CRC ministry remains elusive" because the CRC continues to officially hold that opposite views on women in office are Biblically defensible, namely that women ought not to be hold the ruling offices and that they may?

Then again, it could simply be that overturning 500 years of precedence takes more than 15 years...

I would love to see a similar article talking about the same statistics as they pertain to people of color (both men and women). I've heard that the situation is essentially the same for men of color who graduate from seminary. Translation--only white males need apply.

Thank you, Gayla, for this article!

One person commented that it takes more than 15 years to make this kind of change. Indeed. However, let us consciously strive for justice and wholeness in our denomination!

From Halifax,

Dave

I am actually saddened by this article. The writer assumes the call of women by God. I know this is not an article that is to argue for, or justify the position of women in ecclesiastical office, but I can't help but ask the question: Why? The problem, as I see it is that the CRC has been lukewarm in their approach to this topic. They have ridden the fence and have made half gestures to both sides of the argument. Why are we facing this problem? Because there is no clear teaching. The CRC needs to decide once for one side or the other. This argument is ripping apart the church. I, as a future pastor (DV), need to realize what I am doing. I keep finding myself asking if I can faithfully sign the form of subscription. The forms of subscription and profession (2 forms that have either been changed or had any sense of authority stripped away from them by recent Synodical decisions), state "Do you believe the doctrine...taught in this christian church to be the true and complete doctrine of salvation(meaning the true understanding of Scripture)..." This is the phrase that I ask to be taken seriously. As of the decisions on women in office and paedocommunion, I cannot sign and will not be able to be a pastor in the CRC.

I am celebrating 25 years of ministry in the CRC this fall. When I started I was voted in by a very slim margin of the all male Council. About a year later, some of those elders who had voted against hiring me as a female, came to me and said that after having me at work in their midst, they had changed their minds. I agree that it is more about lack of experience with and therefore fear and assumptions about--that create the barriers and hesitation with regards to women in ministry. So the more we can work faithfully among-- the better!

Certainly God has a place for women in ministry, but at the same time, I hope we can recognize and respect that our God is a God of order and balance. He has established order within the family (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-21 ) and the church (1 Tim. 2:11-14; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). Even within the Trinity there is an order, a hierarchy. The Father sent the Son (John 6:38) and both the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). Jesus said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me," (John 6:38).

In creation, God made Adam first and then Eve to be his helper. This is the order of creation. It is this order that Paul mentions in 1 Tim. 2:11-14 when speaking of authority. Being a pastor or an elder is to be in the place of authority. Therefore, within the church, for a woman to be a pastor or elder, she would be in authority over men in the church which
contradicts what Paul says in 1 Tim. 2:11-14.

This article is missing a very important piece of information: That this denomination decided some years back that both positions (for woman clergy and against women clergy) could be found in scripture. People are feel to say this is wrong ,or doesnt make sense ,or isnt just. However, it is the position of this denomination .So ,I can understand the frustration of women who want to become pastors in the CRC but find it difficult to find a position.
But according to our denomination, churches have every right to only hire males .So this is much more than a "justice" issue or a "if they just got to hear women preach more" sollution. According to this denomination, it is Biblically defensible. Gayla R. Postma, I have enjoyed your articles over the years. My question is, why did you leave this information out? It needs to be included.

I was privileged to serve as an elder with Rev. Mary Hulst at Eastern Ave. CRC and now am privileged to serve as a deacon with Rev. Thea Leunk. Some churches in the CRC denomination have no clue as to what they are missing by not using all of God's children's gifts.

Brian,
You're right, I probably should have included a reference to the church's official stance on female clergy. It is one of those blind spots where an author sometimes assumes knowledge on the part of readers when she shouldn't.

We as a church open ourselves up to vulnerability and false doctrines when we come out from under the umbrella of God's protection through God-given authority. When we take a big scissors and cut out the passages of Scripture we don't like, there are consequences. The role reversal and emasculation of the church has added further stress and confusion in the home and society. Male church attendance tends to drop. The church develops an earth-centric worldview. In addition, every denomination that advocates homosexuality has first broken down the protective barrier of male leadership. Because of the fall into sin, men tend to relinquish their God-ordained roles and women tend to take them over.

A major thrust of this article is that women’s serving as pastors will be accepted more not by argument, but as people experience it more. But I think that is exactly the problem—-the shift toward more women as pastors is occurring because people are letting their experience overrule what the Bible says. The women themselves are misinterpreting the positive experiences they do have as signs of God’s approval of what they are doing.

Its seems that a significant misconception in all of this is that having gifts that prove useful for pastoring make it appropriate for someone to be a pastor. That does not follow; consider by analogy that God created a tree in the garden of Eden that was gifted with the ability to supply food to Adam and Eve, but he commanded them not to eat it. And, I would argue, God has commanded women, regardless of their gifts, not to exercise authority over men in the church (1 Tim. 2:12). But Eve judged by her experience and ate it, and setting aside the command, Adam went along with it, and it must have seemed like a very freeing idea, at the time, before the curse.

As another writer has already alluded to, what if God, intending to teach us about himself—-specifically about submission among equals in the Trinity—-chose to have men and women equally gifted (maybe not exactly the same gifts), but wives submitting to their husbands in the home, and women refraining from being pastors in the church (1 Cor. 11:3; 14:33-34), and using their equal gifts in other ways instead? Do you want us to ignore this picture by means of which God has revealed part of his nature, and to fail to portray it to the world? Think of how freeing it is to know that submitting to another person does not imply personal inequality.

The article is about how women aren't getting calls to churches, not whether they are called or not. Because the women who are not receiving calls have been tried and tested. They have wrestled with God over and over again. They have dug through scripture and questioned their calls. And God has answered with a resounding "YES! I have called you!" They've passed their oral comps, their language requirements, their psych evals, and their internships have been completed. They have stood before synod and been declared fit for ministry. They have been called by God and that call has been affirmed by the communities from which they came. These are women who have listen to God. They have rested in their faith. And the article begs the question "Where are the churches?" Where are the churches when it's their turn to listen to God to take a step in faith and call a female pastor, to do what they know in their hearts to be true, to be an agent of change and renewal. That's what we should be talking about!

Acts 2- repeated from Joel.

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.

Duane asserts that “the shift toward more women as pastors is occurring because people are letting their experience overrule what the Bible says.” That is certainly a possibility. As people experience good sermons, pastoral care, leadership, etc. from women pastors, they may think that having women pastors is okay instead of realizing that, in Duane’s opinion, the Bible prohibits this.

However, we ought not to depreciate the validity of “experience.” Sometimes people who are racist change their opinions because of experience. They interact with people of other races and discover that their prejudice is both unfounded and contrary to “what the Bible says.” It’s their experience, not a theological argument, that forces them to take another look at God’s Word. (We all know that prejudice has been propped up by an appeal to certain Biblical texts).

Some who have been very judgmental of divorced people have tempered their judgments when they’ve experienced divorce in their own families. They haven’t concluded that divorce is a good thing, but they have responded in ways that show Christian grace and the love of the Lord Jesus. It’s their experience, not a theological argument, that forces them to take another look at God’s Word.

Though we’d probably argue with the saying that “experience is the best teacher,” we know that experience is a good teacher. We ought not to belittle it when it comes to our appraisal of women pastors. Perhaps our experience will force us to take another look at God’s Word and the gifts that God’s Spirit gives to God’s people. When some do that, they may conclude that God has gifted and called both men and women as pastors.

That's what I think the Word says, and that's also been my experience.

A great article and one that certainly highlights the challenges many women face in terms of systematic discrimination within the denomination. No matter how well dressed, sexism is sexism. Let's judge people on their actions - not some nebulous stereotype that pigeon holes people into narrow, pre-defined boxes. I have worked with many women in leadership positions (in the church, community and workplace) and have been humbled by how articulate, faithful, gifted, wise and encouraging these women generally are.

@George

It's not "Duane's opinion"of what the Bible says. But it's what the Bible teaches that should shape our actions and experience. By itself, personal experience is very unstable for a person to use as a means to interpret truth.

The Bible tells us what truth is. "Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth." (John 17:17) "All your words are true; and all your righteous laws are eternal." (Psalm 119:160) "'But I will tell you what is written in the book of truth." (Daniel 10:21) So truth then, is what God says.

The word of truth tells us that, "A women should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a women to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent." Paul brings the OT into the NT to solidify that this is not a cultural teaching, but uses Scripture to interpret Scripture by explaining the reason behind this teaching. Because Adam was formed first then Eve..." The Bible tells us they both are commanded to orderly rule over creation in harmonious, distinct ordained roles. And so too it is to be in the church.

"Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of women is man, and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3)

"Everyone must submit themselves to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." (Romans 13:1,2)

truthmatters says:

"It's not "Duane's opinion"of what the Bible says. But it's what the Bible teaches that should shape our actions and experience. "

It's easy to quote a number of Scripture texts that some believe reflect Biblical teaching. Our denomination has considered those texts and the context and culture in which they were written and has concluded that the Bible allows women to serve in all the offices of the church.

Some people may disagree but to continue to quote those passages is as effective as quoting Biblical passages that tell us that the sun moves.

George Vander Weit says:
Some people may disagree but to continue to quote those passages is as effective as quoting Biblical passages that tell us that the sun moves.

Does the sun not move? Truth in the biblical passage is still truth in the biblical passage.

By stating that the denomination has examined these texts and their cultural context, you imply that the culture influenced them to the point where they cannot be followed today. This is a dangerous path. 2nd Timothy states that all Scripture is God breathed. That means that these passages are God breathed as well. This debate upon the Hermeneutical Spiral has gotten a little out of hand. If I may break it down to the base question: Is the Bible inerrant? Is what is considered the Word of God truly inspired without blemish?

This gets into textual criticism and historicity arguments that I will not get into, but I do have one question for people who do not look at this (women in ecclesiastical office) as a significant or even as a former professor of mine once said, a "salvation" issue: Do we now see how this issue calls into question so much of our faith?

This issue is about exegesis, biblical interpretation. This is a major vein of our church. How we view what God has said has lasting impact on all of our lives. Instead of taking this decision for granted, or throwing bible passages at one another, please, I ask that you look at the modern scholarship on this topic, both sides. I would highly suggest looking for a book with both perspectives included. such as Two Perspectives on Women in Ministry. I implore you to look at the arguments for both the complementarian and egalitarian sides.

Was it God who established "order" within the family and church or have we made an idol out of Paul; one man, an unmarried one who most likely had very limited interactions with women, at one time in one culture who carried with him a set of experiences and opinions and presuppositions. I find it interesting that nearly all of the biblical thrust behind the church's argument against equal rights for women come from one source. Not to say that Paul was a heretic or anything, but he was a sinner like all of us. C.S. Lewis, who probably could have been a disciple if he had been around at the right time, also held to oppressive views of women until the end of his life, after he had been married and lived closely with a Godly woman. Perhaps we should lean more heavily on the words and actions of Christ himself and make a model of his own interactions and relationships with women.

I think Paul was a "sinner" just as Kelsey who wrote previously stated. However, Paul as a sinner was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write as he did. Are we only to except the word of one without sin? I thought that was our Father in heaven and it was the Holy Spirit inspiring all of the writing in the Bible. Are we to ignore the things that some find not to their liking. Women in any office in the church is forbidden by scripture, as well as the practice of homosexuality. God help us not to slowly except these things that are clearly against Gods' Word, just because we become tired of the fight!

George, you are right of course in saying that our denomination has decided to allow women to be pastors in our denomination. What I can't understand is why you and the people quoted in the artcile refuse to address the fact that our denomination also says that you can believe that scripture prohibits women as pastors. Synod 1995 recognized that thier are two different perspectives concerning this issue both of which honor scripture. SO you are not correct in leaving the impression that our denomination has chosen one side of this issue to stand behind.

I was disappointed that an article on women as pastors would be labeled "women in ministry". The Bible teaches that all believers are ministers. Since more than half are members are women, women in ministry has a much larger scope than those who are called to ordination. When we focus all our concern on those women called to ordination, we miss the larger issue of denial of women's gifts within the parish. I would love to see an article on how that has changed. I also would love to see the denomination encourage lay members in the development of their gifts. "Discovering your gifts" is great, but there are few mentoring programs that encourage the development of these gifts: that is largely left to the individual to figure out. In my case, I'm a teacher, and that gift is regularly affirmed. In my church I am restricted to teaching women, even though much of my curricula would benefit men as well. Ironically, that leaves us with a church where the women are more theologically "taught" than are the men. I am at personal peace knowing that I am serving God as He wills for this time, and I love bringing women to a fuller understanding of the Gospel. But the church body loses something when the gifts of its members are not encouraged to be used to the fullest.

Brian, you are correct when you say that our denomination honors both positions on this matter. I was not attempting to deny that and am sorry if what I said gave that impression.

Justice will only be done when female pastors represent 50 per cent of the total. We will languish under male domination until that happens, and we will continue to hemorrhage our young people to more progressive churches. We must be more sensitive to the culture and what it demands or we will sink into oblivion.

Amen to that, Roger.

@roger-

I hope you are being sarcastic, but if you are serious, then I must say you could not be more mistaken.

Those more "progressive" denominations are hemorrhaging youth at an even faster rate. Churches blown about by every wind of culture are churches soon blown over.

Completely false, Eric.

@Anonymous-

You may assert it to be false if you like, but the actual membership stats of those denominations say otherwise. They're dying.

This report (http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/sites/faithcommunitiestoday.org/files/D...) is just one of many studies backing that claim.

Should anyone be interested: After reading the previous posts that mention the Christian Reformed Church’s position that two views on women as pastors and elders both honor the authority of the Bible, I e-mailed the CRCNA’s website to request that the position paper there better reflect that stance of the denomination. They are evaluating my request.

Regarding George’s response to my earlier post, I would like to clarify that I am not belittling experience as a teacher, even in the area of women as pastors, nor did I belittle people who advocate that (in case this was at all unclear). I merely cautioned that people make sure not to allow their experiences, as they are interpreting them, to overrule the Bible’s teaching. Implicitly I was asking them to re-evaluate whether their practice accords with the Bible (regardless of whether it accords with my opinion). I cautioned strongly, but not disrespectfully.

One way that people might be led to wrong conclusions based on their experiences is that they might call something good because of their positive experiences, and not realize that there are essential positives that are missing. People might indeed find that women as pastors and elders offer good sermons, care, and leadership and then think that these suffice as qualifications for office. However, if, for instance, a married woman is a pastor or elder, then in the church she has authority over her husband, which runs counter to her husband’s role as head in their marriage. Thus she presents a weak representation of the full headship of Christ toward his church, as well as of the structure of marriage.

All people in church office represent Christ weakly, of course, but this particular structural weakness can be avoided by not having women as pastors and elders, and I think that is in line with what the Bible teaches. Structural weaknesses might produce long-term problems that are not apparent in short-term experience.

Ordination of women started another denomination set on obeying God and his infalible Word. It is known as the United Reformed Church. And the Orhodox Presbyterian Church no longer has relations with the once faithful CRC. This disobedience no doubt grieves the Lord too.

Can someone please tell me where the Lord Jesus called women to serve in his catholic church and earthly ministry as disciples and ministers? I can't find it anywhere in God's infallible Word? Mind you I don't read gender free translations, so.... Perhaps those who prefer to obey their own desires should align themselves with liberal denominations as the CRC is sadly. How many CRC's have closed since this unbiblical decision?

Peter, you could always join either denomination if you feel the CRC is suddenly so "liberal". The younger is 15 years old. It's been around a while! Why haven't you joined?!

I have never been a member of the CRC denomination so "vander who" no need to withdraw or leave the liberal CRC as their will be no follow up on my whereabouts. Discipline is rarely if ever excercised let alone theother marks of the church of the Lord as found in God's Word.

My family and me are members of a faithful Reformed denomination that was aligned with the CRC at one time and left upon suggestion from another.

Where in God's Word are women amongst the disciples the Lord called? Where did he approve of the immorality of practicing homosexuality and call them to serve in his catholic/universal church?

Why are so many once faithful denominations closing? It is more than declining membership!

Not a member of a CRC, but have watched it's downward slide over the last few years. To be fair I realize that not all reformed churches are in decline, but the bulk of them are due to the older generation dying off, and the younger generation, many of who have left for various reasons.

Barna Research states that the top reason people leave churches is that they are 'Boring'! People are looking for churches that preach the truth of God's Word Boldly, and without excuse.

Too many churches have fallen victim too societies demands for equality, and have perverted the truth of God to satisfy the whims of man (women and homosexuals being ordained). This is what the CRC, RCA, and other denominations have done,and this is why your churches are dying!

Churches are dying for lack of the real presence of the Holy Spirit! Younger people have a shallow understanding of Christianity because they have not been taught the truth! People are going where the God is at work, and lives are being radically changed. Their sick of boring, cold, lifeless church (religion), and want to worship in a place where there is a true passion for God.

Your churches are liberal! You have compromised God's Word, the Spirit of God has left your midst, and ICHABOD (Without Glory) is now written above the doors of many of your churches!

KC,

Those are cold hard words you use, and for us to hear. If we can humble ourselves and see past your tone, they are an important rebuke for us to take to heart. Yes, we are compromising God's Word, and are spiritually sick because of it.

This is a curious article in a way. As a denomination, we've decided that both positions (women should or should not be eligible for ordination) are biblically defensible, but then the denominational magazine bemoans that "equal opportunity for women in CRC ministry remains elusive."

So if some churches (whatever the percentage) still decide that women shouldn't be pastors, why would it be surprising that not quite as many women get calls as senior pastors than men? Indeed, I'd suggest the "prejudice" in this case runs in favor of women. Why? I suspect their calls, statistically speaking, are greater than the percentage of churches that believe women should be pastors.

This from someone (me) who believes the church should NOT deny ordination to women. But, believing that doesn't mean believing the CRCNA, as denomination, should be trumpeting "equal opportunity calls" for women as pastors, especially given that it has decided to respect the position that many of its church take.

This is another example of a denomination bureaucracy that does not wish to be appropriately humble.

This is a curious article in a way. As a denomination, we've decided that both positions (women should or should not be eligible for ordination) are biblically defensible, but then the denominational magazine bemoans that "equal opportunity for women in CRC ministry remains elusive."

So if some churches (whatever the percentage) still decide that women shouldn't be pastors, why would it be surprising that not quite as many women get calls as senior pastors than men? Indeed, I'd suggest the "prejudice" in this case runs in favor of women. Why? I suspect their calls, statistically speaking, are greater than the percentage of churches that believe women should be pastors.

This from someone (me) who believes the church should NOT deny ordination to women. But, believing that doesn't mean believing the CRCNA, as denomination, should be trumpeting "equal opportunity calls" for women as pastors, especially given that it has decided to respect the position that many of its church take.

This is another example of a denomination bureaucracy that does not wish to be appropriately humble.

Why the whole article about women..This takes away the very serious part of "listening to God" and hearing what HE has to say..who He wants for ones church..This article is soooo sad..it is like a racist comment accusing churches at looking at the sex..to even ask in a survey...Hooray for the churches that did not mark or answer!!! It is up to God and the Holy Spirit to lead..not for the denomination to push as this article is certainly doing!!

X