The other day I posted a whole #NeedforLeads thread on Twitter, based on my last blog post. And then ... well I guess I wasn't done. 😳 So, I'm just gonna keep going.
Again - this is #PAOC-specific.
No disrespect to those in other traditions
who have a different view.
What makes me sad: Anytime I post something like this, I hear from women who tried - they TRIED - and couldn't find a pastoring path. Frequently and explicitly BECAUSE they were women. Trust me. I know the stories. It happened. It still does. It was/is terribly harmful and wrong. Bottom line is, some of us maybe have some repenting to do.
Not you of course.
What makes me glad: There are more and more people saying out loud that #yeswomencanbepastors #yesLeadPastors. And there are more and more female Lead Pastors clearing that old path again for others. I'm proud to be one of them, but I'm not the only one. Not by a long shot.
Somebody called me a "trailblazer" yesterday.
I prefer "weedwacker".
Just tidying the existing path.
And here's what I see: There are more and more people looking startled when I talk about this, saying, "What? This still happens in PAOC? This is a non-issue, for goodness' sake. Why is this still a thing?" And most importantly - "What can I do?"
I'll come back to that.
Here's what I suspect: More and more people in congregations are fine with the idea of a female Lead Pastor. They don't care. Some of them LOVE the idea. If they aren't sure, they just have a few honest theological questions, and they genuinely appreciate answers.
Congregations who DO have female Leads
tend to celebrate it publicly, by the way.
And here's what I think: This is happening. It's tipping. There are FAR more women in staff pastor positions than there used to be. They are joyfully qualified and competent worship leaders, preachers and visionaries. They care deeply about people and God. And their Leads will shout from the rooftops that they get the job done. These women are *this close* to being Leads.
So this is happening.
That's what I think.
So to answer the question, "What can I do?"
Leads: Let your board and congregation know that PAOC doesn't have gender-specific credentials, and we have no debate about this. It's settled. Celebrate that we are a fellowship that DOES believe women can be pastors. Remind them what a huge, positive statement that is to our world. If/when you ever leave - leave your church fully comfortable with the idea that their next Lead could well be a female.
Boards: Don't be afraid. 😊 I know there are voices out there that disagree, that worry that maybe it's wrong. But PAOC isn't one of those voices. We've taken a long time and worked this through, with wisdom and humility and accountability. We are convinced it's right. If you need some resources to help answer the questions, ask. And don't be afraid of your congregation.
They might be just fine.
Church Members: If your church has a Lead Pastor vacancy, let your Board know you'd be open to a female OR male Lead. Your Board carries a heavy responsibility and they don't want to get it wrong. Help them know you're ok with it.
Only if your church has a vacancy, though.
Don't do that if you currently HAVE a Lead Pastor.
That's not kind. 😕
Leads - Talkin' To You Again: Initiate the conversation with your staff pastors, especially the female ones. If they aren't ready to be Leads, help them get there. Maybe push them a little. We have a #NeedforLeads.
Female Staff Pastors: Um ... how do I say this ... ? Step up. It's time. Take the risk. Yes, if you tell your Lead you might be ready for more, the conversation might get awkward. Yes, you might question if you're ready to Lead - we all do. Step up anyway. Yes, you might get hurt, and people might say ridiculous things. Don't get bitter. Own your space, deal with your own issues, and keep moving. Learn to lead a board meeting, to create a budget, to navigate conflict, to think big-picture and long-term. Talk to your District Sup. If you're not ready, get ready. We have a #NeedforLeads. And the need is growing. This isn't a luxury. We need you.
Listen - this is happening. It's tipping. We're closing in on the tipping point.
And hey - if in 10 years it turns out I was wrong, just come to Montreal and I'll treat you to a nice bowl of hot, melted chocolate at Juliette & Chocolat. ☕
It's the least I can do. 😎