“We aren’t producing enough pastors to meet the current demand, much less providing qualified pastors to start hundreds of churches we must plant in the next few years,” says David Hardage, the executive director of BGCT (my former employer). (Marv Knox, Baptist Standard Oct 1, 2012)
He’s wrong. We are turning out prospective pastors by the truckloads. The only problem is that they are women.
When Dr. Hardage begins starting those hundreds of churches, I hope he starts in this area with a woman pastor! This is a heavily populated area and there is no place to go. A Baptist church on every corner and none will accept women to be a deacon (a position next to God, apparently, and reserved for the male population).
Some years ago, Rev. Josue Valerio, when he was with the El Paso Baptist Association spoke at the Hispanic Baptist Convention and said these words: “Where do you get the preachers? Not in the seminaries. You get them from the harvest.”
Women are in the harvest. They hear the call in the local church and then go to seminary. After seminary they have no place to go. They are called by God, trained in Baptist seminaries, and willing to go to any church that will let them in the door. A handful will.
The Baptist church we attended for many years birthed women preachers. Except we didn’t call them preachers. We called them missionaries. One went to Kosovo, one went to Thailand, and one was sent to a country that only her family knew where to find her. In the 12 years we went there, not one boy or man came forward to go into the ministry.
A few weeks ago there was a story written by a young woman at Wake Forest Seminary who would be graduating from seminary with no job prospects and no help from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship which affirms that women can be pastors. Truett Seminary in Texas is turning out women preachers and they have no place to go.
If we truly need hundreds of pastors for the churches we must plant in the next few years, finding a pastor is no problem. Finding a church that will allow a pastor in a dress is the problem.
Read what I found on the web today. It is the history of women’s struggle to be recognized in their Baptist churches and denomination. The time period is 1885-1918. J Michael Raley concludes his study with this paragraph:
“Amazing as it may seem today, nearly a century later, Southern Baptist women still find themselves on the outside, victims of the same old arguments and narrow interpretations of the Pauline corpus, and excluded, for the most part, from Southern Baptist pastorates and from positions of authority within the SBC. Surely the time is right, Robert H. Coleman would say, for some individual, or group of individuals, to step to the fore and lead the SBC down the path towards true gender equality, even if doing so would require a fundamental restructuring of power within the Convention itself. The full inclusion of Baptist women in the affairs and leadership of the SBC would no doubt prove to be curative and only serve to increase the Convention’s effectiveness in missions and evangelism.”“On the Same Basis as the Men“: The Campaign to Reinstate Women as Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, 1885-1918, J. Michael Raley/Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Chicago Part III of III. The Interim, 1885-1913. This study was published 11/04.
The laborers are trained and waiting. Won’t you call them?