Christian ministry and gender

In the Lichfield Diocese, a small group of conservative evangelicals have been meeting with various diocesan staff and others, hosted by one of our archdeacons, as a way of putting the Five Guiding Principles on mutual flourishing into practice. We have discussed practical and theological concerns in order to achieve better understanding and awareness of some of the obstacles to our flourishing.

As part of that, we have discussed a number of papers presented by members of the group. I presented this paper on Christian Ministry and Gender. We had previously discussed papers on gender more widely in the Bible, and I suggested that it would also be valuable to look at gender roles more specifically in the context of ministry. It was a fruitful discussion which revealed some very significant differences of understanding of the nature of teaching and sacramental ministries.

Recently someone asked if I’d written anything about complementarian ministry and my first instinct was to say no. Plenty of other people have written about this and I’ve never felt like I had anything new to add to the conversation. But maybe this paper adds something. It’s not everything I would ever want to say on the subject and it certainly doesn’t convey anything of my personal story of seeking to be faithful and obedient to God in this area. Maybe one day I’ll write about that too.

In the meantime, for what it’s worth, here’s the paper.