brown on green, A Regular column about finances
Please note the title does not say or even imply women can or should be ordained as ministers or deacons. However, everyone who knows anything about how churches operate would agree women do minister in the church. Most children’s Sunday School classes are taught by women. Many instrumentalists are women. Women are trained to counsel during the altar call. We all readily acknowledge these valid roles for women, but could their ministry be broader? Many churches have trustee boards, general boards, and committees. Can and should women be permitted to serve in these roles? Can a woman serve as a full-time staff member in one of the many areas of ministry that does not require ordination?
Much research has been done by both secular and Christian organizations regarding the differences in how men and women think. Speaking in generalities (and acknowledging obvious exceptions), evidence suggests several differences. Men use specific parts of one brain hemisphere or the other to accomplish specific tasks. The female brain is more diffused, using significant portions of both hemispheres to carry out a variety of tasks, often at the same time. Men focus on narrow issues and block out unrelated information and distractions. Women see everyday things from a broader, “big-picture” vantage point.
These differences in how men and women think could be useful on boards and committees within our churches. Further, the boards of our national departments or regional ministries could benefit from a woman’s point of view. Currently, two national departments, Free Will Baptist Foundation and International Missions, have women on their boards (for which there is clear historic precedent).
While the differences between the way men and women think is evidenced by what they study in college, both choose business as the most popular college major today. Boards focusing on financial matters (the Board of Retirement and the Foundation) will benefit from women who are professionals in accounting, banking, and legal fields.
Almost twice as many women major in English, literature, and writing as their male counterparts. Randall House publications, with a primary focus on curriculum and books, could benefit from the perspective of a woman who majored in these fields.
The ratio of women to men on college campuses is 1.35 women to every man. Wouldn’t Welch and other Free Will Baptist college boards benefit from a woman’s point of view when it comes to recruiting women? Wouldn’t the ability of women to read nonverbal cues better than men (sometimes described as women’s intuition), be an asset for boards such as North American Ministries and International Missions when evaluating candidates?
Women have the ability to minster in much broader ways than often thought. Perhaps it is time to consider electing women to serve in these areas.
About the Columnist: David Brown is director of Free Will Baptist Foundation. To learn more about the grants program, visit www.fwbgifts.org.