Episode 076: Women in Ministry // (The “Tough” Texts)

In this episode, with John MacArthur’s controversial comments regarding Beth Moore in the air, we sit down to talk through some of the key texts for thinking about a theology of women in leadership.

The charismatic movement believes that God pours his Spirit out on all people… so in my journey, I’ve always wondered, “What would prevent a woman from preaching?”

For me, I came to Christ in high school, and my very first youth pastor was a woman, so I didn’t even realize it was an issue… when I started really reading the Bible, I saw women all over the place… so when I got to the troubling passages, I assumed there had to be an explanation…

Our entry point into the conversation really does matter… and we can’t just enter into it through our experience, and try to make the Bible match our experience… but it turns out that the Bible does have a whole lot to say about women in ministry…  

“Suitable helper” in Genesis is actually a bad translation… it is saying that alone, Adam can’t fulfill the commission…

The Hebrew word that is used for “helper” is actually most often used of God in the Old Testament… if the Old Testament had wanted to communicate subordinate status, it did a bad job of that…

With Mary and Martha… “sitting at the feet” is the same description used of Paul with Gamaliel; Martha is mad because Mary is transgressing a social boundary, and Jesus welcomes it…

What winds up happening is that we take a couple troubling texts and use them to dismiss all the others that seem to be saying something else…

In 1 Corinthians 14, we need to remember that this is one side of a correspondence… Paul has already given instructions on women prophesying in the church… in chapter fourteen he is quoting the Corinthians back to them to say, “This is NOT what I teach…”

In 1st Timothy 2, Paul is offering a specific prescription for a specific thing happening in the church… this is Pastor Paul showing up and trying to correct something that’s wonky inside the church…

We need to realize that either we are misreading Paul, or Paul is flat out misreading Genesis… instead what Paul is saying to the Corinthians is, “YOU are misreading Genesis…”

Grab Lucy Peppiatt’s book Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women HERE 

Grab Pastor Brady’s Book Let Her Lead HERE

Episode 074: A Conversation with Amy Julia Becker

In this episode we sit down to talk with author Amy Julia Becker about her book White Picket Fences: Turning Toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege.

I was planning on writing a book about children’s literature… I began to notice that the books I read to my kids were the ones that were read to me as a child… but I saw that they were all mirrors: they were all about white suburban families who had nice lives and similar problems to ours…

I began to recognize that we did not have books about people of color, which set me on a journey to find them, and to realize that a lot of them just hadn’t been written… which led me to ask some serious questions about my childhood…

Eventually I realized that I wasn’t writing a book about children’s literature; I’m writing a book about privilege, about what it means to be a person born into relative affluence, access to opportunity and education, and whiteness… what does that mean and how do I reckon with it?

My image of my (southern) childhood was idyllic… it was somewhat horrifying to look back and realize that I went to a private school that was founded because of desegregation… I loved that school, but as an adult I needed to recognize that that was an injustice…

Trying to hold grief and gratitude about my past together was where I ultimately landed…

Many people feel as though they are forced to either reject their parents and their childhood in order to reckon with injustice, or simply tow the party line and ignore it all…

One of reasons we shouldn’t demonize privilege is that we need to recognize that we are born into a social location… as Christians we need to ask what is God doing in me and through me in this place? God blesses us to be a blessing…

As my daughter (who has Down Syndrome) grew up, I began to recognize my own impoverishment… getting to know people with intellectual disabilities helped me see what I needed… the ways in which I didn’t understand love or relationships being more valuable than productivity… I desperately needed them…

What I am hopeful for is a holistic response to the harm of privilege… we need to do the intellectual work of reckoning with our history, learning about our cities, etc.… we need to engage our hearts in lament… and after that work, we need to, in community with others, determine what we will do to participate in God’s healing of the world…

Pick up Amy Julia’s book White Picket Fences here.

Episode 069: An Interview with Sean Morgan

In this episode we sit down with Sean Morgan to talk about some current trends among leaders in the North American church.

The number one thing I am encouraged by is the caliber of leaders I am meeting in the church today… I am very encouraged by their obedience of these leaders…  

The sad part about the “A-game” leader is that they can get used and abused very quickly when the church gets off mission…

A lot of churches have fancy mission statements, but the truth is that the mission is the Great Commission and the Great Commandment taken together…  

Top shelf leaders can prevent the whole church being about them by empowering others and building good systems… the larger church pastors are often the ones who have done a better job building a good team and really empowering them…  

One of the reasons we’re seeing more plural and co-leadership teams is that different people can bring their gifting and own a slice of the ministry even though they might be personally lacking in other areas…  

The church growth movement in the last forty years has left a lot of people feeling inadequate because of church size in some way, shape, or form… at the end of the day, you have to do all that you can do and trust God with the results…  

Sometimes the most mature people in the church are the most resistant to a movement to reach people if it is at the expense of their personal project or ministry…

A lot of pastors in their 50s are not ready to retire financially… which means that they become okay with leading stability which leads to their church becoming comfortable… which in turn can cost a church its life…

Elders often don’t have perspective outside their local church… in denominations, district superintendents can help churches with succession… one of the best ways to combat this is to have 3rd party outside influencers of some kind to help…

*Learn more about Sean and his work at ascentleader.org.

Episode 065: Be Merciful to Those Who Doubt

In this episode Glenn Packiam and Andrew Arndt sit down to talk about how to walk wisely, compassionately, and pastorally with people experiencing a crisis of faith.

I want people to know when they come to me that they are okay and that they are not the first people to wonder about these things… that it’s okay to be where you are, and that’s why we need one another…

The struggle with faith is itself a good struggle… Christian faith grows out of the root of Israel… Jacob wrestles with God and God blesses him and changes his name to Israel which means “he struggles”… 

I always want to bless the struggle for people, because for me it has led to some of my greatest breakthroughs and insights, and has led me out of small ways of thinking about God and into the wide open spaces of who God is…

Many times people aren’t rejecting what is central to Christianity but they are rejecting the trimmings or the packaging [without realizing it]… 

At every stage of our lives, we have mental containers to try to hold the ineffable reality of God… the deeper we go with God, the more those containers will start to buckle and quake… pastorally, we need to be able to bless that process… 

One of the things I’ve learned is that sometimes when we think about faith we think about it purely as a cognitive act where if we don’t believe it at a certain level of intensity, we aren’t truly in the faith anymore…

What happens when we surrender to Jesus is that we are bound together in the cords of covenant love, which means that not just on a cerebral level but on a bodily level, we are bound to him… sometimes the feet can fill in where the mind is failing… 

Most people belief that the church has a lot of institutional arrogance, so when a leader comes to them and sits with them in their pain and says, “We didn’t do a good job” or “I didn’t do a good job,” that is so rare… but we should be good at that… we believe that we are being sanctified and that we have a lot to repent of… 

There are some versions of the faith that do need to be deconstructed, and if it means rebuilding on the rock Christ Jesus, then yes, let’s do that… 

Pastor Glenn’s Article – https://www.missioalliance.org/radical-hospitality/

Pastor Andrew’s Article – https://www.missioalliance.org/holding-faith-and-doubt-in-community/

Episode 051: A Culture of Life

In light of the recent abortion legislation passed in New York, we sat down to talk about what it looks like for the Church to not only preach but also work for a culture of life.

 

 

It seems like there’s been a great battle for women’s rights, and there have been great advances… but to associate the abortion law with women’s health is difficult for many people because we believe that life begins at conception…

 

In the name of fighting for more rights, we’ve dropped the conversation about what our responsibility is to these creatures who have been made in God’s image…

 

I want my daughter to have access to every possible health benefit that she can get… there’s not one thing I would withhold from her for the sake of her health… but because we have a different view of when life begins, we can’t back away… babies in the womb are precious in the sight of the Lord…

 

The One that we come to church and worship on Sunday mornings was the product of a difficult pregnancy… Christians are hard people to convince that life isn’t sacred in the womb… it is a theological conversation…

 

Women don’t often see the Church as a place where they can receive compassion and grace… we should be outraged at violence against children… however, when women come to us, we need to receive them, listen to them, and help them…

 

The Church has to go to extravagant lengths to welcome these women into our midst, being empathetic, kind, and compassionate, and offering real solutions…

 

People need to turn their zeal from outrage to outreach… and you’d be surprised at how many churches are quietly and effectively reaching women at this moment of crisis in their lives…

 

Politics do matter… we shouldn’t be partisan, but we should be political… laws matter, and unjust laws will hurt our community like just ones will help people thrive…

 

For all of us, we should contact our state and national legislators and tell them we believe in the sanctity of life and that we are here to help… if you come in combatively, you won’t get invited to the meetings you need to be invited to in order to make a difference…

Special Episode: Remembering Eugene

In this special episode we sit down to talk about the life and legacy of Eugene Peterson.

 

 

First, I think Eugene’s generosity of spirit [most marks me]… he should have never let me into his life, but he did… he’s a pastor…

 

Eugene’s commitment to the life of the mind [also marks me]… from 6am to 11am every day he would lock himself in his study to be with the Lord and his own mind… and then would spend the rest of the day at church with open office hours till 5pm…

 

These days people read blogs… Eugene spent 25 hours a week diving deep and then produced for the world… that inspires me as a pastor not to cut corners…

 

Most of us discovered Eugene when the Message version of the Bible came out… it introduced us to this man and awakened our curiosity… and then we couldn’t get enough…

 

When I went out to see Eugene in 2010, a lot of my questions were about the pastoral vocation I saw in his books, which I was having difficulty reconciling with my context… the thing that stuck with me about my visit was that Eugene said that there was no perfect context to do ministry…

 

Eugene taught me not to romanticize or idealize small church… demonic activity happens there as everywhere… you need to learn the prevailing idolatry of your place and stand against it…

 

I love the story of why Eugene wrote the Message Bible… he wrote it for his Sunday school class… he rewrote the book of Galatians for his class, and found it was helpful to younger people who were coming to faith in his church…

 

What I find interesting about the Message was that he did it for the sake of his congregation and not to sell books… it’s almost like the Lord winked at him and said, “Because you care about my bride, I’m gonna bless this…”

 

Eugene would say that busyness is an illness of the spirit… that it is a violence against time… when I heard that I thought it wasn’t possible [to do ministry that way in my context]… but I’ve learned that you can…

 

The last time I was with Eugene I told him of the impact he has had at New Life… of the transformation we’ve experienced because we were reading him… so much of who we are and what we’re doing is because of him… I wanted him to know that the church is listening to him…

Episode 034: Reflections on Willow Creek

For this conversation, we discuss the situation at Willow Creek and how this should cause us to reflect and pay attention in a deeper way.

 

This situation should cause us to reflect and pay attention in a deeper way…

 

There are three groups of people here: the victims, the congregation, and Bill and the leadership—it’s important to separate those groups of people, and each group needs special attention…

 

But it starts first with those who were violated… those victims need to be listened to and given every opportunity to heal… they need our primary attention…

 

The first thing the new leadership must do is re-establish trust and credibility, or they won’t be able to help anyone… they need to slow down and simplify…

 

At New Life [after our crises], we cleared our calendars, stopped doing outside events, and became a church family again… for us, it was about prayer, worship, Scripture, and sacraments…

 

What I would say to Willow Creek is that you don’t know how hurt you are right now… take some time, take a deep breath, and do a full evaluation before you move ahead…

 

There are some systemic problems in the American church culture… number one: pastors are not designed or called by God to be celebrities… the moment we embrace a celebrity culture in the church we are headed for a train wreck… it has to stop…

 

We have a lot of orphans that are leading churches who haven’t learned how to be sons and daughters… you can’t be a mom or a dad before you’ve been a son or a daughter… in the church, we’ve skipped this step…

 

If your first thought is “We have to protect the church” you are in huge error… the call is not to protect the institution but to help people get healed… Jesus was not interested in guarding the religious institutions of his day, he was interested in bringing healing… if it cost the institution, then so be it…

 

If you think about the parable of the lost sheep, the 99 represented the economic good of the shepherd… Jesus was willing to risk the institution of the 99 for the sake of the one… if Jesus is the Head of the church, he is capable of sustaining the church when there is bad news…

 

The Lord brought Willow into existence and he is going to bring it back to a place of fruitfulness, so let’s pray and speak blessing over them…

Episode 016: Mental Health and the Local Church

As we launch the second season of the Essential Church Podcast, we sat down with Kay Warren and Tommy Hilliker to talk about the Church’s role in serving those facing mental illness.

 

One study showed that 71% percent of clergy do not feel prepared or equipped to handle a mental health crisis… it’s not really talked about in Bible college or seminary…

 

Reducing the stigma starts with the value: What are we going to be known for in our community as a church? At Saddleback, we want to be known as a church that cares…

 

Half of all mental illness shows signs by the age of 14 and 75% by age 24… so when parents are looking at their kids and they notice behavior changes, they need to pay attention to that…

 

In the church we’ve been too quick to call those behavior problems or blame the parents, and all that does is perpetuate the shame…

 

When it comes to suicide prevention, parents are terrified that if they bring it up with their kids for fear that they will plant the idea in their child’s mine… that has actually proven not to be the case… when you actually ask the question, kids are usually relieved…

 

We’re not usually very good at helping our kids articulate their feelings… make a list of “feeling words” and give them to your kids…

 

It’s almost like mining for gold with your kids… we have to work hard to help them talk about their emotions and feelings…

 

We don’t wait until people are in stage 4 cancer to help people… the earlier we address mental illness, the better…

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

1 – Do you and your team feel prepared to help people struggling with mental illness? Why or why not?

2 – To what extent is the culture of your team, church, or family safe for people to admit their mental health struggles?

3 – What can you do to better equip yourself, your team, and your church to identify mental illness when it manifests and lend a helping hand?

 

RESOURCES

National Alliance on Mental Illness – https://www.nami.org/

Mental Health First Aid – https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/

http://kaywarren.com/

Episode 015: Building Bridges

In this week’s podcast, we take a listen to a recent radio story that tells the story of our recent merger with Iglesia Nueva Vida, a local Spanish-speaking congregation in our city, and now the newest part of the New Life Church family.

 

EPISODE 015 – BUILDING BRIDGES – SHOW NOTES

 

On a macro-level, New Life Church was making a prophetic pronouncement that the Church was going to show the world how to live together…

 

The body of Christ has the ability to show a very divided world how to live together…

 

The Scriptures describe the Spirit as the great unifier of the human race… the church was birthed in a diversified world… and it was the Holy Spirit who was the great unifier…

 

The reason we are so divided is because of a noticeable lack of the Holy Spirit in our lives…

 

When you welcome the Holy Spirit into your church, do not be surprised if he asks you to live alongside people who are different from you… the Holy Spirit is a bridge-builder…

 

When people take a step toward one another and begin to love other human beings, skin color and racial differences begin to melt away and you begin to see the humanity in each other…

 

If the embodiment of the gospel is an earth-to-heaven experience, we should start seeing signposts, we should start seeing heaven being fleshed out among us, so we have to figure out a way for brothers and sisters to worship together…

 

If we’re in the city for the sake of the city, then we need to pastor the entire city… My question for pastors is: are you concerned with every neighborhood in your city?

 

Find out what the poor churches in your city are doing well, and lend them your strength… we weren’t out looking for merger opportunities, but for partners…

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Do you see the Holy Spirit as the great unifier? What evidence is there in your church culture of that conviction?
  • How have you sensed the Spirit nudging you out of your comfort zone into relationship with others who are different from you? What steps can you take?
  • What can you do to grow in your concern for the whole city, and not just your neighborhood?

 

Episode 011: The Church and Race

For this week’s podcast, we’re joined by Pastor Derwin Gray of Transformation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina for a conversation on race, diversity, and leading multiethnic churches.
 

 

Episode 011 – SHOW NOTES – Derwin Gray – The Church and Race

 

We believe that the church is God’s primary vehicle to transform the world, and for us, being multiethnic is intrinsic to the Gospel…

 

Theology is for ecclesiology… God wants a family… and this message isn’t preached… we’ve stripped the Bible of its context and we wonder why we struggle with discipleship…

 

A homogenous church would have been unthinkable to the Apostle Paul… God’s fulfilling his covenant with Abraham must be a front burner issue or we are going to have an underdeveloped view of the gospel…

 

When racism is rarely preached in a church, you can believe that a lot of racism is [present] in that church…

 

I have a pretty good name in Charlotte, and I thought, “If I get treated this way, imagine how people who don’t have my privilege will get treated, constantly…”

 

I think the church is the answer… our Sermon on the Mount ethic needs to shape how we live and move and breathe…

 

We as the church must become a classroom to teach the world what love looks like…

 

Here’s the thing: we haven’t been taught how to do this… we need churches that know how to do this to teach other churches how to do it…

 

You can’t cultivate a multiethnic church if you don’t lead a multiethnic life…

 

You can’t be a consumer and play on a team, but you can be a consumer and be in the church… in the church we’re actually designing our services for you to consume, and so no wonder we struggle with it!

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Do you believe that the gospel speaks to racial issues? Why or why not?
  • Is your church homogeneous? Why?
  • What can you and your church do to begin to move towards a greater engagement with racial issues and greater ethnic diversity?

 

 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

Derwin Gray – The HD Leader