"A Word From Our Pastor"

“A Word from Our Pastor”

Leaders are Raised Up

In the first chapter of the book of Acts, the disciples, by the Power of the Spirit, are raising up leaders!  Mathias is called, chosen, and sent forth to do the work of the Kingdom, established by Jesus.  Throughout the New Testament, Jesus’ disciples were referred to as “the twelve”.  According to Mark 3:16-19, the original disciples were as follows: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alpheus), Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas.  The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke may, or may not, provide a different list of names.  There is some confusion as to whether or not Thaddaeus was the same disciple known as Lebbaeus.  Likewise, there are different theories as to whether or not Simon the Canaanite was the same person as Simon the Zealot.  These, and other arguments, are made about that list.  They are all, undeniably, men. 

People who have done some research will usually tell you that this is the result of the patriarchal culture of the first century Hebrew, Greek, and Roman world, where the laws and customs did not allow women to hold positions or have titles.  Most will also tell you that Jesus, by contrast, was counter-cultural with respect to women.  Jesus met with the woman at the well and encouraged her to be an evangelist to the Samaritans.  Joanna, Mary Magdalene, and Susannah were prominent in Jesus’ work.  The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John, specifically state the names of women who remained at the foot of the cross with Jesus while most of the male disciples, except for John the beloved disciple, appear to have fled.  Matthew included women in his genealogy of Jesus, despite the fact that this was contrary to the customs of his time.  All of the gospels depict women as the first to discover the empty tomb.  Even the apostle Paul, who in some instances wrote uncharitable comments about women, appears to have been among the first to recognize female Christian leaders as, “deaconess”.  Clearly, women were an important part of the early Christian movement!

If Jesus approved of women in leadership, and they were an important part of the early church, then there is no reason for the church today not to recognize them in that role.  On May 13, we recognized the members of our Church Council, Pastor Parish Relations Committee, Finance Committee, Building Committee, and Trustees.  You may have noticed that our Lay Leader, PPRC, Worship and Council Chairs are women and that six of the thirteen persons who serve on our Church Council are women.  Copies of your church’s leadership team were printed on an insert included with the bullet.  On May 20th, we commissioned our leaders at the 8:30 and 11:00am worship services.  At that service, additional copies of our church’s leadership team were provided on the back table.

Just as God’s Spirit called people into leadership in the past, it is our prayer that God’s Spirit is working within you.  In this edition of First Word, you’ll find a spiritual gifts inventory.  Take a moment to fill it out as a way to help you discover your gifts.   Then contact me, or any of our other church leaders, and let us know what you have learned about yourself.  Gifts are given to build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12).  We wish to involve you in that work!

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Will White