I think the status of women in this generation should no longer be a topic for discussion. It is not only recognized in society, but also in the Christian faith, which can be seen from the Bible.
It is because of this that we are used to women preaching, but it is not something that some churches are willing to do. Why is that?
The reason is very simple. Because of marriage, few male pastors leave their locality, while many female pastors often have to leave. Therefore, many people think that the training of male pastors is always for the sake of their church, but the training of female pastors is not, because when they get married, they will belong to another church. Due to this, many churches think twice about training women as pastors.
Here, we would like to discuss several issues:
Firstly, all churches are one and are all of God.
It takes energy and resources to train people. However, most churches spend their energy creating some opportunities for them to serve, and most of these resources are limited to money. Most unmarried female missionaries are usually faced with the problem of marriage due to their age, after spending years studying theology. Therefore, for some fellow workers and members, female missionaries may have to marry outside their locality soon after graduation from theology school, which is not worth it; becoming a preacher in another church after years of toiling is a waste of both energy and money.
As everyone knows, all churches are God's churches. Although they may differ geographically, they do not differ in nature. All we do is for God, not for someone; for God's church, not for someone's church. Similarly, a preacher on whom we spend energy and resources to train will produce the same result, as long as he or she is still serving in the church. We should always remember our own identity as stewards of the church, not the owners. All the rights we exercise in the church are gifts of grace from God to cultivate talents for his church, not for us to lead! This is for us to serve God, and not to form a faction.
Secondly, everything in the church should be for the church.
For most churches, the main cost of training people is money. Let us do some calculation. For an undergraduate course in theology (four years), the tuition fee for one academic year (two semesters) is generally about 5,000 RMB, and the food expenses for one semester is generally about 1,600 RMB (Amount may vary: some churches may not subsidize it, some may partially subsidize, others may exceed). Based on this calculation, it costs about 30,000 RMB to train a preacher of Theology for four years. We do not mean to say that the money is not important to the church, but it is probably not a big deal when compared to the tens of millions of RMB spent on church expansion and renovation. Many people would rather spend hundreds of millions on church construction than tens of thousands training people. On the contrary, they advocate that students should solve the problem of cost by themselves on the grounds of faith, which is so pathetic. Why are church expenses not handled with faith? They say that these things (church expansion, renovation, etc.) cannot be done without money; is it possible for the allowance and tuition fees of theology students to be handled without money? Everything in the church should be used for the service of God, and the people who serve should always be more important than outsiders.
That being the case, when we spend some money to train theology students who may go to other churches because of marriage, we should also let it be. If he or she is grateful, they will certainly come back when it is convenient. Even if he or she cannot come back, they will silently pray for the church they were raised in. Maybe churches get nervous about their ministry because of the loss of a pastor, but it is more important to look up to the Lord than to put all hope in people. Remember, the church is not human, but divine; we are not the owners of the church, but stewards. Our identity is no more than housekeepers.
(The original article is published by Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Nonye Nancy