This new report, based on a survey of women’s ministry in complementarian churches, has been produced for me by the Rev’d Dr Kirsten Birkett. I warmly commend the report and am grateful to her for her careful and thorough work. Its findings give us complementarian evangelicals much encouragement – but at the same time are a real challenge to any sense of complacency. It is encouraging to see so many respondents satisfied and supported in complementarian ministry, but it is disturbing that the importance of women’s ministry isn’t always evidenced in the way incumbents treat it – and some women ministers therefore feel under-valued. Two of the biggest issues that need to be addressed are the professional development of women ministers through access to better training opportunities and the development of better networks of support.
Over the past year evangelical church leaders have been challenged about culturally-driven behaviour in some of our churches. The way we support, speak about, and promote women’s ministry is very much part of this. I will be asking my working group to consider how the recommendations in this survey report could be taken forward, but I do hope that incumbents and PCCs won’t wait before taking action. Kirsten has clearly uncovered many ways in which leadership teams can better embrace women’s ministry and encourage ministers themselves. I hope the survey will serve as a fresh prompt for this important work.
The Rt. Rev. Rod ThomasReport-on-womens-ministry-research