What we believe about Men and Women’s Ministry

We want to make clear what the Bible says about men and women’s ministry – their service for God.  What is the same and what should be different in how we serve Him?  We also want to make clear how we put this in to practice at Dagenham Parish Church.  This is written by Joel Edwards, the vicar, with help from others in the church family.

God is a person who speaks.  Christians follow Christ Jesus who said that God speaks in the words of the Bible.  So, we try to follow God’s voice in the Bible as our guide for how we live and how we serve God together as men and women.

In the Bible, God teaches that he created two complementary sexes of humans, male and female, to bear His image together (Gen. 1:27-28; Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6).  This distinction in gender is an essential aspect of who we are.  Gender is not just something we choose or that we are assigned by others.  It is a reality given to us by God when we are conceived.   Men and women are not interchangeable.

The Bible is clear that this difference makes no difference to God’s care for us.  God cares just as much for men and women.  They are absolutely equal in value.  Both are made for life with God, both have turned away from God and face his wrath, both can be saved by faith in Jesus.

The Bible is also clear that God intends for men and women to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the church and home.  We tend to give people more or less value and respect according to their role.  With God our value comes from Him creating us and loving us.  It is not from our role.

God sets out the different ways for men and women in healthy families and churches.  They are part of how he has made us and intends his people to live (Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Cor. 11:2-16; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).

What is the same for men and women?

Within church, all Christians are expected to serve God.  That is part of being a healthy human.

What is different between men and women?

God tells men to take responsibility for leading in the church and in the home.  God does not give detailed role descriptions for fathers and mothers in the home or for leaders in the church.  Christian leadership means caring for others, in particular, caring by teaching God’s word.  Men should take the responsibility of leading in the home and of leading the church family by teaching.

How we try to put this into practice.

In Dagenham Parish Church, we seek to be faithful to God by inviting only men to teach the church family when we are all together.  We hope all women and men in our church might speak God’s message to others, declaring the news of Jesus, the Christ, and comforting and urging others to live for Him.

Men and women organise church life, both men and women serve as wardens, on the church council and on church committees.

Men and women serve in our main meeting on a Sunday, both men and women teach in Sunday school, lead us through the parts of the meeting, play music, read the Bible, lead prayers, give testimonies, encourage one another and serve refreshments.  Only men teach the Bible to the gathered congregation.

When we meet in small groups, the Next Steps group is for women only.  The men’s breakfast is for men only.  Our evening growth groups are for men and women together.  These mixed groups are usually led by men, but women and men encourage each other and ask questions and answer them and pray.

We thank God that He does give clear instruction for the best way of life.  We are happy to keep thinking about His instruction and learning to follow it well.  Please come and speak to me if you have suggestions, questions and concerns.

Joel Edwards May 2024