JULY 2015 NEWS
WE ORDAIN ONLY WOMEN RON GLADDEN | DIRECTIONAL LEADER
At Mission Catalyst, we ordain only women. But, seriously, here’s our take on the issue.
When the word from San Antonio that women should not expect to be ordained blasted across the fruited plane (like angry wind and ash from Mount St. Helens), we sighed, and then we shared several semi-profound thoughts with one another:
The argument that women should not be ordained because only men were priests in the Old Testament doesn’t hold water. The system of priests and sacrifices ended the weekend of Jesus’s death, and now all Christ followers are priests.
The Spirit, not a secret-ballot vote, decides who receives a particular spiritual gift — including the gift of pastor — and it has nothing to do with gender.
No one in the New Testament viewed or practiced ordination like the denomination does today. Peter, Paul, and Mary would scratch their heads and say, “Huh?” if they knew how ordination has evolved from what it was back then.
We won’t allow anything to distract us from the mission.
It doesn’t affect us.
We started Mission Catalyst for a singular reason: Mission. We didn’t have a beef with the doctrines. We weren’t mad at anyone. It boiled down to this: We were frustrated (along with several million others) with a system that is structured for control over mission. We believed that the message is too important to be contained inside of a system that so easily gets sidetracked by political issues. We decided to structure our churches so that local church leaders make the big decisions about money, staffing, property, and governance.
“Let’s present the message — with Jesus front and center,” we said to ourselves, “without the distractions and layers that drag the anchor.” (Speaking of layers, seven-layer burritos are arguably desirable, but five-layer church systems are not.)
And how do we measure progress? Healthy, unselfish, growing churches that experience frequent and astonishing life change. God has commissioned us (or, should we say, ordained us?) to create churches where frequent and astonishing life change is the evidence that God is present. (One of our MC churches has already had 85 baptisms!)
Here is the deal on women’s ordination: The reason we are bringing this up is to let people who care about this issue know that there is an alternative way to get the message out.
At Mission Catalyst, we respect the authority of local church leaders. We recommend that our churches follow the New Testament example of laying hands on people who are gutsy enough to take a serious risk for the kingdom. While we affirm that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world (no calling is higher than that of a mother), we can’t find the texts that prohibit half of the believers from any facet of ministry. So we don’t lose any brain cells, time, or sleep over whether a man or a woman can be ordained.
Mission Catalyst is not an alternative conference. We don’t want to control the local church. We just want to come alongside anyone and everyone who is sharing the message and pour fuel on their fire.
So here is the big question: Can you handle the freedom? Like the heroes we read about in the book of Acts, are you ready to stick your neck out and go on a daring mission with God?
And will you help us financially so that we can keep accelerating the mission?
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