It’s quite ironic, here we are in full flow in the 21st century. There has been a significant surge in gender equality in Western society. Well this is what we are led to believe with the gender wage gap narrowing slightly. There is also an observable gender parity in university admissions and the labour market in the UK, (well, for white women anyway). So, we could start believing that the playing field is relatively levelled and women are now able to undertake the same roles as men, and be paid and treated equally. But here I am asking this question:
Can women teach men in the church?
Now let me explain how this question came about. I volunteered to design a mentoring package for the Men’s Ministry at my church. The purpose was to upskill them to be effective Christian mentors. I had listened to a tirade of criticism and complaints from women about the ineffectiveness and non-existence of mentoring for young men and boys.
Now I believe that it is better to upskill a group of individuals to do better, rather than complain and criticise and do nothing. Because words without action leads to failure. Good intentions on my part, but not well received by some of the men in the church.
I have an interest in the psychosocial. Psychosocial relates to the interaction between social and psychological factors. I used this theory in my thesis, hence my interest in the relationship between a person’s fears and how she/he relates to others in a social setting. So, I was compelled to ask the above question. And as this situation has occurred within the church and I am building my spiritual strength. I feel it is fitting for me to see whether the root of this dilemma stems from the bible. 1 Timothy 2: 11-12 states:
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
The above scripture indicates God’s desire for women to honour his divine design, by honouring the principle of male headship within the church.
Taking this scripture into account. I suspect that my action in wanting to teach men in Men’s Ministry, has been seen as me going against God’s pattern of male headship. I am suggesting that some of the men may feel that in delivering the course I would be overstepping the boundary for how women ought to honour the principle of male headship in the church.
Yes, we are in the era of gender equality, but yet women in a sense remain restricted and in my situation are dissuaded from teaching men. But I am not easily deterred, and plan to delve deeper into the source of the resistance from the men who do not want me to deliver the mentoring training. Because if I am a woman who is gifted at teaching, am I really crossing the line by wanting to teach men at church to be effective mentors?