Two years ago I created the FB group “Free Our Church of God Women to Serve.” The purpose of that group is “to encourage the removal of restrictions that prevent women from serving in some ministry offices in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee).” It is open to members and friends of the Church of God. There are currently 776 members of that group.
In May of 2009 we had a strategy meeting here in Cleveland. Following the General Assembly this year we began a series of meetings to pray and plan our response. It was agreed to formally organize and so we elected an organizational committee to draw up an organizational plan. I chaired the committee and it met on a regular bases this fall.
This evening we had an organizational meeting and adopted a name and bylaws. The new group is named “Free to Serve: Men and Women Leading Together in Unity.” I am hopeful this group will provide leadership for our denomination in this matter. The group will meet on January to elect officers. We are planning to conduct conferences, publish materials, operate a web page, and other means of encouraging the full inclusion of women in the leadership of the church.
I am thankful for the new organization and I am hopeful for its future. For now I’m thinking about keeping the original group as named. Many people seem to have found the name offensive. I confess, it was intended to provoke a response. But a response is needed. I am thankful to have issued a challenge to the Church of God to “Free Our Church of God Women to Serve.” We must release everyone to serve in the capacities to which God calls them; to not do so is to be against Christ. We will answer to Him for ordaining persons He has not called and for not ordaining anyone He has called. I am confident He calls women to be pastors/elders in the Body of Christ and that Biblically qualifies them to be bishops. Bishops are by definition “elders.”
That’s my view from near Polk County.
November 16, 2010