The Good News and the Bad News

Post a Comment » Written on December 22nd, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Submitted by:
Mark Novak, Executive Minister of the Ordered Ministry

I can’t believe that I am on a plane going to Seattle for Christmas. It seems that I was enjoying the summer sun such a short time ago. But here it is and with it the Good News of the birth of Jesus. An event that set in motion the great plan of salvation for all mankind. It is my wife’s favorite holiday:  full of joy, bright lights, lots of candles, great music, and most profoundly, the hope for a better world because The Messiah was born.

The Bad News is that so many miss the meaning of Christmas! It comes and it goes – full of gifts, grinches, and holiday specials. The fact that we are free to imagine a new world and a new future as we embrace the Christ Child goes unappreciated and even ignored, missing the fullness of life God intended for us.

This past week was a Good News – Bad News week for me regarding the issue of women in ministry. I had the opportunity, along with Carol Lawson, to share at a church the ECC position on women in ministry. As I prepared, it was wonderful to re-read our history. The Good News is that I was reminded this is not a new conversation. Read this quote from 1896 when Fredrik Franson wrote “Prophesying Daughters” in which he argued for the inclusion of women in all aspects of the church’s ministry. He said: “…God has teachers installed in the church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and miracle workers–and in no sense can women be excluded from these offices.”

The Bad News is this is not a new conversation!  It is tragic that by ignoring and/or denying the full expression of God’s call upon a person’s life based upon gender we can diminish the fullness of God’s Kingdom work.  The fact that it is possible to miss out on the richness of God’s Kingdom by exclusion saddens my heart. So we will keep teaching about it, inviting others to explore the subject, and providing opportunities for women in all venues of ministry for the sake of the Kingdom. Their faith must be expressed, their wisdom experienced, their perspective known, and their giftedness celebrated!

I am simply saying that we can miss out on God’s desire for us — dare I say his best for us. God grant us courage for the journey.

In prayer – Mark Novak, executive minister of the ordered ministry

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