Archive for January, 2014

Experiential AND Theological

Post a Comment » Written on January 22nd, 2014     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Submitted by:
Valeri C. Tao

I grew up in an immigrant church in the Washington DC metro area. In 7th grade, I entered the youth group and over the next six years and beyond it became a great influence on the formation and growth of my faith. While officially, my church did not believe that women should hold the office of a pastor, we had two youth directors, one male and one female. I saw both of them preaching, teaching, mentoring, leading Bible studies, hanging out with the youth….all things that a pastor would do. While I did not realize it at the time how unique this was within the immigrant church, it was normal to be growing up. Through the lens of hindsight, I can see how having gender balanced leadership in my formative years has affected me today. However, the whole issue of gender equality in ministry is not something we talked about at all in my immigrant church.

I was introduced to the Evangelical Covenant Church through my enrollment at North Park Theological Seminary. It was strange at first to be in a place where men and women were seen as equally in ministry. I have had many roles in leadership and serving in church and non-profit ministry. I’ve never explicitly thought I could not do pastoral ministry, but I never explicitly though I could either. Through my studies, I was able to hear, understand and own for myself the biblical basis for gender equality in ministry.

Seeing gender equality modeled in my youth and the biblical foundation I gained in seminary, have allowed me to understand the issue from both an experiential and theological point of view. How can we both teach and model for the young people of the church today what biblical gender equality looks like?

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Climb Every Mountain

Post a Comment » Written on January 12th, 2014     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Submitted by:
Jan Bros, church planter, Abbey Way, Albertville, MN, member CBGE

The theme song of my life might be “Climb Every Mountain.”

southeastern-albania-1435079-2-mClimb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every byway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
‘Till you find your dream.

Yeah, I know, pretty cheesy. Yet there is a deep truth in this song that resonates for me. Maybe it is the context in which I first heard it sung: an older wise woman singing to a younger one. Maybe it is the truth that the words contain: all lives are called to embody a holy perseverance come what may. I think it is a little bit of both. Continue Reading »

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Our Yes

1 Comment » Written on January 5th, 2014     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Submitted by:
Jan Bros, church planter, Abbey Way, Albertville, MN, Member CBGE

Ministry calls for us to stretch ourselves into unexpected places. When we say “yes” to God’s call, our “yes” must be full and without conditions. Whether we are male or female, pastor or missionary, paid or unpaid, the interior response asked by God is the same. God wants our undivided hearts. God desires our undivided attention. We have faith that as we give ourselves to God, God will empower and strengthen us even in our frailties.

The Evangelical Covenant Church is unique in its understanding that this fundamental vocational call to minister in Christ’s name is available to all. There are no divisions of labor or assignment of giftings according to a set of prescribed gender roles. We are free to follow God’s voice into places of ministry men and women alike. Continue Reading »

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