Archive for December, 2017

Four More Commitment

Post a Comment » Written on December 14th, 2017     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Pastor Devyn Chambers Johnson’s “Four More Commitment” Facebook Challenge has gone viral in the past week. If you haven’t heard it yet, here is a link to the Facebook video.  If you would like to respond, sign up here.

The challenge’s transcript is below…

My name is Devyn Chambers Johnson, co-pastor at Community Covenant Church in Springfield VA.

I am forever grateful for the Evangelical Covenant Church for affirming the calling of the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher. Long before I could admit my calling to preach and proclaim God’s word, others saw it in me and encouraged me to follow Christ into unfamiliar territory.

Because of individuals at Interbay Covenant Church, professors at North Park Seminary, and my current congregation, I have been able to claim God’s call on my life as right and good. I can stand confidently at this pulpit because individuals not only advocated for me but made space for me.

The Evangelical Covenant Church has ordained women for 40 plus years, and while the number of women ordained has risen steadily, the number of women regularly in the pulpit as lead or co-pastors is still shockingly low. The denomination has invested in education and advocacy but the place associated with ‘power’ in our churches—the pulpit–is still inhabited largely by men.
I applaud the men in our denomination who have advocated fiercely for my right to be here. But it is time to stop advocating. It’s time to start sharing. It’s time to make room.

Because when we advocate we speak on someone else’s behalf. When you make room, you let them speak for themselves. You see advocating, however noble and good, is still an exercise in power. And of course I’d rather people use their power for good than for evil but the radical gospel of Christ actually calls us to give up our power. If we take the radical gospel of Jesus seriously then it’s time to do more than advocate. It’s time for men, and particularly pastors in the ECC, to let go of their power. It’s time to make room, to make space for women.

And I know at this point some men are recoiling—because when you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

But step back. Think about the kingdom. There’s enough work in the Kingdom for all of us.

But some of you are thinking: how? What does it mean to make room? Listen first and talk Less.

We can apply this to all sort of places: ministerium meetings, staff meetings, pastoral counseling and social media.

But let’s talk about the pulpit. Make room in the pulpit. Share the pulpit.

Talk less and listen to your sisters preach the word.

So if you make decisions about who fills the pulpit in your church, you can do one simple thing: commit to filling your pulpit four more times in the coming year with a woman. Maybe you already have women preach, but if your pulpit is filled by men more than 50% of the year you can still do four more.

Not four times when you are on vacation. Four times when you, along with your congregation, can hear the gospel of Jesus proclaimed by called and gifted women.
Ask your leadership for $500 to fund four additional honorariums. And if they can’t or won’t take a $500 pay cut.

That’s what making room looks like in a small but tangible way. It’s time to do more than advocate. It’s time to let go of power, position, and the pulpit and make room for women.

This is not official denominational appeal. I’m just a pastor who believes we can do better. Commit to four more. Four more women in the pulpit this coming year.

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