I frequently get asked about resources regarding women leading and teaching in the church. It seems like many of us are confused about what Scripture says about women's participation in the home and church. And while this issue isn't as important as the deity of Christ or the authority of Scripture, I believe it's a critical issue for the church because women are about 50% of the church.
Friends, I've been studying this stuff for nearly 20 years. I grew up in a religious culture that had very distinct lines around what a woman does - and does NOT do - in the home and church. I've read countless books, blogs, articles. I've had intelligent and wise mentors and scores mentoring conversations around the topic. My hubby and I have explored and tweaked a thousand times of what works for us and how we were best designed to function as a couple and family. Mostly, I have studied the Scriptures for myself to better understand what God has to say about this.
Below are some of my favorite resources, not because they validate what I believe. But because they've lead me to believe what I believe. They're full of heart and head and spirit. Each of them has a different approach, perspective, focus, and background. They are written by men and women. They are penned by folks who've always been egalitarian (belief that men and women are created equal and have full partnership in the home and the church) and folks who've struggled their way into that belief.
My Personal Favorite Books
These aren't listed in any particular order...except the top 3 books are a great starting place for the theological understanding. They are also helpful for the head and the heart.
- Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James
- Junia is not Alone by Scot McKnight
- Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about a Woman's Place in Church and Family by Gilbert Bilezekian
- Nice Girls Don't Change the World by Lynne Hybels
- Gifted to Lead by Nancy Beach
- Women in the Church by Stanley J. Grenz and Denise Muir Kjesbo
- When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James
- Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership by Sarah Sumner
- Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul? by J.R. Daniel Kirk
- Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
- A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
- How I Changed my Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals by Alan F. Johnson and Dallas Willard
- Lost Women of the Bible by Carolyn Custis James
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. NOTE: This isn't a theological or Christian perspective, but it certainly has important economic and cultural perspectives!
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. NOTE: This perspective centered around women in the workplace, but it's one of my favorites.
Websites and Resources
- The Junia Project: Their website is remarkable! They have excellent articles on some of the clobber passages, lots of resource links, and a blog full of articles to educate, encourage, and empower women to be all God has created them to be.
- Rachel Held Evans Mutuality Resources: Rachel shares some of her favorite resources, as well.
- Gifted for Leadership from Leadership Journal/Christianity Today
- April L. Diaz: A Lament for Women in Leadership
- Kathy Escobar: equality is a bumpy road (and sometimes it makes me want to stand on tables & scream)
- Shauna Niequist: What My Mother Taught Me
- Relevant Magazine article
- The Junia Project: “But What about 1 Timothy 2:12?” 10 Talking Points
I'd love for you to add any that you've found helpful along the way. Please share. The Church - the KINGDOM - needs women to contribute as fully as they've been called and gifted.
Women are not called to roles and places. We are called based on our gifts and God-given personalities.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying as much as I have! Peace.