Q: Are women allowed to serve in leadership at First Assembly? It seems like it's always men who preach, lead worship, usher, administer communion, and serve as deacons. Why don't women do any of those things?
This great question was handed in on a note card at our "Q Sunday" event on February 6. The answer is simple: Yes, women are allowed to serve in leadership at First Assembly. Unlike many other churches, nothing in our theology excludes a woman from serving in any role in the church.
The questioner is only partially right, however, when they say it's only men who preach or lead worship, as Pastor Linda Seiler, who leads Chi Alpha on the Purdue University campus, preached last fall on Sunday morning. Furthermore, another woman, Becky Loman, led worship quite a bit in the past. First Assembly has also employed at least one woman on the pastoral staff that I know of.
The Assemblies of God, the movement that First Assembly is a part of, has ordained women to ministry since 1922. That doesn't mean that we have a proportional number of women serving as pastors in our movement as are in the congregations, but it does mean that from the very early days of our movement (it started in 1914), our churches recognized that God calls and empowers both men and women for all kinds of Christian service.
Our church just last year changed our bylaws to reflect that women could serve on the church's board. Presently, no women serve on the board of deacons, but there is nothing to stop it from happening some day.
I think the question really addresses this reality in our church: men are more visibly prominent in leadership roles in our church. Perhaps this is because of attitudes by people in our church or maybe it's due to the desires of the women in our midst. I can't pretend to know the reasons why women are less visibly prominent in the church, but I know it is not because women are not involved in significant areas of service here. Without the women of First Assembly, I would hate to imagine the weaknesses we would have as a church!
I'm looking to a future with an increasing presence of men AND women leading First Assembly.
Thanks so much for the question!