Ethics: Sponsoring a Female Church Planter

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What would you do Wednesday!

The following situation is based on true events….

Your church recently made contact with a husband and wife missionary team who are back home in the U.S. to raise support. They have been missionaries in a poor country for five years. The couple is known for starting house churches in the poor country though not a lot organizational or procedural details are known.

Your church has been promoting a missions theme during the current month. Every Sunday morning missionaries get to share what they are doing on the mission field for a few minutes before the church takes up a support offering for them.

It is time for the missionary couple to speak during Sunday morning service. The husband begins talking and immediately introduces his wife as a gifted speaker. Since she is the gifted speaker she is the one who preaches at their worship services and holds the title ‘senior pastor’. The wife then talks for a few minutes about her work in the poor country.

As you sit in your conservative, complementarian church and the missionary offering is about to be taken…

What would you do?

  • Give and trust the Lord.
  • Not give and talk to the pastors later about the situation.
  • Stand up, rebuke the missionaries and encourage no one to give.
  • Or…
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tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Larry October 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Wow. For starters, shame on whoever this was for inviting someone to speak in the worship service and not knowing any more about them than that. The fact that this was a last minute surprise is the real issue here. However, if it transpired as described, I would thank her for sharing, perhaps pray for their ministry and then move on with the worship service – without taking up an offering specifically for them. If the offering must take place, I would position it as in support of world-wide missions. Afterwards, would then be the time to speak with this couple. Damage control with the congregation would, of course, have to come as some point afterwards as well, perhaps the next week if it was not possible that afternoon. I’d then immediately develop a speakers’ policy with required questions that must be answered by anyone given time to speak in the worship service!

2 David (NAS) Rogers October 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Lottie Moon
Andronicus and Junia
Priscilla and Aquila

Is this an actual case where she is actually titled “Senior Pastor” and he has no title or “Assistant Pastor” and what actual missionary field would use those titles rather than “our pastors”?

3 mburatov October 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Once again, a tough one. I would say that this couple is doing remarkable work on the mission field. They are to be commended for this. However, they must know the stance of the church and denomination on women in the senior pastorate. If this is the case, then they are guilty of a bait and switch. Having said that, embarrassing the couple in the front of the church is probably not the best response. They are probably expecting a donation for coming to the church, and the pastor is really between a rock and a hard place on this one.

I would not give to the offering until I have spoken to the couple and truly understand their views on the position of women in the ministry. If I am satisfied, then I will give to them. Beyond that, I would try to make sure that the pastor is as concerned about this as I am. That’s the best I can do with this for now.

4 Mark October 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for the comments, folks. The real story was slightly different, but the agreed upon funding was ended and never actually started once the ministry found out that the female pastor/church planter.

5 Steve Martin October 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I, like Larry, would want to know more about their beliefs and the faith that they practice.

If they were a Christ centered church that knew and preached God’s law and His gospel, then I would give them some money.

If they had people on a spiritual/religious ladder climbing project where the onus and focus curved back onto the folks in the pews, then I wouldn’t give them a penny.

Thanks.

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