Why I Love My Complementary Church | Magazine Features
I go to Grace in London which is part of a network called Advance in what used to be called Newfrontiers. We are complementary, and for us that means we don’t have women preachers or women elders.
Complementarity is the position that makes the most biblical sense to me. In the story of creation, we are told that there were complementary couples: sun and moon, sky and earth, earth and sea.
These pairs of things, including male and female, work together in the sphere in which God has placed them, and this brings fulfillment and life. It’s not a question of value – God created man and woman in his own image – and it’s not a question of skill.
Some women find it extremely frustrating not to be allowed to preach when they are better speakers and/or Bible teachers than the man they are listening to. In our culture, people are chosen for positions based on their skills. The Church is not like that; it is about the design and order created by God.
As a woman, I can never be a father, but it’s not outrageous patriarchy that’s holding me back — it’s just part of God’s design. And I think that’s a helpful way to understand God’s plan for the Church. It’s like a family; there are fathers and there are mothers, brothers and sisters.
Fortunately, I have always had a very good experience of complementary churches. I have always felt respected and honored by my male leaders; that I have a voice. I’m one of the leaders in our women’s ministry and I have a lot of freedom and authority in that.
Our leaders have understood from the biblical text that we must honor women. Women are made in the image of God and they have precious things to bring to the table. They therefore make sure to listen to them and serve them well; love them as Christ loved the Church. And when it works well, it’s a beautiful thing.