The following is a roundtable discussion between the pastors of Grace Baptist Church, a CBF church start in Round Rock, Texas.
Question: Grace Baptist Church in Round Rock is a church who supports women in ministry. What does this mean to Grace and how is this practically put into action throughout the church?
Aurelia: At Grace, women and men are treated as equally competent. Women act as trustees and run the finances of the church alongside men. They are ordained, preach, and given respect as pastoral leaders just as the men are, while men lead children’s sermons and work in childcare just as the women do.
Basically, at Grace, stereotypes are challenged and barriers are broken. This is extremely meaningful to the people who visit Grace who have been fed up with or oppressed by church because of gender. It is also meaningful to our children as they witness the importance of actively living out Jesus’ love, acceptance, and empowerment toward both women and men.
Michael: I think Aurelia is spot on with her last point. How this comes across to our children is so very important to me! We value all voices and especially encourage our young women to speak up and be involved in leading elements within our worship service. Whether it is leading a prayer, reading a scripture, preaching a sermon, or reciting a benediction, we want our congregation, men and women alike, to know that they are empowered to be ministers to each other.
Kyle: I agree with both Aurelia and Michael that our children are being given opportunity to both witness and participate in what boundless inclusion looks like in the church. When I speak, I do my best to use gender inclusive language when talking about God and people, as well as preach from gender inclusive Bible translations. We are attempting to own Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Aurelia: Another important aspect of supporting women in ministry is reflecting that support in a tangible way, such as by intentionally hiring women pastors. I feel blessed to be at a church where support of women in ministry is a priority in staffing. I also appreciate that the staff dynamic doesn’t feel like a “men’s club”. I never feel left out at meetings or in other scenarios, but instead I always feel just as important, just as valued and just as a part of things as the other guys on staff.
Michael: Being a part of a church that values the feminine perspective from a place of authority insures that we maintain a good balance in our corporate understanding of Scripture. For example, on Mother’s Day, Kyle had a great Welcome for the service that emphasized the Scriptural basis for God’s feminine nature. To be able to hear that from the pulpit, and then hear such a fantastic sermon by Aurelia, really brought it full circle. If I wasn’t on staff at Grace, I would be searching for a church where I would be able to get a steady diet of diverse preaching.
Kyle: We believe both women and men are created in the image of God. Therefore, we do our best to practice what we preach. We are intentional about having female voices right along male voices at all aspects of church governance, worship leadership, and ministry service. This helps us gain a healthy balanced perspective, which illuminates deeper understanding of a limitless God. The women at Grace continually teach me so much about our wonderful, diverse God’s image.
About the pastors of Grace Baptist Church: Aurelia Davila Pratt is Pastor of Spiritual Formation, Michael Evans is the Pastor of Worship and Arts and Kyle Tubbs is the Lead Pastor and Church Starter. You can see full bios and more information on their church start here.
Read Part 1 of this roundtable discussion here.