“Am I qualified to do this?” Jessica asked herself. It was hard to explain her angst to others. She had been a public-school teacher for more than a decade before her church asked her to come on board as a full-time children’s director. She knew she could work with the kids. She had a good understanding of developmental levels, special needs, and even how to recruit volunteers. But she had nagging questions, “How do I choose a curriculum for our ministries that is biblically accurate? Even if one of the pastors reviews it, do I want to waste his time asking him to read something that fails to pass a sound theological framework? And how do I train our volunteers to respond to kids’ questions through the perspective of a biblical worldview?”
Women like Jessica, who find themselves responsible for the spiritual well-being of others, often struggle with questions about their qualifications. Their concerns are valid. They want to make sure they are fully prepared for their role in God’s mission.
The issue of qualifications comes up in our culture (church or secular). People want to know who they can trust—who is a Christian woman who knows the Bible and is seen by others as a leader worthy of respect.
Without an official way to recognize a woman’s qualifications for Christian service that requires leadership, ministry leaders face awkward questions. How do we find an eligible woman to speak at our women’s retreat? How do we determine whether a woman is qualified to serve on the church staff? Is there a church organization that endorses a woman’s fundamental character and biblical comprehension for leadership?
For the past three years in the Charis Fellowship, a task force to develop a ministry credentialing process for women has been working at the request of Women of Grace USA to determine how to recognize women with godly character, sound theology, and demonstrable leadership skills. The team has moved slowly and deliberately to assure excellence, and also because they are exploring ways to make use of related opportunities being developed by Inspire (formerly Association of Grace Brethren Ministers).
The task force is composed of leaders with decades of experience in ministry: Ron Boehm, Chery Boehm, Dan Thornton, Cindy Shuler, and Barb Wooler. They want to emphasize that the purpose is not to commission women as elders or lead pastors, but rather to affirm worthy servant-leaders among the women of the Charis Fellowship.
Please pray for the development of this valuable tool for assisting women to pursue excellence in their preparation to serve the Lord. If you would like more information on how to apply for this process, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.