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The following is an excerpt from Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send. The book comes out July 28, but if you order it before then, you’ll get a free eBook (Sending Capacity, not Seating Capacity) and 2 video sessions from our recent Gospel Summit.

Many people are bored in church. They are afflicted with a nagging sense that they ought to be doing something—that there is some meaningful mission they are supposed to be a part of. But they can’t quite get their mind around what that is, and so, in the meantime, they sit in church, try to pay attention, give their tithes, behave as best they can, and wonder if when they get to heaven they are going to be rebuked for failing to do whatever it was God wanted them to do.

Perhaps these people go to churches where they hear that Jesus is building his church and that the gates of hell will not prevail against them. But they don’t see themselves, or their church, prevailing against the gates of hell. They seem to be just getting by. Many can’t remember when a single adult convert—one truly brought out of darkness into light—came to Jesus in their church. And they certainly can’t remember one whose story they were personally a part of.

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I recently spent some time with long-time pastor Steve Stroope, who’s been in the ministry now for forty years. We talked a lot about what he felt was critical to building a strong church. As he put it, pastors need to see themselves as the servants of the people in their ministries. We need to develop the attitude of Christ, who used his position of leadership to wash feet, not to command respect. And one of the key ways we can do this as a church, Stroope says, is to pay our volunteers.

When we thinking of getting paid, we immediately think of cash. But Stroope pointed out that we don’t have to give out money to give people something of great value. It takes some thought, but it’s worth our time to figure out what replenishes our volunteers. After all, if we aren’t paying them, then we’re punishing them.

Stroope gives nine ways to pay your volunteers:[1]

1. Praise

Praise can come in two forms—public or private. The public stuff, done sincerely and in moderation, is vital. So thank specific people publicly or give them shout outs for a job well done. And get creative: if you’re writing books or posting on Twitter, that’s just as public as when you stand in the pulpit.

Private praise is just as important—and for many people, much more important. Many people are uncomfortable with public praise, but no one dislikes a personal pat on the back. So write a letter of gratitude. Give them a call to let them know you see their hard work. It doesn’t take much time for you, but it just might be the highlight of their week.

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Can Women Teach in the Church?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on May 25, 2015
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Our elders have been working on a statement explaining the roles God has given to women in the ministries of our church. (The short answer is, “Many!”) That statement is still in the works, but our recent invitation to have Elyse Fitzpatrick share during weekend services has led some to ask whether we believe a woman can preach and teach in the mixed-gender gathering of the church. While we are working on the more comprehensive statement, we thought it prudent to take a moment to address that particular question.

Introduction of the Issue

In 1 Timothy 2:12 the Apostle Paul commands that a woman is forbidden to “teach or to exercise authority over a man” in the church. Some suggest that Paul only had one situation in one church in mind, where the women were unruly. But the reasoning Paul uses—that man was created first, then Eve, and that she was deceived first while he overtly rebelled first—excludes such a possibility. Paul bases his rule for Timothy’s church in the created order, which means it applies to all churches.

The grammar Paul uses indicates that he has in mind two things he wishes to forbid, teaching and authority (We find Andreas Köstenberger’s grammatical analysis compelling here). In other words, Paul was not only saying that a woman could not rule as an elder, but that there is a certain kind of teaching she must not do in the assembled church.

But it is clear, however, that women are given the gift and responsibility to teach in God’s kingdom. Certainly, as Paul commands in Titus, they are to teach other women (Titus 2:3–5). Throughout the Bible, however, we see women instructing and exhorting mixed audiences also, both publicly and privately. In the Old Testament, Deborah dispensed wisdom to Israel by her tree (Judges 4:4), and both Miriam’s and Deborah’s songs were given publicly to instruct and edify Israel (Exodus 15; Judges 5). In the New Testament, Priscilla, together with her husband, tutored Apollos (Acts 18:26). Women prophesied publicly in the New Testament church (Acts 2:11, 17; 1 Corinthians 11:5; 14:26), and the whole congregation, men included, learned from those prophecies (1 Cor 14:31; Romans 15:14). Furthermore, Paul commands the congregation to admonish and teach one another, and these “one another” commands are given without gender distinction (Col 3:16; Eph 5:19–20;[1] 1 Cor 14:28).

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