Dear Calvary Family,
As summer ends and we move into the fall season, I am looking forward to cooler weather, to football (go Hogs!) and hopefully to fall playoff baseball (go Texas Rangers!). But most of all, I am looking forward to a wonderful season of fruitful ministry at our church (go Calvary!).
Calvary is a very special and unique family of faith. Part of our special uniqueness involves having people with a diversity of views, yet choosing to stay unified in spite of our differences. In short, we agree on the main tenets of our faith and can agree to disagree on lesser issues. I truly believe that this is one of our greatest strengths. I hope that we can apply this strength to the issue of women in ministry. At Calvary, there is space for both egalitarians and moderate complementarians to continue to support our 25 plus year practice of ordaining women.
On September 10th, we will have an ordination service for two spiritually gifted and talented ladies. I am grateful for these women and their families and for their impacting ministries among us. I am also thankful for the Ordination Council consisting of both Deacon and Church Council leaders who interviewed them and agreed with me that we should pursue ordination.
The topic of ordaining women has been brought to the forefront recently at the Southern Baptist national convention in June. In fact, several churches were disfellowshipped for their beliefs and practices concerning women in ministry. I was disappointed with these decisions.
This prompted a question from one of our members asking if our ordinations could get us in trouble with the SBC Convention. The short answer is “No, it shouldn’t.” Although the two churches in question both had unique circumstances, both were disfellowshipped for either having a woman as their senior pastor or for ordaining a woman to become a senior pastor. Calvary’s upcoming ordinations are for church ministry in general, not for Senior Pastoral leadership. This should not be a violation of the Baptist Faith and Message.
Another question that has been asked is “Does Calvary plan to leave the Southern Baptist Convention?” My answer to that question is “No!” That is not my intent, nor my desire, and I do not believe that would not be in the best interest of Calvary. In spite of my frustrations with the SBC, I still support our courageous IMB missionaries, our cooperative Arkansas Baptist State Convention, our impacting Baptist Campus Ministries, our locally engaging Pulaski Baptist Association and other important missional ministries.
About a month ago, I announced the ordination plans to Calvary’s deacons at our August meeting. After the meeting, Mary Howell said “I fully support ordaining these young ladies.” She continued by saying, “I view ordination as the church affirming a person’s call to ministry and their spiritual gifts along with the promise to come alongside them with our prayers and support. How can we not all support that?” Great words from a great lady to a great church.