The restrictions against women in preaching and leading congregations has had strong impact on the mission field, although there are signs that women are gaining new roles in some evangelical mission agencies, reports Christianity Today (Aug. 7).
Traditionally, women have been prominent in missionary work, particularly in social service and practical ministries. But the changing face of missionary work that stresses “proclamation” ministries (preaching and teaching) over practical missions has in effect limited women to marginal roles. This is especially the situation in missionary work of the Southern Baptist Convention and other churches that restrict women from teaching and preaching.
“Women in their 30s, 40s and 50s, who are moving up the ladder, are having difficulty securing responsible positions in missions agencies,” notes Paula Harris of the evangelical missions convention Urbana 2000. However, women are finding a place in the short term mission organizations that are expanding, as well as in parachurch agencies that “can sidestep denominational policies that sometimes complicate possibilities for women.”