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From Debate to Appreciation

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Rev. Dr. Demetrius A. Russell, Sr.

Spending all of my life in the local church, it became quite apparent that something was off. While men held positions of leadership in the pulpit and on committees, the pews were filled with women. The choir stands were filled with women. The most consistent, in ministries, were women. It was as if societal norms had infiltrated the church and of course, this led to the dreaded debate: in what roles can women serve in the local church?

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Women could sing, play instruments, serve food, and lead ministries pertaining to women and children. But, if a woman wanted to serve as a trustee, teach the adult Sunday school class, and felt called to some form of ministry, the debate would begin. While the debate continued for decades, I am afraid that many women never fully walked in their Spiritual gifts and the local church suffered.

With this being Women’s History Month, we are quick to honor academic and secular career accomplishments but fail to acknowledge certain truths that celebrate the contributions of women in the church. There are various questions that can be posed as to why so many hold such views. Is it a lack of security? Is it something that we have been taught to adhere to? Can I challenge us to move from debate to acknowledging and celebrating what women have accomplished?

I am not encouraging you to change any views of what you feel is proper from biblical interpretation. (I pray that our understanding of scripture is growing and that we are rightly dividing the word of truth.) So, do not worry about that. What I believe is that we must cease the unnecessary debates and focus on just uttering the words, “thank you!”

For years, women have remained faithful in our churches, thank you! When many males were raised in homes without fathers and did not know how to be fathers, women stepped up and raised children by themselves, thank you! While many of us who are faithful husbands and fathers have made advancements in our careers and in the community, our wives held things down at home, making sure that we looked good in the eyes of the public, thank you! To all women who faithfully serve our churches, thank you! We do not have to view television screens or magazines to know that what you do is worthy of honor and worth being written in history books. We celebrate you not just this month, but every day!

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