Any Women House Church Planters out there?

A journalist for a well known religious publication wants to know if there are just a few or a whole lot of house church planters who are female. And I already know that MOST of the church planters in China are female. But what about Western countries?

And I realize its often a team thang – and often a couple thang – but still, who has a list? or a NUMBER?

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

20 Comments

  • Last year I started a housechurch called SURF together with 2 other. But all of us 3 are not leaders anymore since March 06.
    Ah, I’m from South-GER.

  • There is another female house church planter in Vancouver – She works in Yaletown with the christian reformed. I can put her in touch with you if you like.
    Also – hi kyle. how’s the open house?

  • yup did it for 3 years… ask Derek!
    we’re Actually considering doing it again… but this time… (they go home after!) Our spare bedroom, complete with a gideon bible on the night stand… (since it seems to be a hotel at times!) Now has a futon.. cuz people don’t stay as long. Just one of the many boundaries that we have put in place to keep US from losing our sanity. xoxo cathryn & phil.

  • In 15 years of being involved with church planting & going to seminars, conferences, Discipling a Whole Nation guff etc and I all of a sudden look back and think, you know I never met one single female church planter in all that time and still don’t in Organic Church either.

  • My experience has been the same as Philip, which raises the inevitable question: WHY? If women are more relational then men, you would expect them to be more on the frontlines of this organic movement.
    The percentages are better with the emerging generation though. While in DAWN (network for saturation church planting) most meetings are dominated by men, in Connect Europe (network for emerging pioneers) it’s 50/50. But most of these women are either single, or married without kids, which explains it to some extent.
    With a family to care for women are likely limited to function in an apostolic/travelling role, but could be even more effective on a grassroots neighborhood level. [I’m not implying specific male/female roles here, guess this is higly dependent on the societal context.]

  • A question or two for the journalist from the well known religious publication (and the rest of us). Assuming that his/her article is on house church planting, is he/she actually asking the best question for such an article? Since the Great Commission is about discipling, not about church planting or house church planting, what might the answer be if he/she were to ask, “Are there just a few or a whole lot of disciplers who are women?” Or, “Are there just a few or a whole lot of Kingdom enterprise/business/non-profit catalyzers who are women?” I wonder if that would bring a significantly different answer, which might show our structures may not be barking up the best tree … maybe women are more highly involved in other kinds of organic movements. Maybe this also raises the issue of whether church planting, house church planting, and other ‘-ing-things’ which are described as “organic” really aren’t quite as much so as we think they are.

  • Marc said
    “WHY? If women are more relational then men, you would expect them to be more on the frontlines of this organic movement.”
    I personally found with the house churches I have helped start in the last couple of churches that three quarters of these new churches would have a women as the ‘unspoken’ primary pastoral leader. If you removed this key pastoral women the house church would most probably stop existing or reform differently. BUT though these women are actually doing the leading they are still seen as working in a dual role with there husband, even though the husband being less relational is more in the back ground and less involved. I am wondering what I should do as this does seem to be quite a key.

  • You are right, Brad. Though with house church planting I would mean discipling people and forming community.
    Philip, would it be fair to say that men are more inclined to start groups, while women maintain community? Indeed, different roles in a team.

  • to be fair to DAWN, many DAWN events are aimed at network and denominational leaders which do tend to be male (and males like network gatherings more than females imho)- although many of these men represent hundreds of women who are starting communities.

  • yeh, it’s a team’s thing… people and God…
    I know it’s just about words and its meanings in our minds…but for me the only church planter is Jesus !!!
    🙂
    Bless you all
    PEACE
    Barbara
    (Portugal)

  • i am an intern with kyle and kristin at the open house in vancouver (he was your first comment) and while i am not technically a house church planter (i am in bc through a year long missions board internship program from the states) i aspire to be a part of leadership more officially in the coming years 🙂

  • without wanting to open up the whole ‘liberal’ and ‘evangelical’ debate – I suspect that as the house church movement and the DAWN movement arose out of the ‘evangelical’ stable of the church you might expect less female representatives (in the UK at least). I also agree with your comment Andrew, men tend to prefer networking conferences (and there are more male denominational representatives for church planting) – another hunch I have is that ministry within traditional church tends to depend on quite feminine character traits, listing, caring, guiding, supporting, even preaching though it’s dependent on your style – this plays to the relational apects of ministry, building and pioneering plays to more masculine characteristics and can provide men with the opportunity to ‘be men’ in the context of church (this is I admit a gross caricature of reality and possibly unfair on both men and women but I suspect there is just an ounce of truth in it).

  • it might be interesting to consider whether both the men and women who lead viable house churches, or perhaps monastic structures, are more “psychologically androgynous” as James Church suggests … drawing from both of the culturally stereotypically characteristics of men and women. (so … men and women who are BOTH relational and have “emotional intelligence,” AND are assertive and entrepreneurial.) i think psychological androgyny is something i see more prominently at the more intercultural tribal edges of “emerging cultures.” perhaps it shows up elsewhere as well.
    i don’t know that the question of men or women in leadership is very helpful. it only considers the plumbing, not what’s stored in the attic.

  • My experiance tells me that women because they are more relational often find it easier to establish and maintain organic groups (I found this to be true even with starting cell groups in the old cell church enviroment. So my experiance tells me they have an advantage, yet my experiance also tells me that basically men only do it. So is it that we in any form of church are carrying over some form of sexisim that is negatively impacting on the expansion of the church. What blocks are there? Is there a Church Planting Glass ceiling for women so to speak? Just rambling here really.

  • About 75% of our religious order are female clergy. We are situated throughout the United States and most of us are house church planters.

  • Marc wrote:
    WHY? If women are more relational then men, you would expect them to be more on the frontlines of this organic movement.
    Puh-leese. Are you kidding? Look at the Church Planting conferences… like “The National New Church Conference” in Orlando next week “http://www.startingchurches.com/”
    Who is teaching it? MEN.
    Who is speaking at it? MEN.
    Oh yes, there is a “spouses track” which talks about “women’s ministry.” My husband wasn’t really interested in that.
    In short… there is no support for it. there is no model for it. Women like me who WANT to church plant are treated like strange creatures from another planet, at best, or heretics, mostly.
    SO we go and revive a dead church until our presbytery or synod or whatever moves us on and lets a guy run it.
    Deb Winters
    Church Resuscitator, not planter.

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