Are there any women trying to control things at your church? And are there any shepherding men, who are ignoring the women at your church?

If you’ve ever rolled up your sleeves in church ministry, you know that there are often pitfalls and frustrations, when we—as men and women—try to blend our gifts in the church. In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to cultivate a fruitful complementarianism in the local church—one where brothers and sisters realize they are better together, by God’s design.

In this conversation, we’re talking again about Complementarianism. Last time, Brian Robinson and I talked about what complementarianism is, and what it’s rooted in. But this time, I have my friend Cheyenne Werner with me, talking about women’s ministry in the church, and what we learn about it in Genesis 1-3.

Guest: Cheyenne Werner

Bible Passage: Genesis 1-2

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Music: Cade Popkin Music 

Fruitful Complementarianism Why Brothers and Sisters Are Better Together {Cheyenne Werner}

Cheyenne Werner

My friend, Cheyenne Werner, is a wife and mom, and women’s ministry coordinator at Peace Church, here in West Michigan, where I live. She’s also an artist (scroll down to see her “Return to the Tree of Life” painting, which coordinates with season 4, here at Live Like It’s True!). You can connect with Cheyenne here:

Does Genesis 3 Really Say Anything About Women in Ministry?

I see you over there, scratching your head. You’re saying, “Wait a minute. Isn’t this kind of a stretch? In Genesis 1-3, there’s only Adam and Eve. How can we possibly make application about men and women in the church?”

At first glance, I agree; it might seem that way. But remember that marriage is a metaphor that points to Christ and the Church.

So Jesus—when responding to questions about marriage, referred back to our Genesis “origin story”. (See Mark 10:6-9.) Also, Paul and Timothy—the New Testament Writers and who helped launch the Church movement—referred back to Adam and Eve when teaching about the roles of men and women in the church. (See in particular I Timothy 2:13-14 and I Corinthians11:8-9.)

We’re just doing what they all did. We’re looking back to Genesis 1-3 for help as we—as women—serve next to men in the church.

Complementarianism in Genesis

In case you’re interested, here are some of the hints at complementarianism (or role distinction) in Genesis 1-3. (We didn’t talk through all of these on this episode.)

  • God didn’t create Adam and Eve at the same time. 
  • Adam and Eve are not created the same way. 
  • He creates a helper “fit for him”. (Not the other way around.) Their bodies were distinct.
  • God gave Adam the command about the tree before Eve was created. 
  • When Adam named the animals, he discovered that there was no one who paired with him. He needed a help meet, in order to be fruitful and multiply.
  • The serpent approaches Eve, not Adam. (Whatever God orders, Satan disorders.)
  • God calls out to the man (not the woman), when he came looking for them after they ate.
  • Adam named Eve.

The pattern in the Bible is for God to do something, and then explain what he has done. So the commentary in the New Testament helps give weight to these hints we see in Genesis. Paul consistently refers back to the Genesis story as the basis for his instructions for women in the church. (See I Corinthians 14:33-35 and I Timothy 2:11-14.)

Return to the Tree of Life: Painting by Cheyenne

My guest, Cheyenne Werner is also an artist, and if you get my emails or follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen me share her painting, which correlates with our Genesis series. It’s called, “Return to the Tree of Life”. Isn’t it lovely?

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The two trees side by side, depict the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life which were both in the Garden of Eden. (See Genesis 2:9.)  Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, the tree with the forbidden fruit has a path leading away from the Garden. But off in the distance, there is a cross. And then, there’s also a path leading from the cross, back to the Tree of Life.

That’s our story, isn’t it? You can find more art by Cheyenne in her etsy shop.

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