By Nana Kwasi Asuman-Frimpong
On Sunday, August 13, I had the rare opportunity to speak to the youth of my church, Kingdom Life Assemblies of God. I describe the opportunity as rare because I rarely speak with the youth Ministry (as a group). During my over 2 years’ stay in the Church, Sunday was only my second time speaking, the first being over a year ago when I took them through the 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God Church.
I began my message by asking them to engage in a thorough introspection of the leadership within the church at all levels and consider the gender disparity. Despite being a young church, just about 3 years old, many of the leadership roles (or should I say active leadership roles) are occupied by males, even though females outnumber the males in the church.
As a young church, it is led by a Church committee comprising three men and one woman. All our instrumentalists are males. We have a fairly balanced ushering team and nearly an all-ladies’ protocol team (as is common in most places). Some of the youth leaders are females, and yet, except in rare cases when I see the president and other ladies leading the discussion, I often see the prayer secretary, a male, leading the discussion. I have a fairly balanced media team, with the ladies often managing the camera. However, the weekly tasks of projection and sound engineering are handled by the males, and the list continues. The Sunday School teachers are fairly balanced, but except for the English youth class and occasionally the English Adult class, all other classes are taught by males. Even the finance desk is currently being managed by only males.
I encouraged the young ladies in the youth group to stand up and be counted. I told them that I decided to engage with the youth because they say the youth are the future of the church. But I also informed them that the future is now because today is yesterday’s tomorrow. We cannot have a patriarchal church (whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously) where the females are only seen as followers. According to the Assemblies of God constitution and bylaws, we will soon be electing leaders for various positions. I urged the ladies to stand up and be countered and, when the time comes, challenge their male counterparts for positions. I acknowledged societal limitations that could hinder their commitment to leadership roles but also encouraged them to rise to the occasion. There are some societal limitations on young guys too, but that should never be an excuse.
I urged them to prepare themselves physically, psychologically, and spiritually to take up leadership positions in their respective areas and translate the same into the church. I encouraged them to read about leadership and expand their knowledge bank on critical issues that will make them competitive in their personal lives and in the church. I further urged them to appreciate their unique qualities as young women in an ever-changing world and recognize their God-given talents to change the world.
No special treatment
However, I cautioned them that there would be no special treatment for them, not in the church or anywhere else. We will not build a church (as I understand the vision of the Pastor) where individuals are given preferential treatment based on what is between their legs. We will not hand out positions (like funeral jollof) to ladies at the expense of young men.
Both genders will have to compete based on their equal strength and abilities. The bar will not be lowered for one gender because we want them to integrate.
As a father, I would not want a world where my daughter is given special treatment at the expense of my son. We will afford both the young men and the women the opportunity to develop themselves together and compete on an equal footing for any available leadership role.
The key is a commitment to work and dedication to service. Whoever is ready, in the interest of the advancement of the Kingdom, will be given the opportunity to lead. Thus, I encouraged the ladies to be prepared to face equal and stiffer competition from their male counterparts.
To the males, I urged them that this presents a competition for them. If they ever thought that leadership positions were reserved for males, they are entirely mistaken. From now on, we have a new group of dedicated and ready-to-serve young ladies who are coming for what they believe is their ‘right’. They must either step up their game or sit down and watch the church being led by powerful young women.
I am not looking at the distant future. I am looking at the near future where lady pastors, deaconesses, youth leaders, Sunday school Superintendents, etc., will take over the church. But this won’t be handed to them easily. Everyone must fight for their own pound of flesh.
The writer is the Sunday School Superintendent of the Kingdom Life Centre Assemblies of God, Amrahia-Tollbooth, DodowaDistrict