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Women in the Christian and Missionary Alliance May Now Be Ordained as Pastors—But Not as Lead Pastors

Before delegates cast votes on each recommendation, they were given the opportunity to defend their positions either for or against the proposals. Rob Bashioum, lead pastor of Salem Alliance Church in Oregon, spoke in favor of the recommendation to ordain women, urging delegates to move toward “unity, not uniformity.” Bashioum asked delegates to consider how their decisions would impact churches at the local level.

Jennifer Roth, a consecrated woman in ministry at Salem Alliance Church, also defended the motion, saying she believes the CMA is losing young men and women over this issue. Krista Lain, a military chaplain, said the recommendation would make her “life a lot easier” as she would no longer have to constantly explain what “consecrated” means.

Those opposed to the recommendations voiced concerns over compromising on the teachings of God’s Word. Dylan Valliere, senior pastor of Faith Chapel in Green Bay, Wisconsin, warned his brothers and sisters against contradicting the “overwhelming consensus of the global church across time and culture for 2,000 years.” Said Valliere, “Be absolutely sure of what you’re doing before you move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.”

Sandy Rose, who is married to the lead pastor of Living Hope Alliance Church in Huron, South Dakota, voiced her opposition to the recommendation to give women the title of pastor. “I do so,” she said, on behalf of “many in this room who care biblically about this issue, but are afraid of being labeled misogynistic if they take a different stance.”

After delegates had finished debating Recommendation 6 on the title “reverend,” right before the vote, a man who identified himself as a deliverance minister voiced concern that shame had been introduced into the discussion and requested the proceedings pause for prayer that any shame on either side of the debate would be lifted. Moderator Andy Hawkins conceded and invited the minister to pray for the gathering before delegates voted.

All three recommendations were passed with clear majorities. Recommendation 4 passed with 63.16% in favor and 36.84% against. There were 63.39% in favor and 36.61% against Recommendation 5, while Recommendation 6 passed with a majority of 71.47% in favor and 28.53% against.

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The CMA’s decision comes ahead of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in New Orleans next week, where the denomination will grapple with its position on women’s roles in ministry. Two churches, one of them Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, are appealing being disfellowshipped from the SBC for allowing women to serve as pastors (a third is appealing disfellowship for how it handled concerns relating to an abuse allegation).