Why Are Women Serving Communion?

communion trayLast summer during one of our Impact Sundays, teenagers (of both genders) served communion during the service.  Later that day I was approached by one of our more “seasoned” members who respectfully said, “Help me remember why it’s ok for girls to serve communion.”  I responded, “If you think about the early church meetings, it wasn’t anything like our services today.  They met in homes in groups of 20-50 or so people.  And the Lord’s Supper was part of a larger meal.  Who do you think was serving that meal?”  

In church there are things we have done the same way for so long it’s easy to assume all of our practices come directly from the New Testament.  However, with just a little study and reflection one could make a long list of things we do simply because, that’s the way we do it!  I think it’s helpful to have habits and traditional ways of doing things. (It certainly is better than have to start from scratch to plan every meeting time.)  However, we must always be willing to rethink our practices and consider ways of doing things better.

Having only men serve communion and pass offering baskets might have made sense in a former day and time. However, today our culture is much more sensitive to issues related to gender.  Those of us who grew up with the practice of only men serving communion may not even notice.  But consider what it looks like to those who have not grown up in such a church environment.

I remember several years ago I was meeting with a small group and we had a women present who was a new Christian.  Somehow the topic of only men serving communion was brought up.  I’ll never forget her reaction.  With a look of horror on her face she exclaimed, “You mean, we’re forbidden!”.  How would you explain such a practice to her?

Serving communion is a service.  Period.  It is one of the ways we can serve one another that requires no special abilities or extensive training.  It can be done by a person at any level of Christian maturity.  It is a simple, yet meaningful service.

Beginning in May we will start using women in addition to men in our regular communion service rotation.  This is the latest step in seeking to be more inclusive of women in our Sunday assemblies.  If you are new to our church you might be interested in some historical background.  To read past communication from the elders to the congregation regarding greater involvement of women in our Sunday assemblies click here.  To read the cover letter click here.  To listen or download a five lesson sermon series on Women in the Life of the Church click here.

As always, I am available to listen to any concerns or help answer questions you may have.  Your elders also, are always interested in hearing from you.

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

Comments

3 Responses to “Why Are Women Serving Communion?”

  1. avatar Doug Thompson says:

    Since birth I have been a member of a series of congregations of the Church of Christ. Women and girls have passed communion trays in every Church of Christ congregation that I have attended. In my experience, we have always expected all of the worshippers to pass the communion trays because that is the way that the trays move down the pews from one person to another!

  2. avatar Jaime says:

    The communion is not the same as a meal.

    • avatar Byron Fike says:

      Thanks for your comment Jaime. You are correct that communion as practiced today by most churches is not a meal and has no connection to a meal. There is however, a reason we call it the Lord’s Supper. Our Lord instructed us to take the bread and cup in remembrance of him while eating a meal with his disciples. A careful reading of Luke 22:14ff shows that the bread was taken during the meal (vs. 19) and the cup was drunk after the meal (vs. 20). Likewise, when Paul was writing to correct Corinthian abuses of the Lord’s Supper it is obvious that the bread and cup were part of a larger meal (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). One of the early titles for the Lord’s Supper was the Love Feast (see Jude 12). Today we follow the practice made popular (I’m supposing) in the 4th century when Constantine made Christianity a legal religion of Rome and donated government buildings for their meetings. Large crowds and the desire to use time efficiently was possibly why the meal was discarded but the simple bread and cup remained.

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