Stories of a broken trellis – Laura

Retelling others stories so that we can process our own. Believing that the trellis could be as beautiful as its vine.

Glen Scrivener wrote an article in EN depicting the culture of favouritism and elitism within some of the UK churches. His examples are about a historic, specific situation. Yet the comments I’ve read and the experiences I’ve seen show that this is current and endemic.

Many have seen and felt the impact of this culture. Many have struggled to find words to express what’s wrong. Many have only just had the strength to believe that this culture isn’t right.

This is so important that stories need to be told. We need to see others stories so that we can process our own.

We need to see others stories so that we can process our own. We need to face the problems in our culture, pray and repent so that change can happen

Glen I totally agree “we have a wonderful vine and, at points, a wonky trellis. That trellis – our systems and the assumptions behind them – needs urgent scrutiny“. If you haven’t read Glen’s article, please read that first.

I want to share stories that show the impact of the “Blokes Worth Watching”(BWW) system upon individuals, here is the first one. This is Laura’s story not mine, I have changed some details to give her anonymity.

Laura’s story

“The ones to watch, the ones to build up, the ones to give opportunities to always seem to be the young men. At first, I thought it was my own heart playing a comparison game. But when there is a clear pattern of opportunity you can’t help but feel like there’s a special club you are not a part of. Whether it’s giving a young man who can play four chords the chance to lead worship. Or someone studying theology the chance to speak at an event. When there is clear pattern of opportunity you can’t but help but feel like this.

I started working in a new context in youth ministry. I looked around at the groups across our region and realised there hadn’t been a single female speaker all year. Recently in a planning weekend the notion of having a female speaker was mentioned but conversation was shut down immediately. So, I asked the question

are there women that you think could speak?” no answer.

As I reflected on the women I knew, very few of them had been given the opportunity to even try. There were some that were given the chance to speak, but sadly their talks weren’t perfect. After that point they were no longer invited, it was as if they’d been black listed. In contrast those in the BWW crew seemed to be given plentiful opportunities. If they messed up then the response was “no worries we’ll invite them back“. I try and be gracious as I look on and cheer on my brothers in Christ. But I can’t help but wonder if anyone asks where are the women? No wonder we are so afraid to fail.

The biggest impact of this culture on me is the idea that women need to prove themselves. Not just once, but time and time again before they are even let into the room. But the BWW will be let in the room with no question as of course they are the future of the church. As a woman before you are even considered at the same level as these men you must first prove your worth.

As a woman before you are even considered at the same level as these men you must first prove your worth.

Maybe we should encourage men more, after all there are less men in the church than women. Maybe we should encourage them to keep them in the church. But as I look at my sisters in Christ, I see so much talent. Talent and gifting that isn’t being used for the good of the kingdom. Yes, men should be encouraged and built up in church. But we need to think about how we disciple, encourage and raise up both men and women”.

Read more accounts of others impacted by the BWW culture here.

Nay has written a response to Glen Scrivener’s article in August’s edition of Evangelicals Now, read it here.

Published by Nay Dawson

Hello and thank you for reading my blog. I'm married to Jon and live in Southampton with our two girls. I work with IFES Europe as their Regional Training Co-ordinator, training staff and students across Europe. In 2019 I set up Passion for Evangelism a network of creative, public female speakers. I'm a Trustee for the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation raising essential funds for disadvantaged Black British Students. I'm also a Trustee for Friends International helping welcome International students to the UK. In response to the war in Ukraine I helped set up Ukraine Connect matching refugees and hosts across Europe

One thought on “Stories of a broken trellis – Laura

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: