I have heard it said about two groups of people (children and women), that they should be seen and not heard. Sadly, I have heard this more in churches than anywhere else. I was standing around with a group of pastors once, and one of the pastors said this about pastor’s wives. It honestly made me sick. Chauvinistic pastors use their wives for personal pleasure and their children to make them look like strong leaders, but they better not be heard.
I dealt with this mentality for years. Children were meant to sit like statues in church and the women were useful for children’s church, the nursery, or the kitchen. I even heard from a woman’s mouth 15 years ago that she would not be a part of a church that had women greeters or ushers. My experience has been that women do a better job greeting than most men. The men will stand still and hand you a bulletin while a lady will engage a newcomer in conversation, lead them to the right place, etc.
After being in churches that are glad to have kids but don’t want them acting like kids, I was shocked to hear my pastor make statements that set parents at ease. It was honestly a blessing.
I’m not hear to argue one’s interpretation of how far women should go in serving in church, but I do want to point out that women bring many organizational and leadership strengths to the table. Furthermore, children are being trained as future leaders. If we give them the “dullsville” version of church and give them no outlet to grow, we shouldn’t stand around later and wonder why they left the church. The church as a whole has limited itself by man made rules and guidelines that Christ never set.
So, women and children should be seen and heard. It’s the masoginistic men that should be unseen and unheard.