There will be many topics that will be remembered in 2018 but perhaps none greater than the #Metoo and #churchtoo movements. Sexual abuse, assault, and allegations of inappropriate behavior swept through our culture and our churches.
The ERLC made it a priority to address these topics and much more with various initiatives, but it was Russell Moore’s announcement at the 2018 SBC annual meeting of our first Women’s Summit that put feet to our efforts. At the convention, Moore announced that the ERLC would be gathering women from across the SBC and the evangelical world "to think through ways to enhance our ministries and invest in our churches.” And we did just that several months later.
As a pre-meeting to our 2018 National Conference, the ERLC gathered more than 25 women from across evangelicalism to discuss a wide range of topics from sexual abuse, leadership, women and work, women’s ministry, and more. The meeting was led by Phillip Bethancourt, Trillia Newbell, Elizabeth Graham, Lindsay Nicolet, and Jennifer Kintner. Throughout the two-day gathering, women broke into small groups to discuss topics and develop ideas for training, implementing change, and growing awareness. Many of these initiatives will be announced at a later date.
The ERLC also invited male leaders to hear from the women and answer questions about their sphere of influence, which included topics like the future of complementarianism and the best methods for equipping pastors to care for women in their midst. The men were eager to hear and partner with the ERLC on next steps.
Since the gathering, the women have developed a community to continue the conversation. The ERLC will launch a special podcast series called “Better Together” that will feature many of the women who attended the Women’s Summit. The goal of the podcast series is to inform and equip listeners on matters most important to women in the areas of church, home, and work. The ERLC is also working on a book focused primarily on culture called Women on Culture, which should release at the 2019 National Conference. The women will also be invited to trainings hosted by the ERLC. But this exciting momentum is just the beginning.
We are grateful that the 2018 Women’s Summit launched what we hope to be a series of efforts for the church concerning women. With the leadership of Russell Moore and Phillip Bethancourt, we were able to move in the right direction and look forward to what the Lord will do in 2019.