now hiring…

…Requirement: a penis. Sexism and poor optics from one of the more popular Evangelical churches in Milwaukee

I don’t suppose this qualifies as equal opportunity employment.

Epikos Church is a ten-year old church plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin led by Rev. Danny Parmelee. In that decade, the church has grown, opened a second branch in inner-ring suburb West Allis and is, according to the above link, looking to launch a branch on Milwaukee’s north side–a part of town that is heavily stricken by poverty and racial segregation (until you reach Brown Deer, that is.)

By their own account, they have aligned themselves with the seminary where I did my graduate work (Bethel), as well as Converge Worldwide (the rebranded Baptist General Conference) and The Gospel Coalition and Acts 29. The former two I have no qualms with, aside from the fact that Bethel hasn’t gone by ‘Bethel Theological Seminary’ in years, but that’s not their fault. It’s those last two.

Acts 29 is the church planting network and The Gospel Coalition is the adjoining pseudo-denomination spawned at least in part by Mark Driscoll, who ran a cult of personality–Mars Hill–that imploded at the end of 2014 after his compelled resignation from the pastoral office. The self-professed egoist, and interwebs troll par excellence/misogynist/second coming of John Calvin was caught in a plagiarism scandal and, after charges of spiritual abuse and Christian bookstores stopped carrying his products, was deemed more hassle than he was worth. (A quick Google search should fill you in. Driscoll’s Wikipedia page is well-sourced.)

None of this is to say that Parmelee is Driscoll; that’s not fair to anyone. That having been said, show the world who inspires you and with whom you align yourself, and the world will see more clearly who you are.

The New Calvinist movement, neo-Calvinism, neo-Reformed theology all deign equality between the sexes, but in the same way that the Supreme Court codified the notion of separate, but equal in Plessy v. Ferguson. They even have the gall to hire women as staff, giving them much of the responsibilities of any minister without the benefit of being a pastor. Seriously, look at Epikos’ staff directory: the pastors are all men, the women are secretaries and ‘directors’. Leadership is a complete sausage-fest.

[EDITORIAL ASIDE: If anyone knows anything about American churches, though, it’s that de jure, men may hold the titles, but de facto, women run the show. You never, ever, ever cross a church secretary. I digress.]

So much for the priesthood of all believers. If you have a uterus, you cannot fully participate in the work of ministry.

Never mind Paul’s proposition in Galatians is entirely contextually unqualified (a rarity, to be sure): There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

Yet, the job listing in this blog post is very clear as to what kind of plumbing is essential to marrying, burying and all that other pastoral jazz:

He will be responsible for identifying, recruiting, and developing leaders. He will shepherd, oversee, and empower leaders to carry out the ministry of the church.

He will also be a preaching pastor, preaching regularly at all three epikos campuses as part of the preaching team.

[bold and italicized pronouns mine; Epikos’ stylized small caps theirs]

Then, they sneak this little nugget of richness in:

We desire a diverse preaching team that reflects the diversity of our congregation.

Wait, wha…?

Is Epikos a gentlemen’s club for men only? (No.) Is this a dog whistle that they will be hiring a person man of color? (Probably.) How is diversity defined, if not also by sex? (It’s not.)

I know people who attend Epikos; I know people who have contributed time and energy to Epikos ministries. From the outside, it’s a growing, emerging church filled with a lot of spiritual drifters and hipsters: largely younger, white college students and white-collar professionals. Epikos falls in line with national demographics on church plants. That said, I know a source who was deeply and sincerely embedded in Epikos volunteer efforts for a considerable length of time: the closer you get to power, the less liberty and charity exists, especially if you are female.

Well-intentioned, affable, Jesus-loving sexism. Well-intentioned, affable, Jesus-loving sin.

My suggestion is simple: this is the last week they are accepting resume packages. If you are a woman called to do ministry, send your portfolio to them at Your cover letter simply should state “Galatians 3.28.” Bowl them over with a killer resume. You can even use me as a reference.

There is no greater equal opportunity than the work of the ministry.


One thought on “now hiring…

  1. Reblogged this on View From the P.E.W. and commented:
    Are you a misogynistic control freak with a winning personality? Consider a leadership position in the Gospel Coalition! This story shows how the Mark Driscoll effect plays out here in Wisconsin.

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