Women and Church Leadership

(Joleen Tee) #1

Hi everyone!

This is the first question I’ve posted, so I hope I am following all the community guidelines.

I am struggling to get a grasp on how to view women serving in the highest “offices/positions” in the local church. In other words, is there a specific structure for how church leadership should function that is clearly set out in Scripture, and -if so- how do women fit with this structure? In the denomination I grew up in, these positions are generally called pastors and elders and refer to individuals who either expound regularly on the Word of God or who are responsible for making important decisions on church matters.

I recognize that this can be a sensitive and deeply personal issue for many (as it has become for me), and that views can often become polarized on this point which can lead to divisions. I apologize, therefore, if this question is inappropriate and/or not relevant to the purpose for which this community was formed - and if this is the case, I hope the moderators don’t feel bad about removing this question from the conversation threads.

Any insight you may have on this question (though it is vague) I would greatly appreciate. I will try to clarify my question if that is helpful.

@Michelle_Tepper (I just tagged in hopes that you are still answering questions in Ask RZIM and might have time to answer this one. But I think I may have missed you).

Thank you everyone!

(SeanO) #2

@Joleen_T That is a great question and one definitely worth considering. There are a wide range of views both on how Church leadership should be structured and the role women should play within that structure. My approach is generally that if I decide to join a Church I honor the leadership structure that is there, assuming there is no evidence of emotional, spiritual or physical abuse. I add the last clause because it is possible to end up in an environment where teachings regarding leadership are being abused to gain power, oppress or manipulate people - and that is never acceptable.

Below I have provided a link to some resources for studying the role of women in ministry. If you have any more specific questions, please feel free to ask them as well. May the Lord grant you wisdom and discernment as you study this topic.

(Michelle Tepper) #3

Hi @Joleen_T,

I just want to say that I fully support all that @SeanO said and the resources he recommended!
I highly recommend that you do a search on youtube for some of our speakers on this subject.

Here is one by @Jo_Vitale

@AmyOrrEwing and I also speak on this. @AmyOrrEwing has a helpful book entitled “Is the Bible Intolerant”

I also think that the former Canon Kenneth Bailey wrote extensively on this in a very helpful way. Do an article search under “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes” with the heading of women.

Keep asking these questions. I am an ordained minister and before my time as an itinerant speaker, I was a University student pastor at an Anglican church in Oxford for 7 years. That being said, in my role as an itinerant evangelist my personal view is if my presence at a church will hinder the gospel going forth in anyway, then I would prefer to honor that denomination and allow one of my brothers on the team to speak.

As you said this is a deep topic and can be linked to even deeper personal pain and hurt. Please continue to connect with like-minded brothers and sisters in this community for support.

Bless you,

Almost 30 and Single
(Joleen Tee) #4


Thank you very much for these resources. I will start a-reading, with more questions perhaps to follow.

I notice how often you answer questions in Daily Evangelism, and I think it’s really helpful for so many.

(Joleen Tee) #5


Thank you very much Michelle! I appreciate and admire the work you and your team do, and look forward to listening to the YouTube talk you have suggested to me, along with Amy’s book and Kenneth’s article.

(SeanO) #6

@Joleen_T Glad to be of help. Look forward to any questions and the Lord guide you as you study :slight_smile:

(Megan Lykke) #7

i have struggled with this for many years as when i was younger i felt called to be a pastor but my chuch told me no. i have reconciled that now and i do attend a church where women can be pastors. obviously there are different views on the subject but I agree with all the resources above. i found amt orr-ewings talks on podcasts or you tube and her book very helpful. i know there are different views and i don’t mean this to sound offensive but personally I think that Satan has done a pretty good job in the church trying to silence 50% of the christian population and i have found it very helpful to hear from both sexes on the subject of God. i would encourage you to keep studying and persuing answers and praying because i think that God will give you the answers you seek!

(SeanO) #8

@Joleen_T I thought this recent article in Christianity today made some good points and wanted to share it. It offers another perspective in approaching the matter. The Lord bless your continued study.