I believe that the bible and church history affirm the role of women in church leadership.
Although women have made great social and political strides over the years, the church has moved at a slower pace. Yet women in scripture were clearly more than the “helpmate” that my complementarian brothers and sisters describe. A close reading of Genesis 1-3 supports the mutuality of leadership between husband and wife and contradicts the notion of male “headship” (or the unilateral subordination of a wife). Many women in the Bible were bold dynamic leaders (Deborah, Esther, Mary, the Samaritan woman, etc.). Here are three reasons I am in favor of men and women serving as equal co-laborers:
Women in Leadership is Biblical
I can see where a simplistic surface level reading of the text could lend someone toward complementarian thinking. However, solid biblical exegesis leads me back to the fact that men and women can and should be full partners in ministry. Supporting women in ministry leadership actually takes a deeper reading of scripture. Here are just a few examples that support this position:
-Men and women are both created to be God’s image bearers: Genesis 1:27;31, 5:1-2
-Jesus leveled the playing field when it comes to ethnicity, gender, and social class: Galatians 3:26-28
-Women were apostles and leaders in the early church: Romans 1
Women in Leadership are Strategically Important
This question has rocked me lately, “If the great commission were to be fulfilled in two years, what would have to happen?” When you start thinking about the ramifications of this question, the first thing is that we need more people who are on mission with Jesus. We need men and women to lead churches and to disciple others. If the Great Commission were to be accomplished in the next two years, the church would need to at least double its output of leaders. This means my complementarian friends would have to release some women to lead churches and preach the gospel.
Women in Leadership Makes an “Acts 2” Church
Everyone wants to have the “Acts 2” type of church. Usually when this is mentioned we are thinking of Acts 2:42-47. This is a terrific vision of what the church ought to look like and be, but we can’t get to Acts 2:42-47 without first reading verses 17-18:
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”
It is difficult to live in opposition to what the bible so clearly affirms.
Male pastors and leaders have to join this movement to speak powerfully for women in church leadership. What kind of impact could be made for the Kingdom of God if we enlightened our sons and empowered our daughters to step fully into the priesthood of all believers?
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28