Last Saturday we departed from the norm by including a teaching time on “women in leadership”. It came out of a persistent message from many that solid Scriptural instruction was needed on the topic. Several affirmed after The Gathering that it was very helpful.

Message on Women in Leadership         Gathering March 26, 2011

We have in past trainings talked about “alignment”, and how we as Jesus followers determine the voice of God and the meaning of Scripture for guidance in our journey.

  1. Is it Consistent with Scripture?
  2. Is it Confirmed with Fruit?
  3. Is it Confessing the Lord?

When it comes to understanding roles of men and women in the Church, we have all tasted the fruit of different beliefs on this. Our beliefs will generate “cultures” in the church that more or less reflect mutual respect or disrespect, a valuing of others or using of others, individual responsibility or control by a few, partnership or hierarchy, and these beliefs will always spill into our general attitude toward all persons who seem to have more or less power than we do.

Today I want to go into #1, “Consistent with Scripture”, in some depth concerning this issue. What I am going to share might be difficult to hear because we are going to have to look behind some of the traditions you may have grownup with and discover that the way Scriptures have been used – and even translated – have led us to false understanding that does not line up as “consistent” with the whole of Scripture at all. So buckle your seatbelts…

Original design:  Genesis

  1. 1:26 Dominion together
  2. 2:18 The “helperazar or ezur – to surround/protect
    1. Exod. 18:4 Ex 18:4 “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”
    2. Deut. 33:26 – “There is none like the God of Jeshurun; Who rides the heavens to your help; And through the skies in His majesty.”
    3. 2Kings 6:17 – The Chariots of Fire – The azar of God!
    4. 3:16 Dominion – apart
    •        i.      The desire to pull down (see 4:7) –  yet you will be “ruled over”;
    •        ii.      That we would not be ruled by other than God – the “offender” crouching at the door – 4:7;
    •        iii.      Wanting a king to rule us – 1 Samuel 8:4-22


The New Covenant – Heir-ship in Christ knows no gender – Gal. 3:28

  1. Jesus did not give titles to anyone;
  2. Jesus turned Leadership Culture Upside-down Matt 20:25
  3. Jesus’ esteem of women –
i.  Luke 8:1-3 Were among His followers
ii.      Luke 7:38, defends her weeping at His feet
iii.      10:39-42, defends one who wants to learn, not serve, or “diakonia” – deacon!
iv.      John 8:7, embarrasses men in front of her
v.      ch. 20 first to see him resurrected
Paul’s “Partnership” with women –
  1. Priscilla – Rom 16:3 “fellow laborer” who taught Apollos – Acts 18:26,
  2. Phoebe – Romans 16:1 a “diakonon” (deacon) of the Church in Cenchrea
  3.  Junias –  the “apostle” Romans 16:7
  4. Women referred to as “elders” – Titus 2:3
Of Labels and Leaders:
  Prebuteros  elder Titus 1:5 Elders Predated any use in the Church (see Matthew 15:2)  Also translated bishop, overseer, presbyter; refers to men and women – Titus 2:3
  Proistemi – leader 1Tim. 5:17 to “stand before”, to lead as a matter of order, Rom 12:8 – Paul claims to have been “lead” by Phoebe, along with many others! (Rom. 16:2)
  Diakonous – server 1Tim. 3:8, First appointed in the Church – Acts 6:1-6; Used to describe men, and women – Phoebe Rom 16:1) Luke 4:39. Matt 20:28, Jesus came not to be “deaconed to” (served), but to diakoneo (serve).
  Apostolos –  messenger Luke 6:13 Appointed by Jesus, and used commonly to describe others who are sent: Paul was sent Rom 1:1, Junea was of “note” among them Rom. 16:7, Titus 2Cor. 8:23, A leadership gifting for the Church – Eph. 4:11

In understanding the application of Scripture – these passages have to put next to other which by themselves seem to make sweeping statements about gender and leadership, but when tempered with the rest of Scripture are seen to be contextual – especially Paul ( who even Scripture given warning that his writings may be confusing – 2 Peter 3:15-17) who was apt to mix principles with local application with no mention of the difference.

Our hope is to look to Jesus first for everything, and to avoid landing on any conclusions that are not supported by the Holy Spirit’s witness in us an the whole of Scripture – as did the “noble” Bereans in Acts 17:11.