Women In Leadership

"Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground" (Genesis 1:26).

These are among the very first words uttered by God in Scripture, showing that from the very beginning, He had a specific plan for gender dynamics between men and women. At The Crossing, we take these words seriously, especially when it comes to our position on women in leadership. Above all, we strive to honor God’s Word. The Bible has the final say. Period. And when you look at Scripture as a whole, you see God raising the status of women and giving them authority in multiple male-dominated cultures.

For starters, “image-bearer” carries an authoritative connotation. God charges both men and women to rule over His creation. As the narrative progresses, this role becomes more precise. Eve works as Adam’s helper, and together, they “serve and guard” the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15, 18). As such, the whole of humanity, male and female alike, rule over, protect, and take care of God’s world. Still, several details point towards Adam’s unique leadership role. He is created first and gives the woman her name (Genesis 2:7, 22-23). He alone receives God’s command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and Scripture highlights him as the primary culprit after their disobedience (Genesis 2:16; Genesis 3:9). As such, Genesis shows that while both genders lead, men exercise the primary authoritative role. Still, God does endow women with authority.

"Scripture gives us adequate justification to affirm women in both leadership and teaching roles."

This theme continues throughout the Old and New Testaments. Both Miriam and Huldah had leadership positions at key points in Israelite history (Exodus 15:20-21; 2 Chronicles 34:14-33). As a judge, Deborah, too, ruled as God’s representative (Judges 4). In a culture that did not separate church and state, she most definitely exercised civil, judicial, and spiritual authority. Likewise, Paul mentions female apostles (e.g. Junia), teachers (e.g. Priscilla), and counts women among his co-workers, all of which imply positions of leadership (Romans 16:3, 7; Acts 18; 1 Corinthians 16:15-16, 19; 2 Timothy 4:19). He also commissions Phoebe to deliver his letter to the Romans, which from a 1st-century standpoint automatically places her in a position of authority over the Roman churches (Romans 16:1-2). A woman was the first person to read and explain (i.e. teach) one of the most influential and masterful works in the history of the Church. With all this in mind, Scripture gives us adequate justification to affirm women in both leadership and teaching roles.

How does this play out at The Crossing? Because of the differences between men and women given in Genesis 1 and 2, we reserve the position of Lead Pastor for a man. However, we believe all other leadership ministry positions can and should be open to women, as we seek to empower Christ-followers and celebrate the gifts that God has given to each of us.

If you have further questions, we would love to have the opportunity to share more of our heart on this matter in person. Email pastors@thecrossing.church and we’ll arrange a time for that to happen.