Men and Women in Church Governance/Leadership
A position of the Pastoral Staff of The River Community Church
God’s Ideal Order
As we studied the scriptures and God’s purpose in the creation of Men and Women and their roles in the governance/leadership of Kingdom affairs (His Church) we came to this conclusion.
God’s intention was for both Man and Woman to share oneness and community (Gen. 2:23-24), even as the Godhead experiences oneness within the Trinity. Each had a direct relationship with God and they shared jointly the responsibilities of rearing children and having dominion over the created order.
Gen. 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
However, human oneness was shattered by the Fall. The struggle for power and the desire to “rule over” another is part of the result of human sin. Genesis 3:16 is a prediction of the effects of the Fall rather than a prescription of God’s ideal order.
God has acted in Christ to redeem the human race, and to offer to all people the opportunity to be part of the New Community, His church. It is God’s intention for His children to experience the oneness that exists between the Father and the Son (John 17: 20-23).
John 17:20-23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
This means that old divisions and hierarchies between genders and races are not to be tolerated in the church, where all are “one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
Galatians 3:28 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.
Roles and Headship
It is clear that God creates everything with a function/purpose in His Kingdom. Man and Woman are no different. And while man was created first in the birth order, God determined that Adam needed a helpmate in order to best carry out his divine purpose.
Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
We determined that the Family Model taught in scripture was the clearest and most consistent model throughout both old and new testaments and provides a comprehensive scriptural council on this topic.
The roles of each husband and wife in this model shows a shared responsibility of oneness to govern the family with the headship responsibility going to the man. This headship role is to provide clear order and spiritual covering for the family.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
Just as God the Father provides headship in the oneness of the Godhead, man is to provide that same headship and covering or ultimate authority in the spiritual family as well. However, just as Jesus and the Holy Spirit have authority in their governing roles, women likewise have governing authority in their roles in spiritual leadership. While a man should occupy the headship position, women are therefore covered to exercise governing/leadership roles in the spiritual family.
It is our position that the best and most complete form of church governance/leadership would include both men and women using the gifts and abilities God ordained for them to walk in.
We see the Lead Pastor and Lead Elder positions as male only positions, giving proper biblical headship and covering to a multi gender staff and eldership structure. It is our unanimous decision as a staff to recommend this model of governance for consideration to the RCC leadership and congregation.