Servanthood or Authority

"Of primary importance in defining the scriptural role of women in ministry is the biblical meaning of "ministry". Of Christ our great model, it was said, "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). New Testament leadership, as modeled by Jesus, portrays the spiritual leader as a servant. The question of human authority is not of primary significance..." The Role of Women in Ministry
The question of Women in Ministry commonly devolves into a discussion of headship and authority. The question about whether women have the right or privilege to lead is always a part of any discussion about women in pastoral ministry. Headship is usually associated with leadership, authority and power. I am always surprised about this concern since Jesus--as head of the church--is expressed in the context of Savior and the giving of Himself for the Church (the Bride). He laid down His life for His Church...actually for all people! Perhaps the discussion of rightful authority is actually a human concern...


  1. It is good to see you taking up this issue Sharon. One might think that the Wesleyan Church settled this issue many decades ago, but still the discussion continues. In 2008, the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia voted to include a statement in our Discipline (Handbook) in support of women in ministry. I was pleased to be a part of that decision. However, I fear that we failed to take up the distinction between "ministry" and "leadership". There are some who would accept women in ministry but not women in leadership. As you have noted, I feel that is because of a false understanding of leadership. Nonetheless, the distrinction remains. I have found this to be especially true in missionary service. We freely allow women to minister as missionaries, but very rarely allow them to lead. This is often excused as necessary for the mission field culture, but my experience is that it is more often an issue to the sending agency. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks Cameron. The distinction is an important one. It is interesting to hear your perspective because since the church has been more open to "allowing" women to minister as missionaries, we naively assume that equals leadership. Hmmm...