What does the Bible say about women in leadership? Can a woman be a church leader?

There are four main views. Christian feminism argues that God created man and woman to be equal in dominion (Genesis 1:28), and that Jesus also came to defeat the patriarchy and relieve oppression set by men. On the opposing end of the spectrum is Christian patriarchy, which view God as masculine, and that according to 1 Corinthians 11 God is head over men but men are the head of women. This view sees the role of women as being in the household, and not have the right to rule over men.

Between these two extremes are Christian egalitarian and Christian complementarianism. Egalitarianism says that God created man and woman as a united couple, cursing their oneness in the fall and causing men to rule over women. Hence, headship is a result of sinfulness and a divide that Jesus came to bring down (Galatians 3:28). Biblically, women were judges, deacons, co-workers, and (according to the egalitarian) even apostles. Thus, verses that seem to support the patriarchy are viewed as flawed cultural systems.

The view we hold as a church is Christian complementarianism. This is the belief that man and woman have equal value but not equal roles. That is, they complement each other. Eve was created as Adam’s helper. Headship doesn’t diminish the value of those under its care. In fact, women in biblical history had positions of leadership, with Paul only listing one position that women cannot have: that of authoritative teaching.

Women can do anything in the church that a non-elder male can do. At our church, you’ll find many Christ-centred women in positions of leadership and ministry, but eldership belongs to men. Our gifts and roles are complementary: we are to value each other and not use headship to cause division.

Despite society’s changes, and the fight for self-empowerment, we trust that the Bible says that value is not determined by power, but by being a child of God.


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31 Oct 2016

Andrew Grills

Andrew is the Lead Pastor of City on a Hill Geelong. He has spent most of his life as an officer in the Australian Army. Graduating with the Sword of Honour from the Australian Defence Force Academy, he served in Infantry and Intelligence, including operations in East Timor with the commandos. He holds a postgraduate degree in International Relations from Oxford University and an MDiv from Ridley College. Andrew later became an Army Chaplain at the Australian Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka, before leaving the full time Army in 2013 to plant City on a Hill Geelong. Andrew has been married to his beautiful wife Danna for over 20 years and has five young children. He loves the ocean, traveling, camping, playing with his kids (including attending their innumerable sporting matches), and reading military history.

3 Oct 2016

Luke Nelson

Luke is the Lead Pastor of City on a Hill Melbourne West. He joined City on a Hill in its early days, serving as the Community Pastor in Melbourne, before being asked to lead his own church plant. Having grown up in Melbourne's western suburbs, he has a deep knowledge of and passion for the area, and a great desire to see the gospel bring transformation. A gifted communicator, he loves the work of pastoring a church, opening God's word each week and seeing the Spirit work. Luke graduated with a BA (Hons) from Melbourne University, has a Grad Dip in Divinity from Ridley College, and is close to completing a Masters of Ministry. He is an ordained Anglican minister in the Diocese of Melbourne and an active member of the Acts 29.

26 Sep 2016

Guy Mason

Guy is the founding and Senior Pastor of City on a Hill, a church that began in 2007 with a small team and a big vision. Today City on a Hill is a movement of many churches that gathers across multiple locations, in different cities and is united around the central mission of knowing Jesus and making Jesus known. Guy is a passionate communicator of the gospel who is committed to engaging culture with the beauty, truth, and relevance of Jesus. Guy graduated with a BA in Public Relations from RMIT University and has a Masters of Divinity from Ridley College. He is the husband to Vanessa and the father to four children. He is an ordained Anglican Minister and member of Acts 29.