Where can complementarian women go to find female teachers? For many, the answer lies outside of the local church. Because of theological beliefs, most complementarian churches don’t let women preach. Many also struggle to elevate women’s voices within their own congregations, indirectly encouraging women to look outside the church—at times to blogs, social media, and Christian publishing—for leadership. (Read CT’s previous coverage.)
Part of the reason for the lack of voices stems from a historic distrust of female leadership, argues Wendy Alsup, who formerly led women’s ministries at Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
“I think more and more people who identify as complementarian are putting away suspicions that women want to remove men from their places of leadership but it’s taken work to get to that place where their gifts are welcome,” she said.
But women’s ministry can thrive in complementarian settings. A pastor and church elder board which seeks to affirm women’s voices is characterized by a “celebratory attitude” that values “every member of the body of a Christ,” says Elizabeth Inrig, who previously served as national director of women’s ministries for the Evangelical Free Church of America
Inrig and Alsup joined Morgan and Richard on Quick to Listen to discuss the practical ways that complementarian churches can be intentional about including women’s voices, the roles of pastors wives, and how male participation at church affects female involvement.