The Forgotten Role of Female Leadership in the Church

The more you study the Old Testament the more you see how over the years Israel forgot God’s word, His ways, and His Law. Over and over again God had to send prophets and leaders to call them back to His ways. After 2000 years the American church has the same issues of forgetting God’s ways and replacing them with the current culture’s practices. I find this a real issue today.

Part of the churches break past the teaching of scripture and follow the feminist doctrines of American society and place women in authority as pastors. Others react to this false doctrine and shut women out of their God given callings. But the Word of God gives us a clear and present direction on the importance of female leadership for the church. So we must look to the instruction the Apostle Paul gives us.

Titus 2:1-5
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: [2] that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; [3] the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— [4] that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, [5] to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Character Requirements of Female Leadership
As you read through the above scripture you find strict demands for spiritual responsibility and leadership. The very first demand is “reverent in behavior.” Holy behavior is not a loose guideline, but a practical lifestyle! And remember holiness means an unusual relationship with God with strict obedience to God’s laws and will.

Only seasoned character molded by years of living with God’s Holy Spirit presence and a mind saturated by knowing God’s holy Word, matures a faithful, narrow road disciple of Jesus to this degree. This is why godly female leadership is essential. And a mighty army of spiritual “grand-mothers” of the faith will stabilize a local church.

But, “slanderers” [verse 3] will destroy the warriors of the Kingdom. This Greek word is the foundation of the English word diabolical, used for Satan and his evil work. How many pastors and church leaders have suffered great loss from diabolical stabs in the back from bitter old ladies!? The old and well known “Church Lady” from Saturday Night Live only exposes the sad truth of many, many supposed Christian ladies, “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” [Romans 3:14]

The church must put its foot down and silence such wicked attacks upon its leaders. Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Only consistent faithful women can be allowed into spiritual leadership because God has great concern over gossip, backbiting and slander among women.

Paul also warns us in 1 Tim. 5:13 “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.”

It is without argument that God demands holiness among women by ordering them away from wine. “Not given to much wine” really says “not enslaved to wine.” “Not given” is from the Greek word doulos, meaning slave. Any lady hooked up with booze is not a holy woman, according to God’s standards and therefore, not accepted by God for leadership. See our article, “Guidelines For New Believers: The Reasons You Must Not Drink Booze of Any Kind.”

Ministry Responsibilities of the Female Leadership
The reason for such high standards of moral character and life style is the great need for spiritual leaders, grandmothers of the faith! Notice in verse four that the mature Christian women are to focus on and take responsibility to pour out their lives into the younger Christian women and disciple them. This is not just Bible study and is not a small task.

“Teachers of good things” encompasses raising girls and young women in all aspects of Christian life. The weight of female discipleship training rests on the shoulders of the church’s spiritual ladies, not the male pastor! This huge task includes…

1/ teaching them how to be disciplined and correct in manners,
2/ raising children,
3/ showing consistent affection toward their husbands,
4/ being self-controlled [over emotions and passions],
5/ being modest and clean,
6/ knowing the skills of a good manager of the home [Proverbs 31],
7/ becoming committed to good works [a ministry],
8/ and being under subjection and obedience to their husbands God given authority.

Verse 8 states all this is necessary so that God’s reputation is upheld, stopping anyone from speaking evil of God’s Word. This again shadows the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT) “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Well Titus 2 obviously makes a clear case for church renewal in this area of ministry. We need to rethink and reprogram our methods of discipleship for ladies. The narrow road followers of Jesus take His commands literally and seriously. Church success demands that the women who have finished raising their children begin the work of spiritual shepherding, and they do not need a special call, this scripture is plain enough.

All the character development and discipline necessary for raising up the young women is only accomplished through being “doers of the word, not hearers only.” If a church is full of unbridled mid-aged to elderly women who try to control the church and pastor, or its ministries, instead of being submissive, obedient servants of the Lord a cycle of disunity and crippling stagnation will result.

But, the Word beams with joy over a faithful lady “deacon” as Paul brags – “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant [deacon] of the church in Cenchrea” [Romans 16:1].

The Elite Spiritual Grandmothers

Now the very elite role of spiritual leadership rests on the shoulders of elder women in the local church. This is not an after thought, but an extremely important mission and ministry. Again Paul explains this vital responsibility.

1 Tim. 5:3-16
Honor widows who are really widows. [4] But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. [5] Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. [6] But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. [7] And these things command, that they may be blameless. [8] But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

[9] Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, [10] well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

[11] But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, [12] having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. [13] And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. [14] Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. [15] For some have already turned aside after Satan. [16] If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

What the church craves for are strong spiritual warriors of prayer and ministry. But here is the problem, a church full of “retired” widows is wasted by most churches. They are looked on many times as a burden of ministry to keep them entertained by taking them shopping, giving them parties, and other worthless events while the world is blinded and heading to hell. Our world around us is in great need of all our efforts to warn them and share the Good News with them.

But you must see, and Paul warns in our text, this pathetic practice is worthless to God. He stated, “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.”  Sadly, in most cases we have trained them to feel they are a burden. But, God’s Word states the sixty and older widow should be an elite “number” who can only enroll into the sacred rank of service and receive financial support with a proven record of Christian character, volunteer Christian service, and proof of discipleship.

He actually describes them as living examples of what He wrote in Titus 2, explaining what leaders are to train younger women to become. And what is their elite work?

“Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. [1 Tim. 5:5] What is more needed today in the church than this ministry? We must have a new army of mighty and faithful prayer warriors crying out to God to bring revival and spiritual awakening to the homes, church and nation.

Final Thoughts For You To Consider

To have passionate Christians we must have passionate leaders. The church needs to awake and use her untapped spiritual leaders, who in most part are wasting their lives, by merely attending church services. What will you do to strengthen the church? A revival of narrow road Christian discipleship must sweep the church, and our women must gain a new vision to see the mountain of ministries they are ignoring in our churches and communities. Until godly women arise and begin again the restoration of the Christian woman and family the church will lay paralyzed. But, watch the cities change when the Christian women renew their vows and fulfill God’s purposes by their good works and change the heart of the Christian family.

O Lord, send us dedicated, narrow road followers of Jesus once again!

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