leadership & gender

In light of TCBC’s position on gender and leadership as outlined below, it is important to draw out some of the practical implications this has on how we do ministry. The overall thrust is recognizing how the church will be the most healthy when men and women are fully utilized and working in partnership on behalf of Christ’s kingdom. But because Christians differ so widely on this issue, we want to clearly state our conclusions and how we desire to champion this partnership.

  • Women may hold any ministry position at TCBC other than pastor/elder.
  • Women may teach/preach in any environment, including the Sunday morning worship service when invited by the Shepherding Team. 
  • Women Leaders will be invited regularly to join the Shepherding Team meetings.
  • Women on staff who hold a theology degree will be given the title Minister and can be commissioned by the Shepherding Team as a Minister of the Gospel.


With some regularity, the Shepherding Team is asked about how TCBC views womens’ role in leadership within the church (depending on the context, the questions might be about women in the role of teaching or leading ministry or preaching a sermon or holding the office of elder, etc). In listening to these questions, in addition to feeling nudged by the Holy Spirit in our prayers together, the Shepherding Team felt it was important to study the topic in depth with open hearts and minds out of a desire to shepherd the church as well as we can. The interpretation of Scripture on this topic is complex. Craig Blomberg in Two Views on Women in Ministry puts it this way:
I recognize that equally godly scholars who are equally committed to the inerrancy of the Bible come to different conclusions because of the complexity of the data. There is no legitimate place in this debate to impugn fellow evangelicals who differ from one another by using the pejorative labels “liberal” or “fundamentalist,” simply because of their views on this topic. All of us who speak and write on gender roles would do well to begin and end every address with the caveats, “I could be wrong” and, “I respect the right of fellow evangelicals and evangelical churches to come to a different conclusion, and I will cooperate with them rather than combat them for the larger cause of Christ and his kingdom, which so desperately needs such unity.”
Having said that, we have gone to Scripture itself, prayed, consulted scholarly writing on the topic, and had discussions with others in our body who have studied the topic and have come to our best and most faithful interpretation for determining how we will operate at TCBC. This paper outlines TCBC’s position on this issue.  It is necessarily short, designed to describe what actually happens at TCBC, rather than giving a full discourse of the matter.


There are a number of broad principles, which are not gender-specific, but govern all leadership in the local church. Reviewing these casts an important context for discussing leadership and women.
1. Leadership, regardless of gender, is character based. Every leader at TCBC serves based on godly maturity. Leadership is not about position or power. Leaders are to be gentle in spirit, humble and service-oriented (Mk 10:45; Jn 13:12-17; 2 Cor 4:5).
2. The final oversight and shepherding responsibility of TCBC rests with the Shepherding Team. The Shepherding Team consists of the elected elders and pastors. These two words in English come from the same Greek word in the New Testament. TCBC asks that all Ministry Partners and leaders submit to and follow the Shepherding Team.
3. Leadership in the church is rooted in godliness in the home. The proving ground of qualification for leadership is not the marketplace or culture but the family (1 Tim. 3:4-5; Titus 2:3-5; Eph 5:22-6:4; Col 3:18-25). Both men and women leaders in the church must exhibit godliness in the home through Spirit-led relationships within their family and close community.  

The Bible teaches, and Jesus affirms, the equality of status and value of both genders (Gen 2:18-25). Salvation, maturity, and gifting know no gender bias. There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God (Gal 3:28). From beginning to end of Scripture women play crucial roles in the kingdom of God and God’s plan of redemption: consider Eve, Sarah, Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Abigail, Mary, Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene, Lydia, Priscilla, etc.
The same is true today - all ministry partners at TCBC are encouraged to explore, develop and utilize to the fullest their God-given talents and gifts. We believe that the gifts of the Spirit (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4:7-13; 1 Pet 4:7-11) are distributed equally and without distinction to men and women. Therefore, we desire to encourage men and women to exercise their gifts for the sake of the Body. All gifts of the Spirit (service, mercy, teaching, leading, administration, prayer, etc.) are for the purpose of building up the church. The Body of Christ at large and most assuredly TCBC would not be who we are without the incredibly valuable contributions of both men and women.

God created two distinct genders - male and female (Genesis 1:24-25). They are not interchangeable.  And, in the beginning, through their cooperative effort, they were to subdue and rule the rest of creation - spreading God’s kingdom over the face of the earth.  Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals that God asks different things of men and women. (Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Cor. 11:2-16, 14:33-35; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).  

While value and gifting are equal, men and women will operate from their distinct perspectives as men and as women, therefore the church is at its best when both are contributing fully.


Both men and women are encouraged to fully utilize their spiritual gifts in ministry within TCBC and sent out from TCBC, inclusive of the gift of teaching and leadership oriented roles, within the oversight and shepherding of the Shepherding Team. All teaching/preaching and leadership opportunities in ministry at TCBC will be approached on a case-by-case basis, with gifting, calling, and training taking prime importance; not gender. The value women bring to these opportunities is praised in Scripture (Romans 16) and we do not interpret Scripture to place a restriction on who fulfills these opportunities based on gender (more on this in the FAQ below).  


Scripture calls elders/pastors to lead the church (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:1-2), preach the Word (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:9), protect the church from false teaching (Acts 20:17, 28-31; Titus 1:9), pray for and visit the sick (Jas. 5:14; Acts 20:35), equip the saints for ministry (Eph. 4:11-12), and use proper judgment in theological and doctrinal matters (Acts 15).
We do interpret Scripture to be specifically calling qualified men to the office of elder/pastor. In 1 Timothy 3:1 Paul writes, “If any man aspires to the office of overseer (elder), it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife...” Paul’s implication here seems to be that he expects elders to be men. 1 Timothy 2:12 further specifies God’s design for men to lead the church (more on this passage in the FAQ below). Limiting the office of elder/pastor to men does not speak to a woman’s ability to do the job as well as or better than a man. Simply, it appears that it is God’s determination that men will carry out this particular responsibility. However, a Shepherding Team’s leadership in the church is enriched by the wisdom, insights, and contributions of women. Therefore, the Shepherding Team regularly invites women into discussions about the ministries and operations of the church.
God designing role distinction based on gender is certainly not without precedent. Most notably, God ordains differing gender roles, but not value or ability, in the home between husband and wife. The marriage relationship is worth noting here for a couple reasons. One, it gives us an example of God distinguishing roles based on gender. Second, it provides a model for how the relationship between elder and body ought to operate. The kind of sacrificial leadership called for in the home is illustrative and instructive for church leadership. Husbands are called to loving leadership and headship while wives are called to voluntarily recognize and honor their husband’s loving leadership and headship. Both however are to submit to one another which is the calling on all believers--both men and women (Ephesians 5:21-6:9; I Corinthians 11:3,8,9; I Timothy 2:11,12; I Peter 3:1-7).
Male headship in the home means that a man has a holy obligation before God to lay down his life for his wife and his children. It means that he has his wife’s best interests at heart, that he sacrifices his own desires for hers, that he puts her first always in his affections. Ephesians 5 in The Message puts it this way, “a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.”  The elder/pastor role in the local church should follow this same example of Christ. It means that they lead first, last and always by serving others, putting others’ needs before their own.


1.  Doesn’t Galatians 3:28 allow for women to serve in the same capacity as men?
Some might argue that because Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” that all gender distinctives have been done away with.   And certainly when it comes to one’s value or salvation before God, gender plays no part. The purpose of this verse is to affirm that God equally loves and saves both men and women. Men and women are both equal image bearers of God, are fully equal in dignity and worth before God and one another.  

However, we believe scripture specifically lays out God’s design for the church. This design is that the office of the elder/pastor is reserved specifically for qualified men. Scripture calls elders/pastors to oversee, love and protect the church (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:1-2, (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:9).

So, our goal at TCBC is to create an environment which adopts the general pattern of qualified men carrying the office of elder/pastor, while providing women (and other men for that matter) opportunities to lead and minister according to their giftedness.

2.  Doesn’t 1 Timothy 2:12 prohibit women from teaching/preaching in a mixed-gender setting?
Some suggest women should never teach men citing 1 Timothy 2:12 which says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”  While this passage seems clear and straightforward, it can not restrict women from teaching in mixed-gender environments because of other passages in the New Testament. We see from other scriptures that women were allowed to pray and prophesy (a form of teaching) in the mixed-gender gatherings (1 Cor. 11:5,13).  We also see in Acts 18:26 that a woman, Priscilla (it’s significant her name is mentioned first), along with her husband explained “the way of God” to Apollos. Therefore, this passage must not be a blanket restriction for women to teach in mixed-gender settings. The two verbs, teaching and exercise authority, define one specific function or role.  So, it is not teaching in general, something women are often commended and encouraged to do, but a specific kind of teaching, the authoritative and public transmission of tradition about Christ and the Scriptures (1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 3:16; Jas. 3:1). Given the context, we believe it is this authoritative teaching that is a function of the elders/pastors that defines church doctrine that Paul is referring to in 1 Timothy 2. Men and women can use their teaching gifts but all under the leadership of the elders. So, this is how we operate at TCBC. Scripture is our authority; the doctrinal statement provides the written authoritative teaching of our church, and the Shepherding Team is ultimately responsible for calling, evaluating, defending, and responding to what is said. (2 Tim. 2:24-26). In this structure, both men and women can and should be encouraged to use their teaching gifts.

3. What can I expect from Trinity Chapel moving forward?
The Shepherding Team and staff remain committed to faithfully teaching God’s Word and to serving the Body of Christ. God’s Spirit unites us and we share the essentials of the faith. We are hopeful that even if you disagree with these decisions, we can continue to pursue Christ together - exhibiting our devotion to him in how we love one another.


  • Partners in Christ, John Stackhouse, InterVarsity Press, 2015.
  • Two Views on Women in Ministry, edited by James R. Beck and Craig L. Blomberg.  Zondervan , 2000.
  • Jesus, Justice, and Gender Roles, Kathy Keller, Zondervan, 2012.
  • Women Leaders and the Church, Linda L. Belleville, Baker Books, 2000.
  • How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals, Alan F. Johnson Ed., Zondervan, 2010.
  • Worthy, Celebrating the Value of Women, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher, Bethany House Publishers: Bloomington, Minnesota, 2020
  • “Women’s Service in the Church: The Biblical Basis”, N.T.  Wright, a conference paper for the Symposium, ‘Men, Women and the Church’,  St. John’s College, Durham , NC, Sept 2004.
  • “Women and Ministry at IBC”, position paper for Irving Bible Church, Irving, Texas.
  • “The Future of Leadership at Bent Tree”, position paper for Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, Dallas,Texas, April 2016.
  • “The Role of Women at The Village Church”, position paper for The Village Church, Flower Mound , Texas. 2017.
  • Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem: Crossway Books, 1991
  • Biblical Eldership, An Urgent all to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, Alexander Strauch, Lewis and Roth Publishers: Littleton, Colorado, 1995.

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