By Jordan Burgen
"I downloaded your app at the recommendation of my cousins who go to your church. I’m curious what your views are on women’s leadership? Do you have women pastors? I noticed on the app none of the lectures / sermons seem to be given by any women and that discouraged me."
Thanks for reaching out with your question. As a church, we have prayed and deliberated over this topic many times and have come to the conclusion that we best stick to the biblical model of church structure rather than divert from it to hopefully hurt less feelings. That may not seem politically correct or “modern” but we are, after all, accountable to a God who is eternal. Our views support the biblical model that the leadership structure of the church is set up similarly to marriage, where gender plays an important role in designating the responsibilities of the individuals involved. Therefore, as it is set up in scripture, the main leadership of the church, the elders and lead pastor (elder and pastor are the same word in the NT) are to be only male. We believe that God uniquely equips and calls men to lead both his family and the church (Genesis 1-3, 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Ephesians 5:22-33). It is not a question of competence, but calling. Can women lead other people, in the general sense of the word, men included? Absolutely! But within the leadership context of the church, we stick to what the Bible says on the issue. Elders (which includes the lead pastor) are to be men. And not just any man. Not all men are automatically qualified just because of their gender. The type of man he needs to be is spelled out quite well in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
With that said, the roles of women in the church are not non-existent. Jesus utilized women in His ministry more than anyone in the culture thought was appropriate. Women are not limited to certain spiritual gifts just because they are women, teaching included. Women were very involved in the early church in all sorts of roles. Even dating back to the Old Testament, Deborah was the 4th Judge of Israel, when there was no male leadership to be had. God does designate women to do great things in ministering to the world. There are plenty of roles in the church where women can exercise their spiritual gifts of teaching and leadership, but God reserves the role of elder (and therefore lead pastor) for men.
So, would Flatirons ever let a woman teach from the stage to the general congregation? Yes, we would, if she was uniquely qualified to speak on the topic at hand. We won’t just appoint a woman to teach so we can fulfil some expectation of modern society but if we feel that someone is qualified to speak, and what they have to say fits within the values of our church, we will not choose to disqualify them just based on their gender. As it stands now, our teaching pastor (Ben, the other guy who speaks other than our lead pastor, Jim) is also a man because he is the one that that the church leadership has deemed qualified at this time. He wasn’t picked just because he is a man, but he is a man, and was picked. I hope that makes sense.
The "Good Questions" blog is a place where some of the really good questions people email into the church can be shared with everyone, along with Jordan Burgen's response. Jordan Burgen is the Content & Theology Pastor here at Flatirons, so he answers a lot of the emails sent in to us. To ask a question (about anything, really), please fill out a contact form here or email Jordan directly at