Women in leadership

The Mennonite Church has very supportive statements about women in leadership and ministry (although this position is not true in more conservative Mennonite groups). The most recent Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective states,

The church calls, trains, and appoints gifted men and women to a variety of leadership ministries on its behalf. These may include such offices as pastor, deacon, and elder as well as evangelists, missionaries, teachers, conference ministers, and overseers.

This understanding of leadership is based on Scriptures in Ephesians 4: 11-13; I Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:6-8; Titus 1:5-9.

This is the ideal toward which the Mennonite Church strives. Various groups within the Mennonite Church are at different places when we discuss women in leadership:

  • In the past, women were not permitted to have a role of leadership ministry.
  • Today some churches will not accept women in these roles.
  • Other churches accept women as worship leaders, song leaders, Sunday School teachers, etc., but not as lead pastors.
  • Others, and the number is increasing, accept women as pastors or in other lead ministry roles.
  • On a denominational level, women have served as moderator and heads of major boards in the Mennonite Church USA.