Despite social modernization and progress of women in corporate leadership the church is far behind in accepting the call of women in church leadership. Although the call of leading in ministry is no different the struggle still remains throughout the churches and our communities. Church leadership is still a male-dominated profession. Therefore, women who embark on this profession face challenges and struggles that their male counterparts often do not encounter.
There is a surprising number of churches that identifies that there is a structural difference between both genders. The paper is an informational research on the opposing views of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah Witness and the Baptist faith regarding women answering the call to lead.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormon faith. Women of the Mormon faith who desire to obtain leadership within the organization are convicted of apostasy and excommunicated. The Mormon woman is unique because of the Church’s teaching that it is the divine calling of all women to be wives and mothers and that the pursuit of anything else such as an education or a career should be secondary. The Mormon leadership has an extreme amount of control they wield over their members, particularly their female members. They don’t look kindly to conduct contrary to the laws and order of its faith. This is apparent in the life of Kate Kelly, who was removed from the Church. ‘Kelly can no longer wear her temple garments or enter LDS Church temples. She cannot tithe or give offerings. She cannot take the sacrament (known in many Christian churches as Communion), receive a calling from serving the Church, or giving talks in the Church. She is banned from offering prayers in church meetings and cannot vote for church officers.’ (www.businessinsider.com)
The Women of the Mormon faith predominantly believe ‘and engaged in their local religious communities. The lack of diversity in the church leadership and the upwardly trending age of leaders often feel alienated by the faith’s emphasis on the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on gender.’ (Ross & Finnigan 2014) Women are excluded from some church councils and many leadership positions. The struggle for women in leadership is still an ongoing battle. Although many differences exist between the Christian faith and the Mormon faith, the predominant disparity between the two beliefs is Christological.
The faith of Jehovah Witness is well known in regard to the strict orders with the Bible. The status role of the woman within the leadership role hold the bottom position with the organization’s hierarchy; they distribute tracks and their objective is to grow the religion. This is considered an important role for women. They are expected to live according to the Bible, following the example of the Proverbs 31:31 Women are not allowed to teach at the Kingdom Hall. The man however, holds the leadership roles of the church. Their belief systems states “ (1 Corinthians 14:34, 40, Today’s English Version) For the congregation to run smoothly, God has assigned the role of teaching to one group. Her role is that of submissiveness.”(Watchtower 2010 May 15 pp.12-17
National Baptist Faith
The official rules regarding women in church leadership have changed, but in the unofficial traditions, it is still believed that men are the ones to lead. Traditions says that only men can serve as pastors, presiding elders, district superintendents, denominational heads, or bishops. Many people still feel that pastors must be men. However, it is fine if a woman wants to teach, but not acceptable for her to assume a leadership position within the church of pastoring.
According to Newkirk, D. (2012). “Baptist churches like many organizations are in need of exceptional leaders to guide their people into the future.” Women ministers are often excluded from leadership positions within the Baptist church based on race and sex.
There are a few Baptist churches who prove of ordaining women but will not allow them to attain the position of pastors within large congregations. The denomination are still dividied on the issues of woman in church leadership. The concepts of woman submission is controversial inside and outside church walls today
In conclusion, historically women have been at the bottom of the ladder economically and socially since the fall of mankind. Woman was made in the image of God and thereby was equal to their counterpart. and woman are now beginning to challenge the thought of sexism as a real social concern within the church. Therefore, we are seeking equal leadership positions, which were traditionally held by men only.
- Ross N., & Finnigan, J 2014 Mormon Feminist Perspective