What does a Female Pastor do in a Complementarian Church?

Northview’s leadership structure follows a “complementarian” model.  Both men and women are encouraged to participate in all lay-ministry and pastoral leadership positions with the exception of those which fit the “elder” role (governing church affairs and guarding its teaching) as defined by 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and and Titus 1:7-9.

The biblical framework for this model has been discussed in Northview sermons and podcasts and other resources.  I can direct you to them if you would like but, for the purposes of this brief blog post I thought I would do something different.

What people seem most confused about is how this model “plays out”.  Hearing that Northview has a complementarian structure, people assume that women are not encouraged to lead or to teach.  In my opinion, the best way to dispel assumptions is with facts, and so I spent a few hours analyzing my own time-sheets from September 2013 to April 2014.  The results are depicted below.

Teaching and Preparation – We have approximately 250 – 300 women participating in weekly Bible Studies at Northview.  I spend the majority of my time teaching and preparing to teach.

Leadership Training – We train women to teach the Bible and to lead groups of people.  We attend conferences and seminars and bring other Northview women along to learn, and I also mentor an intern each year.  I participate in the weekly “sermon review” with the other teaching pastors; providing feedback to them, and receiving suggestions for my teaching.  We give each other direction on how we can improve the content and delivery of our presentations

Congregational Leadership – This includes MC’ing weekend services, leading communion, baptizing, baby dedicating, attending and participating in monthly elder meetings, one on one meetings with people in the church and representing Northview at MB Conference events and activities.

Administration (emails etc) – Well that’s self-explanatory!

Consulting with staff – Northview has a large team of pastors, directors and support staff. We meet regularly and as needed as a large group and in smaller teams to plan, problem solve, and serve our congregants.

Special Events – We have a few annual events such as our Imagine Spa, Women’s Retreat etc.

Podcast and Blog – Brandie, Thaleia and I have recently begun the Bonus podcast discussing practical faith questions and applications and, as I have time, I contribute to our blog and facebook posts.

Prayer – We spend lots of time praying with people in the midst of all these activities.  I wasn’t sure how to separate it out, so thought I’d just mention it here at the end.

In addition to these activities, I am encouraged to pursue my own education.  To that end,  Northview is helping to fund my seminary courses at Regent College.

Being a female pastor in a complementarian church like Northview is stretching and challenging.  I have never been more challenged to think hard and well, and to lead others effectively.

If you are a woman, and you wonder how your gifts can be used here, please contact me! What I love most about my job is watching people grow in their faith and abilities as we serve God together.

Kristal Toews

Pastor of Women


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