Complementary Leadership

Complementary Leadership

Complementary Leadership - June 2022

Every Biblical church finds its foundation for its practices and functions from the Word of God. The Word of God teaches that men and women are created by God as having equal value and worth, they uniquely reflect complementary truths about the image of God. Therefore, the Bible teaches that the roles of men and women are not interchangeable (egalitarianism). Both are necessary to correctly embody God’s image in the Church and to the world. 

The complementarian view is not limited to defining the roles for women, but is meant to illustrate the beauty of believing men and women living in harmony and in a particular order as brothers and sisters in Christ. God has created male and female together in his image, with equal value, dignity, worth, access, and love. They were created with the intent that together they would reflect God’s triune image in His creation. While equal in value, men and women are distinct and complementary in how they reflect the image of their Creator (Gen. 1:26-27). Gender complementarity within equality is God’s means for ordering His world so that His image is manifested and glorified most beautifully. 

The beauty of the oneness of the Godhead (Deut. 6:4) is also expressed in its diversity (Father, Son, Spirit) and the equal members of the Godhead possessing different functions that complement each other (Rom. 8:26, 31-35). So, it also is with God’s image bearers. Men and women have different functions to live out in their roles within the Church and marriage (Gen. 2:18-25).

The role of pastor/elder is to be held by qualified men. The eldership which consists of qualified, godly men (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9 ;1 Peter 5:1-4) is the office ordained by God to lead Christ’s Church as shepherds with authority. All members of the church (men and women) are called to follow this authority as the elders humbly serve God’s people through the authoritative preaching of the Word, and the pastoral leadership and the care of the Church and its members (1 Tim. 2:8-15)

The primary relationship between men and women in the church is the biblical picture of brothers and sisters working side by side cooperatively in the world for the sake of the Gospel and within the Church for the sake of the kingdom of God (Acts 18:26; 21:8-9; Rom. 16; 1 Cor. 12; Phil. 4:2,3). 

Complementarianism in Practice at Westwood Baptist Church

In practice Westwood has these definitions: 

Complementarianism – the belief that men and women have different roles which are interdependent and complete each other in the responsibilities of marriage, family, and religious life. 

Pastor – an elder qualified man who is a part of the paid staff at Westwood serving in an Elder/Overseer role. Typically, the title of “Pastor” is given to an Elder who is on the paid staff.

Elder – an elder qualified man who is voluntarily serving at Westwood on the Elder council.  1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4. 

  1. Westwood makes no differentiation between the office of Elder and the office of Pastor. These offices are one and the same.
  2. Westwood holds to the belief that there are specific qualifications listed in Scripture for the office of Elder/Pastor.
  3. Westwood holds to the belief that in those qualifications for Elder/Pastor, God has specifically called men to lead in the role of Elder/Pastor in overseeing the local Church.
  4. Westwood holds to the practice of only calling Biblically qualified men to serve in the office of Elder/Pastor. 
  5. At Westwood the sitting Elder council is responsible for the vetting and presenting of Elders/Pastors to serve at Westwood. It is the practice at Westwood that members in good standing at Westwood participate in the confirmation and election of Elders/Pastors in accordance with the By-Laws of the church.
  6. All roles / positions which are not a direct hire by the Elder council will be subject to a case by case review by the Lead Teaching Elder/Pastor to determine if the male or female candidate is qualified for the position/role to be filled. 
  7. Westwood Elders and/Pastors will practice leadership through the plurality of Elders/Pastors.
  8. These guidelines of practice will remain in effect until the sitting Elder council chooses to update, modify, or withdraw them.