Better Together: how Gosford Presbyterian fosters a truly complementarian model of ministry

by Anna Moss

Hopefully most of us want to see men and women serving together in gospel ministry. But how we actually do this isn’t always so easy to work out. Sometimes, in the busyness of church life; in the myriad of programs we are running and meetings we are leading we can forget that not everybody’s voices get heard.

Gosford Presbyterian offers a helpful model of leadership that provides space for men and women to be heard and involved in decision making processes together. At Gosford, all ministry team leaders are able to attend Elders meetings. The leaders are invited to every second Session so the Elders can hear directly what the leaders are doing, can ask questions, provide feedback and review how ministry initiatives are going.

Kirsty, who oversees the church’s preschool ministry shared how previously she felt she had no one to go to if she had a problem in her ministry work but now feels part of a team. The women reflected that their male leaders had always invited them to speak up about any problems, but they’d felt hesitant because they didn’t want to be a bother and knew the ministers were busy.

The giving of intentional space and time for sharing and feedback has been a key step in bringing change. This team approach has strengthened a sense of unity and is evidenced in the level of involvement and partnership the female leaders experience in their ministry work.

James Snare is the Assistant Minister at Gosford and also convenes the Federal Women’s Committee for the PCA. He shared the rationale for the leadership model at his church; “We needed a deliberate, intentional way to create a space for various leaders. We want to actively know what the experience of our women is. Although our church has had a long history of women serving, we found as our church grew in number some of the women who were leading ministries felt unheard, unappreciated and not a part of things. Sometimes they felt left out of important decisions. We realised that unless we were deliberate about inviting women into those spaces that have traditionally been more male dominated, women wouldn’t be present to be a part of those decisions. The end in itself is not just to promote women- it’s about promoting gospel ministry which is about men and women serving together.  It’s not enough for me as a minister to just be a ‘good guy’ and to be nice to
women. I need to proactively seek to encourage and equip women for ministry and to recognise that women are different from me.”

It’s refreshing to see the creative ways that church leadership can foster strong and healthy models of complementarian leadership. When men and women work together well, the flow on effects are immense. I’m excited to see how God will continue to use the faithful and thoughtful ministry which lays at the heart of Gosford Presbyterian.