Ministry of Women and Credentialing

Greg Strand – July 28, 2015 6 Comments

What is the EFCA’s position on women in ministry and credentialing?

The brief answer to the question is that the EFCA does not ordain women, which is a Conference decision (1988) based on our understanding of the biblical text (cf. Gen. 3; 1 Cor. 11:3-16; 14:33b-36; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:11-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). This is stated explicitly in our “Ministerial Credentialing in the Evangelical Free Church of America” booklet under the Certificate of Ordination (p. 5, V.C.): “This credential is designed for qualified males who serve in pastoral ministry in the local church  whose primary ministry responsibility is preaching and teaching the Word.”

Women can and do, however, serve in vocational ministry, and the EFCA recognizes and celebrates this by offering a Certificate of Christian Ministry (cf. “Ministerial Credentialing in the Evangelical Free Church of America,” p. 4, V.B) to those engaged in vocational ministry. (This Certificate is not just for women but also available for men who are in a qualifying ministry and are not ordained.) These are the only official statements regarding women in ministry made by the Conference of the EFCA.

Regarding the question about women in leadership in the local church, it is not the norm to have a woman serve as an elder in a local EFC church, as most churches in the EFCA recognize that the biblical qualifications for the pastor (serving vocationally in this capacity) are the same qualifications for all the other elders as well (serving in a non-vocational capacity).  Thus, our official EFCA policy for those ordained also becomes the policy of many/most EFC churches, even though these is no official EFCA policy for local churches. However, it must also be stated that because of our congregational form of church government, the local church is free to make its own decision on this matter.

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

6 responses to Ministry of Women and Credentialing

  1. One day when you stand before Christ, He will say “I gave you 10 talents and you only invested five.” In Christ, there is no male or female. One day this issue will be seen as being as clear as race as a qualification for leadership once was.

  2. Who do you mean by “you”?

  3. EFCA’s exegesis on women in ministry lacks depth and faulty thinking. Paul had many women in leadership and names them. The fall placed women in a subordinate role not God. It took me years to find a church that would accept I have been called by God and I wish all churches would see the benefit of Godly men and WOMEN well trained in Christian studies and called by God to share the Gospel, lead men and women to disciple others and preach, teach and edify others makes for a beautiful, healthy and whole Bride of Christ.

    • Amber A Buysman April 6, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      Can you point me in the directuon of this information in the bible?

      • Thank you for reading and commenting, Amber. There were numerous biblical texts included in this brief post. Much more could and should be said, but one is limited in this format. But the scriptural texts included would be the place to begin.

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