Since our inception, the Mennonite Brethren have sought to fulfill the mission in which God has led us (John 17:17–19; 20:21–23).
We believe our Lord is creating a people of His own choosing, to accomplish His mission in the world (2 Peter 2:9–10, 2 Corinthians 5:17). He has invited us to work with Him in this most urgent mission (2 Corinthians 5:18–21; 1 Peter 4:7–11). We are committed to becoming increasingly effective missional people. By the Holy Spirit’s gifting and empowerment, (1 Corinthians 12:1–11; Acts 1:8; 2:1–47), we invite people everywhere to become followers of Christ (Matthew 28:19).
We believe that the Holy Spirit grants gifts to all believers irrespective of gender for diverse ministries both in the church and in the world (2 Corinthians 3:4–6). Both men and women minister God’s grace (Galatians 3:28; Romans 16:1–20; Philippians 4:1–3).
We believe that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16–17), including those passages historically interpreted to imply a restriction to women’s participation in the life, ministry and mission of the church for all time (1 Corinthians 11:2–16, 1 Corinthians 14:26–35, 1 Timothy 2:1–15).
We understand the role of these restrictive texts in the context of removing barriers to furthering God’s mission in the world. Some New Testament churches in Corinth and Ephesus had their missional effectiveness threatened by false doctrine (Acts 20:29–30), inappropriate behaviour (1 Timothy 2:1–15; 2 Timothy 3:6–7), a lack of order in public worship (1 Corinthians 14:22–35) and a lack of mutual submission and respect in marriage, the home, and the church (Ephesians 5:21–6:9). These issues remain a concern today. Whereas Paul addressed those people and issues that seriously hindered the advance of the gospel, we too share his sincere desire for an unhindered proclamation of the gospel (Galatians 1:6–9; Ephesians 3:1–12).
It is Christ Himself who provides the gifts of leadership to the church (Ephesians 4:11–16). Therefore, we recommend that our churches receive all our Lord’s gifts and be free to discern men and women for leadership roles to which the congregation calls them and to which they are called, gifted and affirmed, including the position of lead pastor. Our desire is to empower all our members, thus moving forward the mission of God to proclaim to the world “the boundless riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21).