The Decision to Call Queens Herald Church’s Female Ministry Leaders Who have Passed the Ordination and Consecration Process “Reverend” & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does ordination and consecration mean?

Both involve the Biblical idea of “being set apart” and the “laying on of hands.” To be ordained or consecrated, it involves a long and arduous process learning the theology, polity, and confirmation of one’s calling. In our church’s denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, men are ordained and women are consecrated.

What is the ordination and consecration process?

  1. The ordination and consecration process is designed for ministry leaders to continue to grow spiritually, develop skillfully, and to confirm and affirm their calling into full time ministry. In the Christian and Missionary Alliance, men are ordained, and women are consecrated.
  2. At the 2023 General Council (where all Alliance licensed delegates are invited to attend for worship as well as voting on denominational matters), a vote was held to decide whether to call female Alliance workers who have gone through the ordination and consecration process “reverend.”  It exceeded the required 2/3 votes to pass.  The vote determined that the denomination and the local district will recognize and call the ordained and consecrated female worker reverend.  However, the decision to call them reverend within the local church is left to the leaders of the local church.    
  3. Both processes have the same requirements. The requirements for completion are extensive—learning and understanding of the Alliance’s doctrine, history and polity, the mission of God, organizational dynamics, the building blocks of the local church, and serving at least 2 years in ministry within an Alliance church (except for the wife of a missionary). Becoming accredited (a less intensive process like ordination and consecration) and licensed (which is achieved after serving at least 2 years in a local Alliance church) are prerequisites of becoming ordained or consecrated. As you can imagine, the process is long and arduous. It’s not for everyone, though it’s well worth it for those who’ve been called to be ordained and/or consecrated.

What is the issue?

Prior to our denomination’s General Council (all licensed Alliance delegates are invited to gather every 2 years) this year in Spokane, WA, the Alliance’s stance on ordination and consecration has been ordination for male ministry leaders and consecration for female ministry leaders—and only ordained male ministry leaders were called “reverend.” The doctrinal debate involved the complementarian view (Only male ministry leaders can be ordained and called “reverend.” No female can have authority over men within the church) and the egalitarian view (Women can be ordained/consecrated, be called “reverend,” and have authority over men within the church). For the sake of this communication, we offer these regretfully (over) simplified explanations. The invitation for further conversation with us is wide open though. We want to add, however, that when exploring both views, it’s important to approach it with the following in mind.

  1. Unity is of utmost importance. Ephesians 4 tells us to be humble, gentle, patient, bearing one another in love, and to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. We cannot compromise unity.
  2. Both views have Biblical references. Study both view with openness to the Holy Spirit’s leading, eagerness and willingness to understand each view, and not to refute them. Remember that God is the only one who can change our hearts.
  3. Though the subject matter is important, it is not a matter of salvation. This is not a “make it or break it” matter of faith. How we approach our conversations, however, can strengthen or weaken our faith and unity.
  4. QHC’s leaders are very willing to help our brothers and sisters understand these views.

At this year’s General Council, delegates voted to merge the ordination and consecration tracks so that both male and female official workers who successfully complete the process outlined in the Manual are now “Consecrated and Ordained,” receiving the designation “reverend.” The use of the designation “reverend” for both men and women is left up to the local church, as is the use of the title “pastor” by a female official worker (see The Christian and Missionary Alliance’s Position on Women in Ministry and the Decision on Ordination and Consecration” below for further explanation).

This involved an incredible amount of prayer and time for conversation to make sure all our delegates felt heard. It’s not hard to imagine how difficult this was. Not everyone agreed with the decision. However, when the time came, more than 2/3 of the delegates who attended this year’s General Council (the number of votes necessary to pass this matter) voted “yes” to the merge.

In short, our denomination will designate the title “reverend” to all female ministry leaders who have completed the ordination and consecration process. The decision to call them “reverend” or not, however, is up to the local church.

What is the complementarian view?

The first tenet of complementarianism is that men and women are equal in personhood.  There is no difference in worth.  Rather, proponents of complementarianism believe that men and women have separate, though equal roles in marriage, family life, the church, and elsewhere.

The word “complementarianism” derives from the word “complement.”  The idea is that men and women complement each other for a more beautiful whole. This view hold that masculinity and femininity were created by God as meaningful distinctions indicating different roles that, when embraced, will lead to the best possible spiritual wellbeing for believers. In accordance with the meaningful distinctions in roles, this view believes that only men should hold church leadership positions over other men.  Usually, women may hold positions that do not place them in authority over men (therefore, they cannot preach, teach, lead, etc. men).  They have a patriarchal view of the family, with the father as the head. 

What is the egalitarian view?

Egalitarianism is defined as “a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs” or “a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people” (Merriam-Webster).

In Christianity, egalitarians agree with complementarians that men and women are equal in worth.  However, egalitarianism goes further to state that men and women are considered equal in role capabilities as well.  There are no gender restrictions on what roles men and women can fulfill in the church, home, and society. 

Egalitarianism holds to view that the teachings and attitudes of Jesus and the New Testament abolished gender-specific roles as well as roles related to class and race.  Men and women can both hold church leadership positions.  Spouses are equally responsible for the family.  Marriage is a partnership of two equals submitting to one another.  Roles should be ability-based as opposed to it being gender-based.

What are the differences between the titles “pastor” and “reverend”?

The title “pastor” is often given by the church to those who they have chosen to have authority to lead.  This title is usually given to those who have completed or are in the process of completing some theological education (Bible college or Seminary) or training (such as the SOM—”School of Ministry,” which is a less intensive training for lay leaders). 

All reverends are usually pastors.  All pastors aren’t always reverends. The title “reverend” is given to those who have not only completed or are in the process of completing their theological education/training, but those who have completed their ordination and consecration process (see above for explanation). 

What difference does it make to be called “reverend”?

Before God, a title is just a title. No one is holier than anyone else because of the title “reverend.” Our identity and worth do not change.  However, the title does make a difference for male and female clergy who have gone through and passed the ordination and consecration process as they live in this world

  1. The title “reverend” is often more recognized and acknowledged than the title “pastor” in hospitals, police stations, courts, etc. especially for female clergy.
  2. The title “reverend” (because it affirms the intensive works done to understand and embrace our denomination’s doctrines and polity) officially allows people to perform the ordinances of the church—communion, baptisms, etc.
  3. Receiving the title “reverend” usually means a raise in pay.

What complicates this title are not just doctrinal issues, but the way that it is translated and practically recognized, acknowledged, and used in different ethnic/cultural contexts.  This is the challenge that the local church is addressing.

Why is this important to me/us?

This decision involves our leaders that we choose to submit to and the church that we have decided to call our home.  Ultimately, however, the impact is a lot more personal than we realize.  This decision involves people we love, honor, respect, and TRUST.  That level of relationship deserves our attention. This challenges us to reflect and wrestle with what we have embraced as our worldview, including our faith and truths through the framework of the Kingdom of God.  It is especially personal if we happen to be female and aspiring to go into full time ministry or are parents of a daughter who may feel called to do so as well.

Your Partnership Matters

We want to hear your thoughts and concerns because you matter greatly to us. Please direct all inquiries as well as your thoughts and concerns to us until 8/8/2023 here:

Please continue to lift us up in prayer for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and unity. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Additional Resources