Pretend your congregation needs a new treasurer. There is a retired CPA in the congregation willing to serve and fully competent for the task. No one else is qualified or remotely interested. The retired CPA should get the position easily, right? Ah, no. Because your congregation is WELS and the position of treasurer is a member of the church council, and, unfortunately, the retired CPA is a woman. For those not familiar with WELS teaching on the roles of man and woman, no woman can have authority over any man. They extend this authority to voting both in the church and in secular elections (though this varies depending on who you talk to-it’s fun to watch the tap-dancing when this question is asked).
So, what to do in the case of the treasurer? You create a new position in the church! Well, of course! Problem solved. The retired CPA is now your Financial Secretary. She gets the privilege of doing all the work of the church treasurer without the title! The title of Treasurer goes to a man, who will do nothing related to the finances of the congregation but attend council meetings.
This is nothing new. For years, female WELS teachers of one-room schools were not principals of those schools because that would involve authority (Over whom? Good question. Some will say over the 8th-grade men-students, others will say over the fathers of the students, others just shrug when asked). Sure, they did all the work of the principal, but the title went to the pastor.
The same situation is now seen in WELS early childhood education centers. Many times the pastor is named the head of the ECE facility, even though he has nothing to do with it. It’s all about the titles. So, yes, as a woman in the WELS, you can do important work in the church; just don’t expect a title that describes what you are actually doing. Expect that to go to a male person who likely has nothing to do with what his title implies.