There has been much controversy in modern times about women's roles in the church. What does the Bible say about elders, pastors, preachers and ministry?
"Ministry" is used to mean different things by different groups. Let's first address the type of ministry that includes serving as pastors or elders.
The Gospels show that Jesus selected only men to serve as His first apostles. Early Church history (the book of Acts) shows that the Church continued selecting only men to serve as elders and pastors. Therefore, we conclude that a woman's role in the Church, although unique and valuable, does not include ordination to this type of ministry or preaching during church services (1 Timothy:2:11-12).
However, women served as teachers, with the older women training the younger ones (Titus:2:3-5). Some organizations today call this type of service "women's ministry." The United Church of God does not, lest anyone misconstrue that we are ordaining women as elders or pastors.
Women members of the Church of God have long served in many responsibilities, from providing musical accompaniment at church services, special music and directing children's choirs to teaching Sabbath schools, welcoming guests, organizing potlucks and church socials—and much more.
Also, the United Church of God ordains qualified women to the office of deaconess, as the early New Testament Church of God did. These women assist pastors in caring for the local congregations, often in meeting the unique needs of the women members.
For more information, please read our booklet The Church Jesus Built .