What does the Bible say about women ministers (pastors or preachers)?

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 .


Dhaaruni's picture

This has been a subject that caught my attention for a while now. I believe in Paul's instruction on church worship and believe this to be the what pleases God.
This has raised much debate in my family. For instance, one member believes that since we are saved through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we are living under grace and that it doesn't matter who you are. However, like you have mentioned, and with reference to Galatians 3:28, indeed we are all saved the same way - by grace. But this verse is talking about salvation and not about church structure and leadership.

Another argument that has come up is that if the Holy Spirit leads you, you must act on it. I say that the Holy Spirit will not lead you to do something that is contrary to the written word of God. And then they argue that God can change His mind and can choose whomever He pleases. However if you read Luke 21:33, 1Peter 1:24-25 and John 14:15-27, it is clear that God's word is forever and never changing.
Scripture is the believer's rule and the Holy Spirit is his guide (read John 16:13).

I believe that the enemy uses women in the church because he knows that it displeases the Lord and that it disrupts church service. I have witnessed this on numerous occassions when women throw up their hands and start screaming while the Pastor waits to proceed witht he service. We need to remember that our Father is a God of peace and not disorder - 1 Corinthians 14:35.

Further, we must attentive and on guard for the work of enemy as Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 4 where he states that "a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away form the truth and turn aside to myths." Also remember what James says in James 1:21-24 about hearing the word of God and doing what it says. He likens this to someone who looks in the mirror and when he goes away, immediately forgets what he looks like.

We need to remember that if God were to speak today, His words will be in full agreement with what He has said in His written word - The Holy Bible.


KARS's picture

Hi Mr.Dhaaruni,
I sometimes would be confronted by women about this very thing.

I told them; at the Passover meal with our Savior; there were no women present sitting at the table. He chose men,therefore, just as Adam was made first and was to lead, men are chosen to be the leaders in the ministry.

I consider we woman as the compassionate workers, filling in the gap of church community service; while the men do the spiritual teaching of the church as a whole.


Dhaaruni's picture


I am Mrs Dhaaruni Ankiah. Thank you so much for your feedback :)


KARS's picture

Your welcome Mrs. Ankiah. :o)

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