Women in Ministry
Since the time of Christ, women have played pivotal roles in the growth, ministry, and vitality of the church. Incarnated into the Hellenistic culture which marginalized women’s presence and contribution, Jesus consistently included and valued women as capable equals. As the church flourished, many women not only lived out the Christian life, but some, such as Perpetua, even demonstrated their allegiance to Christ through courageous martyrdoms.
Women and men are ontologically equal in the eyes of God. In the salvific work of Christ, gender, economic, and racial divides have been superseded (Galatians 3:26-29). We are equals, as fellow heirs in Jesus Christ. This equality is bolstered through the Holy Spirit’s liberal and impartial distribution of spiritual gifts to His children. The Scriptures never speak of withholding certain gifts from any particular group. In fact, Paul teaches the Corinthian “brothers and sisters” that God gives His gifts as He determines (1 Corinthians 12:1, 11). No further distinction is made regarding their allotment.
While Scripture maintains that women and men are equal in nature and gifting, the Bible does delineate particular roles for each gender, especially concerning the church. God has ordained the church’s primary leadership to reside with male elders who meet the qualifications prescribed by Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-7). Pastors must have the same qualifications in every respect.
God has set apart women for essential roles in church life. Women are to serve as deaconesses, directors of church ministries, and teachers of women and children. They may also serve in other capacities as directed by the elders (1 Timothy 2:9-15; Romans 16:1-5; 1 Corinthians 11:1-3). To sum up, God created the church in such a way that it could not function without the contribution of women and men through their biblically prescribed roles.