Can Women Lead in Ministry?
Scriptures & Highlights
The Question: Can women be as pastors or ministers?
Interesting Fact: According to Barna Group Research about 9% of Senior Pastors in the USA are women, despite the fact that the amount of women in churches far outweigh men. Note also, that the majority of the 9% lead nominal mainline churches such as United Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran Church, AME,etc.
Some churches prevent women from exercising their gifts and lead in ministry based on the following two scriptures:
I Corinthians 14:34 - 35 Let your women keep silence in the churches:
I Timothy 2:11-12 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
However, in our understanding of the topic we must allow all of scripture, and its general teachings to inform our interpretation and doctrine.
Evidence from the Old Testament
Miriam - First, there is Miriam, who was a prophetess (Exodus 15:20). She is also named as one of the top three leaders in Israel in Micah 6:4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Miriam was counted as one of the spiritual leaders of the called out people of Israel.
Deborah - Deborah was also a spiritual leader in Israel, and governed the people. She served Israel in the office of a prophet. (Judges 4)
Huldah - Huldah was a prophetess in Judah in the time of King Josiah. She was a notable prophetess since Hilkiah the priest, and the appointed officials of the king went to her on behalf of king Josiah to inquire of the Lord (2 Kings 22:14).
II. Biblical Progression
Over time, God has increased the number of people upon which he pours out his Spirit and use for ministry. Numbers 11:29 “Would God that all Lord’s people were prophets”.
III. New Testament Examples
Junia in Romans 16:7 is mentioned as notable among the apostles.
Philip’s Daughters - Acts 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
Anna the Prophetess (Luke 2:38)- Anna was a prophetess and spent all her time in the temple. She was known as a prophet according to the scripture. Therefore, her prophecies took place within the temple.
Priscilla the Pastor-Teacher - Acts 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. Paul called her a co-worker in Romans 16:3; I Corinthians 16:19 - she led a church in her home and was known among other churches.
IV. General Scripture
Joel 2:28 … I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy...
In I Corinthians 12:7, the scripture states, Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one of us. There are no gender restrictions given as to who would receive the manifestation of the Spirit.
Since women are given the gift of prophecy by the Spirit, by the same outpouring the other gifts are given for women.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Ephesians 4;7)
The Bible teaches the following concerning all believers, male and female:
Desire spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 14:1). Remember the gifts listed by Paul In I Corinthians 12 includes gifts that would involve leading and or publicly speaking in a church setting such as an apostle, prophet, and teacher.
Excel in gifts that edify the church (I Corinthians 14:12). This would mean that women that desire to follow this scripture would be ministering and speaking in the church.
The scripture speaks of all prophesying in the church (I Corinthians 14:24). Again this would include women prophesying in the church.
Everyone should come to church services ready to utilize their spiritual gift, and minister to each other (I Corinthians 14:26).
We must minister according to the gifts given to us. This includes prophecy, teaching, leading, among others. There are no gender restrictions given (Roman 12:5-8).
We should all faithfully use whatever gifts have been given to us. Again no gender restrictions are given.