What We Believe

On the role of women in ministry

Sobre el rol de las mujeres en el ministerio

Latest Update: 11-march-2021
Created by: Pastor Derek Berdugo
Reviewed by: The Board of Elders of El Olivo Church

Note: It is important to clarify that the following article discusses a topic where different theological perspectives on the matter exist. The goal of this article is to document our congregation’s biblical and theological foundation on this subject, so this material is in no way intended to be used to undermine the unity of the body of Christ, the Church.


First, we recognize that some will find our position on the role of women in ministry too conservative, while others will consider it progressive. We ask both of us to reflect the love and unity to which we were called, while as a Church we focus on the main thing, to be witnesses to the world of Love Jesus Christ (John 13:35 and John 21:17).

In addition, it is important to indicate that the complementary theological position has a multitude of interpretations and positions on the role of women in ministry. Despite the differences we may encounter with other congregations, we are committed to keep the unity of the Spirit.

his article seeks to describe what we believe the Bible teaches about complementarity when it comes to the role of women in ministry.

The Bible as absolute authority

Our affirmation of faith points out that

“Our faith rests on the absolute authority of the Holy Scriptures inspired by God which are our only source of Christian doctrine and life (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Ped. 1:21)”.

Our foundations of life and ministry must be built on this truth. Therefore, our knowledge about personality and mankind must accomplish what the Bible teaches according to god’s created order.

The Bible teaches that God created two complementary sexes of humans, male and female, made in His image (Gen. 1:27-28; Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6), where men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity, and worth and are complementary by divine design. Therefore, gender is not represented by a social construction, but represents a reality present in every human being from birth. Men and women are not interchangeable.

The first chapters of Genesis narrate how God, in His wisdom and providence, created two complementary sexes for our good and for His glory. In addition, God wants men and women to have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in the church and home. These role distinctions do not arise from cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity, but are an integral part of God’s plan for humanity. We must recognize these roles as God’s grace for men and women, protecting them, preserving them, and practicing them for His glory, our joy, and for the sake of mankind (Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Cor. 11:2-16; 14:33-35; Efe. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 1 Ped. 3:1-7).

Role and Participation of Women according to Scripture

First, we believe that all Christians are responsible for the Great Commission, therefore men and women should participate in the ministry of the Church. The Bible explicitly motivates and assumes that women will be involved in the ministry of the Church.

Some biblical examples are

  • Jesus welcomed women into His disciples, teaching them (Luke 10:39) and involving them in His ministry (Luke 8:1-3);
  • Paul describes in Titus 2:3-5 the biblical wisdom that older women acquire to teach younger women about love for their family;
  • Phoebe, diaconate and helper of the church of Cencrea, is praised by Paul and was probably a messenger of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, indicating her participation in the ministry of the gospel (Rom. 16:1-2);
  • Evodia and Síntique worked with Paul «hand to hand » in the spread of the gospel (Phil. 4:2-3);
  • Priscilla is described as “expounding/declaring” (ἐξέθεντο, exethento) more accurately God’s way to Apollos (Acts 18:26).

The Bible describes, in 1 Corinthians 12, a vision of men and women working together through the Church for the kingdom of God. When we do not empower both sexes to participate and use their gifts in complementary partnership, the Church’s mission to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all nations is impacted.

In addition, as men and women grow spiritually in the Church, one of the primary roles is for their relationships to grow in brotherly love as brothers and sisters. The Bible uses the metaphor of brotherhood to describe the relationships between men and women (1 Tim. 5:2). This teaches Christians to see each other as a family in a special sense. erefore, in the local church the relationship between men and women is like brothers and sisters, united in Christ, not subordinates. The Church must then cultivate an atmosphere of brotherly love marked by honor, care, and sacrifice for one another.

Sole responsibility of men

Although men and women are portrayed as equals throughout Scripture, we believe that the Bible reserves the office of pastor/bishop (ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos) or priest/elder (πρεσβύτερος, presbyteros) specifically for qualified men (1 Tim. 3:1-13). These men should:

  • Be fit to teach the Word (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:9),
  • Protect the church from false doctrine (Acts 20:17,28-31; Titus 1:9),
  • Pray for the sick and visit them (James 5:14; Beech. 20:35),
  • Equip the Saints for ministry (Eph. 4:11-12),
  • Use appropriate judgment in theological and doctrinal matters (Acts 15).

By pastoring, supervising, leading, caring, and praying for the local church, elders practice sacrificial male leadership according to Scripture. Therefore, it is important to motivate all men and women to actively serve in the congregation, but the position of elder and the exclusive responsibilities it entails are reserved for certain qualified men within the congregation. Excluding from the pastor/elder role, we believe that the Bible motivates and at the same time exhorts women to participate in the purposes, services, callings, and ministry offices of the Church.


Based on Scripture, it is valid to conclude the following about the complementary roles of men and women in ministry:

  • Men and women are created in the image of God, are entitled to privileges and are responsible for the commitments that come with reflecting our Creator. No gender has been given a right or greater dignity in society, the home, the Church, or the kingdom of God.
  • Both men and women are necessary for the ministry of the Church, putting at the service her various gifts for the good of the body.
  • The local church cannot flourish without fraternal relations of brotherhood between men and women.
  • The role or function of pastor/bishop or priest/elder is reserved for those qualified men. Elders are responsible for leading the congregation. The role of elder, which is denied to women, does not diminish their importance or purpose in the church..
  • Women can and should participate in the purposes, calls, and ministerial offices of the Church, except those reserved for qualified men.
  • All members of the congregation should be in joyful submission to the elders, and in turn all should be in joyful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as head of the Church.
  • When the complementary roles of men and women are properly practiced, the local church will be led to ministerial development.
  • We deny that all women should be subject to the authority of all men.
  • Biblical submission is not indicative of subordination or inequality, the biblical model of submission is of the Son to the Father (Phil. 2:1-11).
  • We strongly denounce any theological position of complementarianism that leads to subjugation, intimidation or abuse of any kind.
References Used
  • The Village Church. (2020). The Role of Women at The Village Church.
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