Bible Question:

Are women allowed to be on a church board that has voting privileges to determine budget and accounting practices?

Bible Answer:

A previous study entitled, “Role of Women In The Church ” will provide some important background information for the answer of your question. I would encourage you to read it.

Church Board

Philippians 1:1 is a great verse in the New Testament. It informs us that there should be three groups of people in every church.

Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons . . . (NASB) 1 Tim. 3:1

The first group of people are the saints or Christians in the church. The second and third groups are the church leaders. The deacons are to support the elders and the elders have the responsibility to lead the congregation.

Acts 6:1-7 sets the example for the selection of deacons. A complaint came to the apostles from the Hellenistic Jews when the needs of their widows were not being met. The apostles responded by saying this,

And the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.” (NASB) Acts 6:2

The apostles simply said that their ministry was not about doing the “work of deacons.” The Greek word for “serve” is where we get the word “deacon.” Attention to administration details is deacon’s work.

Elders have the responsibility of teaching, shepherding, and leading the congregation. In 1 Peter 5 the apostle Peter says,

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. (NASB) 1 Pet. 5:1-3

And in 1 Timothy 5:17 we read that elders are responsible for teaching the congregation.

Let the elders who take the lead well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those laboring in word and teaching. (GLT) 1 Tim. 5:17

If we put the puzzle together we have elders leading, teaching, and shepherding the church, and male deacons and female deacons (deaconesses) supporting the elders.

Women’s Role

Women can serve in the church in many different ways, but they cannot serve as elders. The role of an elder is one of great reasonability, and God has reserved that for males. How do we know this? The answer is found in the list of qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. But the key verse is as follows:

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach . . . (NASB) 1 Tim. 3:2

The word “overseer” refers to the function of an elder. Notice that the elder is to be “husband of one wife.” The actual Greek words are “one woman male.” This means the elder must be a male. Woman cannot be elders.


The first and second sections tell us that the elders who lead, teach, and shepherd the church are to be males. Both men and women can serve as deacons. Their role is defined by the elders. This implies that a woman can serve on any church board that is not the Board of Elders. Any sub-board is okay, but that board can never have “the ultimate authority” since the elders are the ones ultimately responsibility for the church. They are responsible to the real Leader – Jesus Christ.