The concept of "fivefold ministry" comes from Ephesians 4:11-13:

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ [ESV]

Are there any denominations that believe that the totality of the fivefold ministry is available to women? In other words, are there any denominations that believe that the existence of female pastors, female teachers, female evangelists, female prophets and female apostles is entirely within the realm of possibility in modern times?

Note: for reasons for not conflating spiritual gifts and church offices (some make this distinction), see What is the biblical basis for distinguishing between spiritual gifts and church offices?

Related: What is an overview of guidelines for women to have their divine callings to leadership positions in the Church acknowledged by their congregations?

  • There are plenty of denominations that believe every ministry available to men is also available to women. Would they count? Apr 29, 2022 at 13:15
  • @DJClayworth - sure, as long as they believe that the fivefold ministry is available to men (e.g. a denomination that believes that only pastors, teachers and evangelists are for today would not count).
    – user50422
    Apr 29, 2022 at 13:17
  • 1
    @SpiritRealmInvestigator Beyond the use of different words, that are talked about in different passages? Shouldn't the burden of proof be on those who want to equate them or somehow make them contingent on one another?
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 29, 2022 at 13:25
  • 1
    Yes, as I said. Distinct from the offices of the church.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 29, 2022 at 13:28
  • 1
    @curiousdannii - regarding the burden of proof, it should always be on whoever claims that something is true. The default position should always be agnosticism (aka the "I don't know" position).
    – user50422
    Apr 29, 2022 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


In the Independent evangelical Church, women can take the stage to teach and preach. Women can also prophesy, be apostles, and evangelise. In the Anglican church, women can also take to the pulpit and teach and preach. I cannot speak of other denominations.

But what does the Bible say about the fivefold ministry?

let us look to the scriptures to see if women were apostles. We find that the answer is yes in Romans 16:7.

Romans 16:7 New International Version

7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among[a] the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

Does the Bible mention female prophets? Yes:

  1. Anna in Luke 2:36-38
  2. Acts 21: 8-9

Luke 2:36-38 New International Version

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[a] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Acts 21:8-9 New International Version

8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

Were woman called by Jesus to be evangelists? Yes.

John 20:17 New International Version

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Are women allowed to be pastors according to the scriptures? No.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 ESV

The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

1 Timothy 2:12 ESV

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

Following on from Romans, we read in Ephesians 4:11-13:

Ephesians 4:11-13 New International Version

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Got questions

The concept of the five-fold ministry comes from Ephesians 4:11, "It was he who gave some to be (1) apostles, some to be (2) prophets, some to be (3) evangelists, and some to be (4) pastors and (5) teachers."

So, if we remove religion and denominations (respectfully), and simply guide ourselves from the approved scriptures that form the foundation of all Christian denominations, then we see that women do have roles within the fivefold ministry. But that they are limited to being apostles, prophets, and evangelists. And that in Church they are to remain silent. With only men being allowed to teach.

Finally, according to the scriptures only, men are able to fulfil all five ministries. But women can only fulfil the first three. That said, the first three ministraties of being apostles, prophets, and evangelists are vitally important to God's plan and the growth of God's people.

  • 1
    In the Independent evangelical Church, women can take the stage to teach and preach. Women can also prophesy, be apostles, and evangelise. In the Anglican church, women can also take to the pulpit and teach and preach. I cannot speak of other denominations. - Some references to official sources in support of these statements would be appreciated.
    – user50422
    May 1, 2022 at 18:37
  • Here is your source of statistics that shows denomination, total number of ministers, number of female ministers, and % of female ministers: eauk.org/church/research-and-statistics/women-in-ministry.cfm.
    – user52134
    May 2, 2022 at 10:15
  • Technically, those verses only ban women from teaching adult men. Women teaching children and other women is fine.
    – nick012000
    Jun 18 at 3:04

You must log in to answer this question.