Usher: The 4th Office
From an anonymous sister in Christ:
Hi Ryan, I have a question for you. I know that the Bible teaches women cannot be pastors or elders, but what about ushers? I asked our head usher if I could be an usher, and I was told that I could not because it is a man’s job. When I pushed him to explain he said that there are blue jobs and pink jobs in the church, and that ushering is a blue job. What do you think?”
Hi thanks for your question.
Women should not be ushers in the Church. Here are a few reasons.
- Women should not be ushers, because usher is the 4th office and we believe that women should not hold office in the Church. I am sure it’s there somewhere in the New Testament that the 7 deacons in the New Testament were so overworked that they went to the elders and were like, “Hey guys! We are so busy serving, and handing out food that we need to appoint some men to stand at the doors and find seats for people…”
- Ushers need to be strong. Sometimes ushers need to carry chairs and set them up when additional visitors show up…chairs are heavy, and in 1 Peter 3 it says that women are weaker. Ushers need to have strong arms in case they need to carry a stack of chairs. Men usually have stronger arms.
- An old guy in Church once scolded me when I was an usher for not wearing a tie. Ushers should wear ties. Women should not, therefore women should not be ushers.
- In the old French the word Usher is Ussier, which literally means “Door Man.” Man. Not woman…
- Sometimes in a crowded church, it is hard to see the vacant seats. Men are usually taller than women and can spot these vacant seats easier.
- If women serve as ushers, they will start wanting to be ministers and we can’t have that.
- Ushering is the training ground for men to become elders and deacons, so we can’t waste a training spot…
I hope you appreciate satire. In all seriousness, the role of Usher is not an office within the church. The Canadian Reformed Churches recognize from Scripture that there are three distinct offices: ministers, elders, and deacons. We believe that it is these three offices which are restricted to men only. So that means that other functions within the church ought to be open to women. In our church, for example, women operate the nursery and serve on various committees and perform many other valuable functions.
It is true that traditionally, in our churches the ushers have been men. So I can see why the head usher at your church would say that ushering is a “blue job.” Only once can I recall a lady serving as an usher in one of the Canadian Reformed Churches I have visited, but that is not because of a Biblical mandate, it is really only because of tradition. There is nothing in our form of government, nor in our Church Order, nor in the Three Forms of Unity, nor in Scripture that would forbid women from serving as ushers.