As a background, please read our articles on women pastors and women in ministry. If the conclusion that women should not teach, exercise spiritual authority over, or shepherd men in the church is biblically correct, and we believe it is, the question then arises: at what age is a male considered a man?
Can women serve as youth group leaders? Can women teach a Bible study or Sunday School class that includes male high school students? What if the class is being co-led by a man and a woman? These are all questions for which the Bible does not give an explicit answer.
The Bible does not directly address either the question of a woman teaching teen boys or of when a boy becomes a man. In the Old Testament, 20 years old was considered old enough to serve in the military and to be counted in the census (Numbers 1:3)—so, young men of 20 years were considered adults. In the Mishnah, the age of moral and religious responsibility was set at 13. But nowhere does the Bible specifically identify 20 or 18 or 13 or any other age as the age at which a boy becomes a man.
The Bible is clear that the formal position of “teacher” in a church must be occupied by a male if adult males are among the students. The Bible is less clear about when a boy becomes a man. Generally speaking, most churches that hold to complementarianism have male teachers in classes for junior high and high school if boys are in those classes. This seems to be a good policy to follow, as it avoids any possible violation of the Bible’s command concerning women shepherding men in the church. However, this does not preclude women from discipling, encouraging, rebuking, and providing guidance to young men. “Follow me as I follow Christ” is something every Christian is to emulate (1 Corinthians 11:1).