In Acts 8:4, Luke says the Jerusalem Christians scattered due to Paul's bitter persecution, and they all proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ. We presume this included female believers, since the Jerusalem church was obviously co-ed!
Anyone can proclaim Jesus in this way. Young children can proclaim this way. People whose natural talents or skills wouldn't qualify them for elderhood otherwise can tell the Good News this way. But it doesn't make you an elder.
Spiritual conversations don't make someone an elder.
The married couple Aquila and Priscilla met the eloquent preacher Apollos, and together they helped him understand the story of Christ more fully (Acts 18:26). (Notice that doing this didn't make Aquila an elder, either.) Clarifying the Gospel story, or any part of the Bible for that matter, doesn't involve authority, as Dr. Rebecca Groothius incorrectly claimed in her book Good News For Woman (Grand Rapids, 1997).
A Christian simply discussing the Bible doesn't give that person authority over the discussion partner, or mean that the person doing the clarifying has church authority. Elder authority includes examination and ordination by a local church or group of churches, through the laying-on of hands.
Civic authority doesn't make someone an elder.
Deborah was a judge...literally (Judges 4:4-5). The Jewish community at large came to her for decisions. The fact that she was also a prophetess implies Pretty clearly that god supported her service in this way. However, those who cite Deborah as justification for female elderhood seem to neglect the fact that Israel already had a God-ordained clergy managing the tabernacle.
God had decreed through Moses that these must all be men. Deborah was not part of the ecclesiastical system. She was neither a priest nor a Levite; nor, by God's law, could she be. This in turns implies that prophets and prophetesses operated outside or alongside the normal ecclesiastical channels. Some priests were also prophets, like Samuel. But many were not, such as Elijah.
Prophecy is not being an elder.
Prophecy was a direct, miraculous, spontaneous revelation from God, which was then uttered or written to encourage or exhort. Preaching and teaching are not spontaneous, miraculous, irresistible, or inerrant.
A prophetess wasn't a pastor, she was a prophetess. In other words, being a prophet or prophetess was its own distinct thing. Prophets were bound by other rules (see 1st Corinthians 14). Being an elder means you teach Christian men and exercise leadership authority over a church. Being a prophetess didn't make you an elder.
Paul said that deacons and elders are required to be men.
I recently had read to me a twisting of 1st Timothy 3, in which the woman writer deliberately distorted Paul's directives about elders, in the name of her feminism. She twisted the phrase, "husband of one wife" into the gender-neutral "faithful spouse".
That is not what the Greek text says! This is false teaching, and typical of the liberal commitment to progressive ideology over faithfulness to Scripture.
1st Tim. 2:11-12 was not a response to a local situation.
1st Timothy was written by Paul to Timothy, who oversaw the church in Ephesus. But there is no no evidence in the paragraph surrounding 2:11-14, or in chapter two more generally, that his instruction was only to a local, limited issue.
Paul based his "men only" rule on two unchanging historical facts: the order of creation, and the order of the fall. It's consistent with the Bible's historic pattern of male leadership. The claim that Paul only intended a time-limited or locality-limited restriction is an excuse for circumventing the rule.
What's worse, though, is if we can dismiss Paul's rule in 1st Timothy 2:11-12 on the basis of "limited local circumstances or culture" -- which are not in the passage -- then we can use the same excuse to dismiss every moral rule in the Bible. Moral breakdown occurs. It is no accident that most of the churches that champion women preachers are liberal in other ways.
Christian women have almost unlimited opportunities to share the Gospel, many opportunities to share the Scripture generally, and can use the Lord's spontaneous gift of prophecy if they have it, and as the Holy Spirit may fill them to do. But these blessings don't justify making them preachers, or church elders.