Let's Get Off the Fence About Female Pastors
Updated: May 13, 2021
There are a lot of dividing issues in churches: Organ or full band, Pastor led vs elder led, suit and tie or come as you are. But the latest issue is one that's actually been around for quite a while.
Should a woman be a pastor?
In typical Southern Baptist churches the answer is a HARD no. In some more progressive churches, they say absolutely. But which is correct? Which is the right answer to give?
The main argument comes from 1 Timothy where Paul is telling his young protege
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” - 1 Timothy 2:11-12
In those Southern Baptist churches I mentioned, this has been taken to mean that women should not be leaders of men in churches aka pastors. Women should not exercise spiritual authority over men in any way, which definitely includes teaching on a Sunday. This comes right from the text and gives a fairly clear biblical explanation for their views.
Some other churches object and say that this is really a 1st century issue that Paul was dealing with. Women can totally be pastors now because that issue doesn't apply to our context. They might also say that that verse only applies to husband and wife, not to spiritual organizations. Those are worth considering and you should do your own research on those thoughts.
I'm not going to tell you which to believe or which is right. I have my own convictions about which option is most biblically accurate but that's for another time. What I am going to tell you is that in a majority of the churches I've seen or attended who have issues with female pastors have female pastors, they just don't call them that.
They use words like "director" or "coordinator" or "leader" or some other term that really sidesteps the issue. The title they give means they are pastoring but the leadership doesn't want to give them the official title. It isn't like they are just telling stories in kids classrooms, they are running the entire ministry by themselves. They do the budgets, they work the volunteers, they're responsible for the kids. But they got the title of coordinator.
That is where I have a problem and where THE church is losing women. It's not in their views of gender specific roles because although I might disagree or agree with you theologically, it is at least a defensible position. It's something most people can understand. What the problem is, is that they claim to believe that God has ordained only men for leadership, but they put women in leadership without the title as a way of saying, "We believe the Bible but we still need someone to run this ministry."
Churches are losing the vast majority of women in culture because they are using them in church. Too many women have been leading in some area of ministry and want to take that next step of ordination or its equivalent but get the doors slammed in their face after years of faithful service AS A PASTOR.
If this is you or describes your church, you aren't really hung up on a woman pastoring, you're hung up on some title that means nothing apart from the task it accomplishes.
Pastor is not just a noun, it's verb. It means to do something. We pastor people. If you're going to have a woman pastoring, call her that. Do not dishonor her and disgrace yourself by doing some fancy title change to say you're still biblically sound but still reap the rewards of having them on staff.
I would challenge you, if this is your particular theological bent, to either raise up men to lead or just call women what they are: pastors.