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Choosing a female pastor


The question came up about ordaining a lady as a church pastor. Here are some guidelines and scriptures in response to this question about ordaining ladies as pastors.


A regular visitor to this web site wrote:

The pastor search committee has chosen a female pastor, and next week she will give her first service and the members will vote on her after the service.


The visitor then asked:

Is it against Gods law or will to ordain (as church pastors) females?


Below is the reply I sent


I am so thankful for the Gospel ministry of women. I have benefited greatly from hearing messages preached from women in Christian ministry.

Women played a major role in the early church. The church at Sychar in Samaria was started by a woman - see John 4:39-42. The first person commanded by the Lord to proclaim the fact of the resurrection was a woman - see John 20:16-18.

I can just imagine how thankful the men of Sychar must have been that the woman at the well came back to tell her testimony. The disciples also must have been very thankful for Mary Magdalene's obedience in delivering to them the message the Lord gave her after the resurrection.


One person who visited The Virtual Church exclaimed, "What about what it says scripturally about women preaching?"

To this I replied that the often quoted and so-called "scriptures about women preaching" are not actually about women preaching at all. When the Greek text is looked at (and the context of the scripture are acknowledged) they are seen to be about wives hushing up in church so the meeting/service can proceed without unnecessary disruption. See 1 Cor. 14:33-35.

It needs to be recognised that when it comes to the apostle Paul's writings about women and ministry in church it is difficult to make much of them because he moves between two points of view on the matter. For example, in 1 Timothy 2:12 he writes he doesn't allow them to teach but in Titus 2:1-4 he exhorts that they should be teaching. Ultimately, I think his word on women as Christians has to take precedence - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28.


Indeed, the Apostle Paul expressed his appreciation for the women who had laboured with him in the Gospel. (Phil.4:2-3.)

However, in regard to pastoring a church, my personal leaning is to think that the Lord intended men to be pastors rather than women. I say this because the expectation in scripture appears to be that this position will be held by a man. Nevertheless, I must also say that, I can clearly imagine the circumstance where this was not possible and a woman would be chosen.

[Please note here: I use the term pastor strictly to refer to the position in which a person has oversight of the church (1 Peter 5:2) and leads it.(Heb.13:17).]


The kind of scriptures I have in mind when I say "an expectation in scripture" are those such as we find in Paul's instruction and exhortation to Timothy regarding bishops and deacons. You can read this in 1 Timothy 3:1-13.

In reading Paul's instruction and exhortation in that passage you will see that he expected those responsibilities to be held by men. You might say to counter that, "This was in keeping with his times but not necessarily with ours!" Or you could say, "He was writing specifically about bishops and deacons, not pastors."

I will accept these possibilities but there is something more. In verse 5 he writes,

If a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?

1 Timothy 3:5 - NKJV


This says to me that experience and ability to rule one's own household are pre-requisites for taking on the position in which you are taking care of the household of God.

My conclusion then, on the basis of this, is that the Lord intends for a man to be the church pastor as he is the one designated to be ruling his own household and so have that experience and ability. See Ephesians 5:23 and 6:4,

For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

Eph.5:23 - NKJV


You, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Eph.6:4 - NKJV


You will have to pray and consider these things for yourself. Then make your own decision as it is appropriate to your local situation and the leading of the Holy Spirit in the light of these scriptures.

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