In my work as the national CBF’s reference and referral coordinator, I have been pleased (and a tad surprised) to have received requests from three churches in one week who at least say they are open to considering women in their search for a new pastor. This may not sound like big news to many – but it is a pretty rare occurrence. I get such things occasionally – but not three in the course of one week.
It makes me wonder: Is this a new trend? Or, is it simply a fluke? I hope it indicates a growing willingness of CBF churches to be open to the possibility that God could be calling a gifted, dedicated woman to be their next pastor.
One of the hurdles here is the fact that churches often want some number of years of experience as a senior pastor in the candidates whom they are willing to consider – be they male or female. This begs the question: How does a would-be pastor get experience if churches aren’t willing to even consider them? (And, of course, there are churches of such size and complexity that they require a pastor with some experience. However, there are smaller churches with no other staff or very small staffs who also want an experienced, seminary-educated pastor – regardless of what they are able to do in the way of compensation. ) This is doubly true for many female candidates who have no experience because no church has been willing to call them.
I am thankful for those churches who see their own calling as being a safe place to nurture young pastors as they (both pastor and congregation) live and grow and minister together. I am especially grateful for those churches who are willing to recognize the giftedness of God-called women.