Discussing
Finding a place for single pastors

Kimberly Davis

Bethanykj
April 8, 2011

One thing that really troubled me in that article was the concern that single pastors couldn't effectively counsel married people. It seems absurd to claim a person can't minister to someone with different experience from them. If that was the case, any one minister would be unequipped to deal with large swaths of the population and their particular struggles. Shared experience helps, but should not be a requirement.

Kimberly Davis
April 8, 2011

That was troubling to me, as well, B. When I talked to Joe, he said he had no trepidation about counseling married couples. But I think that some couples wouldn't take counsel well from someone who wasn't married. It's a shame, but probably true.

Gina
April 8, 2011

Great piece!

Chelseac
April 8, 2011

Is it possible that churches are unsure of the protocol of an unmarried pastor dating? Would it be alright to date someone you minister to? Is that to similar to dating your counselor? What are the boundaries and guidelines? <br><br>I'm not discounting some churches my have an overall aversion to singleness, but the issue of dating came to mind immediately for me. Surely others would have the same concerns.

Theoldadamlives
April 9, 2011

I never had given much thought as to whether married or single is preferable.<br><br>I guess each case(person) has his/her own merits and drawbacks.

Cheryl
April 9, 2011

I think that people prefer females to be single and males to be married. Old-timey notions

LeoW
April 10, 2011

Seems to me that there are at least two ways of being single. There's "single but seeking a spouse" and "single as an expression of dedication of one's life to the Lord." St. Paul had positive things to say about the latter: it would seem that this positivity would spill over into one's attitude about pastors.

Kimberly Davis
April 11, 2011

Thank you, Gina!

Kimberly Davis
April 11, 2011

Chelseac, I think you are spot on in this comment. If you read the comments on the NYT piece, you will see that the same sentiment was expressed by many, with anecdotes about pastors counseling married couples and then having an affair with the wife, etc. Or single pastors dating through the single women in the church. I think the difficulty comes, though, when these issues aren't openly talked about. Is it OK to ask a pastoral candidate about his dating practices? Is it OK to say, hey, don't date within the congregation? I don't know. <br><br>My friend Joe (who I interviewed) also forwarded me a blog post from his friend, which I found enlightening...http://<a href="http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/03/26/thats-odd-on-bias-against-single-pastors/" rel="nofollow">thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/t...</a>

Kimberly Davis
April 11, 2011

I agree with you, LeoW. However, is there a negativity to the former? These binaries are troubling.

BP
April 13, 2011

It can depend on the situation. I've been in a church w/ a single pastor--and it was a sole pastorate, not part of a staff. It was somewhat isolated. This pastor really didn't have a sounding board or absolute confidant. With the demands of the pastorate being 24/7, this individual really had no person with which to share the burdens of job.<br>After 7 years, this pastor resigned from the position and is no longer clergy.

Chelseac
April 14, 2011

I loved that article. So well written and theologically sound. It really would be a shame to miss out on great leadership just because we were unsure of a social aspect!

Narriag
April 16, 2011

I guess that analyzing this and every issue in christian life, we should consider in first place what God says in the Bible about it. Somebody mentioned that Paul had positive things to say about singles, what is right, but when it comes to the requisits for being a pastor, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:1,2 1 "This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach". After that statement there is not much to say about the issue.

Allan White
May 1, 2011

Are you saying marriage is a requirement for that office? Because I understand that to say, "if one is<br>married, he must have only one wife". If the converse is true, do you not think the apostle would have written, "he must be married"?<br><br>Paul, a single man, also spoke as an elder.<br><br>Just searching for clarity here.

Tim Melton
May 18, 2011

I agree that at times being single is a hindrance to getting a job in <br>ministry, but what perspective should we have as single pastors. As we <br> examine ourselves and walk humbly with our God will He not open the <br>doors that He wants open and close the doors that He wants closed? If <br>God controls the hearts of kings (Prov. 21:1) does He not also control <br>the hearts of search committees and missions agencies. I agree somewhat with the article concerning Mark Almlie, but I am just not ready to trust my future and <br>my calling to the cultural and theological whims of man. Yes, we need <br>to prepare our resumes and go to interviews, but if God has called us, <br>and if we are walking with Him, then He will make a way where there <br>seems to be no way. Whether I am full-time, part-time, or volunteer, my<br> calling remains the same. As we love God and love neighbor I believe <br>God will make things right according to His will and not ours. He works<br> all things for the good. May we rest in Him, even when we are <br>searching for where God wants us to be.  There is a good blog for single ministers and single missionaries at <a href="http://singleandcalled.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow">http://singleandcalled.blogspo...</a>

Singleandcalled
October 5, 2011

Here is a recent blog that was posted at <a href="http://singleandcalled.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow">http://singleandcalled.blogspo...</a> It seems to speak to this same issue. It was posted by a pastor who had been single and in ministry for 20 years.<br><br>"I agree that at times being single is a hindrance to getting a job in <br>ministry, but what perspective should we have as single pastors. As we <br> examine ourselves and walk humbly with our God will He not open the <br>doors that He wants open and close the doors that He wants closed? If <br>God controls the hearts of kings (Prov. 21:1) does He not also control <br>the hearts of search committees and missions agencies. I agree with the <br> writer of the article, but I am just not ready to trust my future and <br>my calling to the present church culture and theological whims of man. Yes, we need <br>to prepare our resumes and go to interviews, but if God has called us, <br>and if we are walking with Him, then He will make a way where there <br>seems to be no way. Whether I am full-time, part-time, or volunteer, my<br> calling remains the same. As we love God and love neighbor I believe <br>God will make things right according to His will and not ours. He works<br> all things for the good. May we rest in Him, even when we are <br>searching for where God wants us next.<br>"

Bear118
October 7, 2011

There are more ways to be single than just the two mentioned here.  There's "not actively seeking a spouse, but open to finding one."  There's "single for now, because I need to work through some personal issues before I will be ready for a committed relationship."  Or "single for now, because there are no suitable prospects in my current context, and God hasn't called me elsewhere."  While you are single, your singleness should indeed be "an expression of dedication... to the Lord."  But if you get married, your marriage should also be "an expression of dedication" to God - just in a different way!

Becomingkingdomready
December 21, 2011

I think if we go back to the beginning we'll see Gods intention for the church. He made man and said that it was not good that man should be alone. He then made woman, and then the kids came. That in a sense formed the church. Jesus told Peter that upon him He would built His church. Peter was a married man.

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