January 31, 2011
If being unmarried was good enough for Jesus and Paul…
Is being a Protestant single pastor like being a married Catholic priest? Is it an oxymoron?
I never would have thought so until the economic crisis hit, and I had to find a new pastoral position. For the first time in my career my future was in the hands of a search committee, rather than a personal connection.
I’m ordained, 37, single (never married), with experience pastoring in large churches. Given my credentials, I had zero anxiety initially. Then I started reading “job requirement” phrases like these in pastoral job applications:
-“We are looking for a married man”
-“Is married (preferably with children)”
These churches explicitly were not looking to hire someone single--like Jesus or Paul. I then was surprised to discover that even though the majority of adult Americans are single (52 percent), that only 2 percent of senior pastors in my denomination are single! Something was clearly amiss.
Why were so many churches “requiring” a pastor to be married? Jesus wasn’t. Paul wasn’t. Almost all pastors were single until the time of the Reformation. Is it wise to “require” that our Evangelical pastors be married? Is it biblical?