Female senior pastor roles double in 10 years
    September 16 2009 by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service

    One in 10 U.S. churches employs a woman as senior pastor, double the percentage from a decade ago, according to a new survey by the Barna Group.

    Most of the women — 58 percent — work in mainline Protestant churches, such as the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Episcopal Church; only 23 percent of male senior pastors are affiliated with mainline churches, the survey said.

    The UMC and its forerunner has ordained women for five decades; the ELCA and its predecessor has for almost 40 years, and the Episcopal Church has ordained women since 1976.

    Barna’s survey found that female pastors tend to be more highly educated than their male counterparts, with 77 percent earning a seminary degree, compared to less than two-thirds of male pastors (63 percent).

    But male pastors still rake in larger incomes. The average compensation package for female pastors in 2009 is $45,300, Barna says, while males earn $48,600. The compensation gap has closed in the last decade, though, with females earning 30 percent more than they did in 1999, according to the survey.

    Barna says the difference in pay rates may be attributable to congregation size. Churches with male pastors average 103 adults at Sunday worship, compared to 81 for female pastors.

    The median age of female pastors rose from 50 to 55 in the last decade; male pastors’ median age rose from 48 to 52.

    Barna conducted the study by interviewing 609 senior pastors and balancing the sample according to the distribution of Protestant churches in the continental U.S. The range of sampling error was between 1.8 and 4.1 percentage points, according to Barna.

    9/16/2009 6:22:00 AM by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service | with 3 comments

Justablogging Baptist
I will not throw myself into the fray of what is Biblical or not. As Baptists we are free and independent. That doesn't mean we are always right. I simply point out that the three denominations listed as having the most female senior pastors percentage wise are also three of the most theologically liberal. The ELCA now allows for practicing homosexuals officially. The UMC has a long practice from the mid 90's of "don't ask, don't tell" when it comes to their examinations of clergy candidates. Around half of their annual conferences have gone on record as saying they will not enforce any church law regarding sexuality. And the Episcopalians are so torn up over several issues they can hardly be described as a functional missional tool in the hand of God.
9/16/2009 10:53:21 PM

anonymous woman
I am so glad that more women are following the call of God rather than the ego of men. I was fortunate enough to attend a church with a female pastor and I must say she ministered in a way I'd never seen. She was much more nurturing than any male pastor I had ever had. God used her in big ways. Her congregation, association, and community benefited from her God-given gifts and talents and her unconditional love for people. I became a stronger Christian because of her witness.
9/16/2009 2:00:02 PM

Brent Hobbs
"rake in larger incomes" ?!?! Ha!

Its sad that more and more churches prefer to follow their own preferences rather than the example and command of Scripture.
9/16/2009 1:05:22 PM

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