Is There a Bias Against Single Pastors?

Kara Powell | Mar 29, 2011

An article in last week’s New York Times asked this interesting question: is there a bias against single pastors?

As a woman in leadership, I have been part of (and often helped facilitate) discussions about unique opportunities and challenges for women in leadership, so I was intrigued to think about the same for singles in leadership.

Several questions emerged for me as I read this article:

-How pervasive is this bias?

-Is it more challenging to be a single woman, or a single man, in ministry?

-How much of this bias is, as expressed in the article, because churches want the free labor of the spouse?

-Is it more challenging to be a single 40 year-old looking for a ministry job than a single 20 year-old?

-Is the bias against singles in leadership increasing or decreasing?

-What are some of the unique opportunities of leaders who are single?

And here’s the biggest: wouldn’t it be great if the church led the way in being an affirming community of all, including folks who are single?

How about you? What questions does this raise for you? Any hints of answers to these or any other questions from your own experience?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


More from this author

More From Us

Hello, WELCOME TO FYI
Join the community

Sign up for our email today and choose from one of our popular free downloads sent straight to your inbox. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about our sales, offers, and new releases.

Join the community

Sign up for our email today and choose from one of our popular free downloads. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about our sales, offers, and new releases.