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Theological Thursday: Women as Youth Pastors | REyouthpastor.com | Home youth ministry, youth pastor
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Tim over at Life in Student Ministry during his YM talk entertained the issue of: Women as Youth Pastors. I was not able to participate on LIVE, however I listened via podcast. It seemed like a great conversation. So the question is: Can a woman fill the role as a YOUTH PASTOR? (For sake of clarity I am not talking about female roles in the home and in a marriage, rather I seek to explore the roles of women in youth ministry.)

Women Youth Pastors

So the question is:  Can a woman fill the role as a YOUTH PASTOR? (For sake of clarity I am not talking about female roles in the home and in a marriage, rather I seek to explore the roles of women in youth ministry.)

If God poured His Spirit on all flesh (Acts 10.45, Titus 3.6) and God gave His only Son for everyone (Jn. 3.16), then one conclude the Spirit could call a female to the youth pastoral role?

Today the majority of the world’s Christians namely, Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and many Protestant evangelicals, including Missouri Synod Lutherans, conservative Presbyterians, and Southern Baptists still strongly believe women are NOT suppose to be in leadership.

To be fair I want to briefly present 3 key scriptures that are against women as youth pastors and 3 key scriptures that are for women as youth pastors:


1 Corinthians 11.5-6 1: Paul is simply instructing the women of the church to cover their heads when praying.  Head represents authority.  John Piper comments (in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood), that Paul’s is communicating the relationship of manhood and woman hood.  Piper goes on to say that women and man need to be subject to hierarchal order (1 Cor 11.7-9) God created them in.  This order should find appropriate cultural expression in today’s worship service.  So 1 Cor 5 articulates a rationality to why women CANNOT be highly involved in church leadership.

I argue that the use of head covering was very cultural.  Head covering was a standard pagan religion practice among Romans, and Corinth was a Roman colony.  So possibly Corinth’s pagans may have seen women with an uncovered head, as very disrespectful not only towards their husband but towards society standard.

1 Corinthians 14.34-35: Paul is commanding women to be silent in the church. There are three views wrapped up on this passage: (1) Paul said it, (2) Paul said it, but its intentionality was directed towards a local truth and not a universal truth, and (3) Paul did not say it at all and reflects a Paulist writer. Bottom line women have no right or scriptural authority to speak in church.

I strongly believe the prohibition on women speaking in church cannot be absolute. I would suspect Jesus would want females to speak up in church. Look at Jesus’ ministry, His ministry paid special attention to women, namely Mary, Martha, and Mary Magdalene. Women were a part of the priesthood of believers, women were permitted to learn (1 Tim 2.11, teach (Acts 18.26), lead in worship (1 Cor 11.4-16) and even serve as apostle (Rom 16.7). . 1 Corinthians 11:11 states: 11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. This verse implies a sense of equality, not superiority. I would suspect God wants male and female to be equal and not hierarchal.

1 Tim 2.12: 1 Timothy 2.12 is the pillar verse that argues strongly against women in leadership. Paul is commanding that women do not have authority in church and that they cannot teach. Women really have no place in the church except to carry out their motherly/wife functions.

Paul is lecturing to the women of Ephesus because of their gullibility and instability (1 Tim 5:11–13; 2 Tim 3:6–7). There is speculation that women of the 1st century did not have much education. The lack of education meant the women did not have the wisdom and knowledge to teach in the church. Thus, women are not allowed to teach because of their attribute motherly/wife roles, but also they are not allowed to teach because of their lack of knowledge and wisdom.

I argue that the verb of “I do not permit” (epitrepō) suggests a present tense. The verb is in the indicative, and is not in the imperative case. This verb is not a command, but a suggestion and an instruction to a particular context.

Scriptures For//

Galatians 3.28: Paul is dealing with three sets of inequalities: Jews and Gentiles, Slave or Free, and Male and Female. Gal. 3.28 is a foundational verse to illustrate an equal leverage that women can and should in fact participate in the pastorate. Bottom line Paul is saying being “in Christ” eliminates any distinction of gender, race, or ethnic make-up.

Gal 3.28 gives women a sense of hope for redemption, restoration, and reconciliation. . Making no distinction between male and female is an essential part of how the church body can become in unity “in Christ”.

1 Corinthians 12.11: I simply argue that Paul is clarifying that the Spirit is given to everyone. Jesus has given the believer an advocate. Regardless of gender, God has granted everyone and anyone the Spirit. God dispenses His gifts not according to gender, but according to His will. This means He can give the Spirit to anyone in a given particular situation to orchestrate His work.

Stanely Grenz in his book, Women in Ministry argues that (1) God’s dispensing of His Spirit is gender neutral and (2) that men and women are equal in exercising their gifts in the church.

Acts 18.26: Acts 18 gives an actual situation where a woman is not only in leadership, but teaches a man. Priscilla taught and instructed Apollos in the way of Christ. Throughout the scriptures we also get a sense of how Priscilla and Aquila are the leaders within a home church (Romans 16.3, 1 Cor. 16.9, and 2 Tim 4.19). A woman in leadership, from 0 -500AD was viewed extremely patriarchal. However, with the numerous revivals such as monastic movement, the Wesleyan revival, or other North American revivals, women played a huge role in leadership. Acts 18, communicated how Priscilla is a co-labor with Paul to carry forth Christ’ ministry. Priscilla is not only women, but a woman who is a leader and a teacher.


I argue that woman can hold a youth pastor role in the Church. I affirm that ministerial authority is based upon a person’s character, calling and giftedness, not his or her gender. The Biblical texts against women in leadership are specifically writing to a particular context.

I believe that woman in leadership is consist with scripture. I have a hard time believing God would want to condemn and limit 50% of his creation, namely women to do His work.

To be honest I have seen a lot of amazing women youth pastors! My heart breaks when I see youth pastor job descriptions that clearly state: We are looking for a man.

I hope you enjoyed my post for why I think, theologically, women can be great youth pastors. Also, I would never consider ya’ll women a “helpmate” rather I would consider ya’ll a “rescuer”.

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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