I recently asked my five-year-old daughter, Zoe, what God looks like. She gazed into the distance for a moment before saying, “She has a really big, beautiful face.” My wife smiled and, hugging Zoe tight, suggested that maybe there are also parts of God that are more like daddy.
My wife has been a senior pastor for the past 10 years. In that time, I’ve seen plenty of situations in which her gender worked against her. There was the man at the church where she guest-preached who, with a straight face, told her she did a pretty good job “for a girl.” There were the times when people got up and walked out when she took the pulpit to preach. There was even one man who left the church because he couldn’t watch her preach without fantasizing about her having sex because she was visibly pregnant.In comparison to their male counterparts, female pastors have limited opportunities and face serious pay discrepancies. Never mind that half of people in mainline seminaries today are women – so if many churches are to survive in the future, it may be with a woman at the helm. But too many congregations are not willing to accept this reality.