Can a Woman be a Pastor?

by Pastor Matthew Norville, Sr.

The Word of God is very clear in that God does not call women to the office of pastor.

A pastor is one of the five ministry offices (Ephesians 4:11) that God calls some people to under the New Covenant. The other four are apostle, prophet, teacher (of the Word of God—not school teacher), and evangelist. God calls some men and some women to the offices of prophet, teacher, and evangelist. God calls some men to the offices of apostle and pastor, but He does not call women to the offices of apostle and pastor.

(The reason that God does not call women to the office of apostle is because an apostle functions in all five ministry offices, and since one of those offices is a pastor, a woman cannot be an apostle. When Jesus chose His twelve original apostles, He chose twelve men. If women could be apostles, Jesus would have chosen six men and six women for His twelve original apostles to let us know that women can be apostles just as much as men can—or at least He would have chosen eleven men and one woman.

Then, when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and killed himself, Judas Iscariot was replaced with another man, Matthias. And we have a number of men after that in the Bible whom God also put in the office of apostle: Saul (Paul), Barnabas, Silvanus (Silas), Timotheus (Timothy), etc. None of these apostles were women.)

In the New Testament there are five different words that are used in reference to the pastor's office:

  1. bishop
  2. overseer
  3. pastor
  4. elder
  5. shepherd

I teach my congregation the acronym “BOPES” (rhymes with “hopes”):


Every single pastor mentioned in the New Testament is a man, not a woman. The Word of God clearly teaches that a pastor is the husband of one wife.

I Timothy 3:2 says,

“A bishop (pastor) then must be blameless, the husband of one wife….”

Titus 1:5–6 says,

“Ordain elders (pastors) in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife….”

A husband is always a man and a wife is always a woman. You can't take the verses of the Bible and turn them around and change them and say that a pastor is the wife of one husband or the spouse of one spouse.

In John 10:11–13 Jesus says,

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.”

A shepherd is a pastor. Jesus is the chief Shepherd or chief Pastor (I Peter 5:4), and He said that He would give His life for us and never leave us, even when the wolf (the devil) comes. Part of a pastor's calling is that he is called to pastor in a particular locale. When a man is called to the ministry office of pastor, God calls him to pastor in a particular place. He is to give his life for the sheep and not leave the sheep—even when “the wolf” comes. So-called “pastors” that move around from church to church are not pastors at all, but these hirelings that this Scripture speaks about.

Romans 11:29 says,

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

This verse means—among other things—that a calling can NEVER be changed. It is set in stone. Therefore, since the place that God has called the man to pastor can never be changed, the man who is called to pastor must pastor there for the rest of his life or be outside of the will of God. This calling is placed upon a man before he is born, while he is still in the womb, even though he won't realize it until he gets older and God speaks to him about it. (Actually, all people who are called to an office of ministry are called while they are in the womb, though they won't realize it until they get older and God speaks to them about it.)

If a woman was called to pastor, she would have a locale, a place, where she would be called to pastor. This would be pre-determined by God and placed upon her life while she was still in the womb. However, a problem would arise if she fell in love and decided to get married. Because once she gets married, her husband becomes her domestic head and he determines where they should live and how often they should move. This would never work, because if she was called to pastor, she would have to be in the area where her church was. And what if her husband was called to pastor? This would mean that her husband would have to live in the area where his church was. These two churches could be on opposite sides of the earth! However, these scenarios would never happen because women are not called to pastor.

A woman who calls herself a pastor is a liar (because she is calling herself something that she is not) and she is out of fellowship with God. This means—among other things—that God does not hear any of her prayers and she is unable to receive anything from God by faith, because a person cannot be in faith when they are in sin. It also means that the people that attend her so-called “church” are not attending a real local church, because in order for it to be a local church, there must be a pastor there. This also means that the people attending there, and giving 10% of their income, thinking that they are tithing, are not tithing at all, because a tithe must be given to a local church—a REAL local church—not a “supposed” church. And if a Christian is not tithing, they are living under a curse (Malachi 3:8–10).

The only verse that I have ever heard people use in an attempt to justify “women pastors” is Galatians 3:28 which says,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

These people say, “See, there is neither male nor female if you are in Christ. So it doesn't matter whether you are a male or a female.”

This verse is talking about the fact that God is no respecter of persons whether you are a male or female, Jew or Gentile, or bond or free. This verse means that God loves people equally and responds to people's prayers and faith equally. He does not play favorites. He will heal a Jew just as readily as He will heal a Gentile. He will deliver a female just as readily as He will deliver a male, etc. This verse is NOT talking about the ministry.

Back in the mid 1970's I remember a book came out entitled What Happens When Women Pray? I have never read this book. I don't need to. I already know the answer to the question. What happens when women pray? The same thing that happens when men pray! This is what this Scripture is referring to. There is no difference between male and female in Christ when it comes to things like praying and believing God, who you are in Christ, etc. However, in the ministry, there is a difference between male and female. Just like in marriage there is a difference between male and female. You can't say, “It doesn't matter whether I marry a gal or a guy, as long as they are in Christ, because there is no difference between male and female.”

This “woman pastor” thing has become a plague in the body of Christ. The Bible is very clear about what a pastor is and what a pastor isn't. It is no wonder why the body of Christ in many places is living in such defeat. We need to get back to the Word of God and get our churches in line with the Word of God.

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This page last updated January 25, 2022.