Faith Reflections

Female Pastors Are Evil

or so I’ve been told – (and yes, it is a direct quote.) As a female pastor in a Baptist church, I am a rarity indeed.  When I was growing up, I did not consider going into ministry because I did not know any female ministers in the Baptist world.  I just accepted the common notion that, as a female, I would volunteer with the youth at a church, rock babies, collect money for missions or serve in some other volunteer capacity while men assumed the official roles of pastors.
Ten years ago [Twelve years as of 2012] when I first began serving as an associate pastor in a congregation, I was sensitive to the judgements of others regarding my “call”.  There was a great deal of judgement from other pastors and congregations who strongly opposed females in leadership.  I even had some friends who did not agree with obedience to my calling. What bothered me the most, though, were the comments directed to the youth in my ministry – that our church was unbiblical; that we were teaching evil; that we were all sinning because we allowed females to serve in pastoral roles (even though these other congregations had females in pastoral roles in every way BUT title.)  Comments to female youth in the ministries of these other churches who, when feeling a call to ministry, were told they were wrong.
We have attended several youth camps and events where I was the only female youth pastor. My youth either didn’t notice or if they did, they were perplexed.  They couldn’t imagine anything but a female youth pastor. For which I am thankful.  Thankful that the girls in my ministry over the years can listen to God’s call regardless of gender.  Thankful that the guys in my ministry over the years have seen the heart, gifting, and calling of a female pastor.
I came across this video today which really touched me and does an eloquent job of explaining what is loss in the evangelical church by the omission of the female voice from church leadership. Take a listen and leave your thoughts – even if you disagree.  But please keep your tone and words in the heart and nature of Christ.

Missing Half of What God Has to Say from Recycle Your Faith on Vimeo.


  • Hannah Enloe

    Mel, I hope you know how much of an impact you’ve had on so many people. You have been one of the most influential people in my life, I know, 100%,  that no male youth pastor, no matter how great, could have been more supportive, open, understanding, accepting, loving, and overall influential, than you have been on me, and so many others!

  • Helen

    wow,  what do I say since I am a mother of a female minister.  Of course, I have known Melissa longer than I have known my daughter because Melissa is older.  LOL.   To me it was very natural for Melissa to be a minister of some way since she grew up in a minister’s family.  I am sorry to hear that she and especially her youth heard some of the things.
    Helen Finley

    • Melissa Hatfield

      Thanks, Helen!  You know well as a mother of a pastor. 🙂   Thankful she grew up in a tradition that believes in the call of women to pastor.  And with you as her mom to support and love her.

  • Margaret Marcuson

    Melissa, thanks for this. I experienced my call to pastoral ministry before I ever met a woman pastor, which still amazes me. My call was very surprising, but ultimately very clear! I was a pastor (American Baptist) for 15 years and now have a ministry working with pastors. Blessings on your ministry!

  • Lunette Sanders

    Melissa – From March 2007 to January 2009 I serviced as a Baptist interim pastor. However, a male pastor was voted inJanuary 2009. One year later it was revealed that he was not the person he presented himself to be. I was told by some that they love my teaching and the way I "ran things" but I was a women. Now I'm back in the same position, same church with the same people that have the same feelings. I can be used as fill in but not as a pastor. It hurts but I love the Lord and his people and I enjoy teaching, praying and helping the people.

    • Melissa Hatfield

      Lunette – Your congregation is so blessed to have you serving and shepherding them – even if they can't see that you truly are their pastor in every sense of the word. I'm always inspired by women who stay obedient to where God has placed and called them even if their calling is not recognized by those they serve. It is obvious you live by the belief that we serve an audience of One. Blessings to you and may your church come to see you for the pastor you are.

  • Lori M.

    Oh Melissa – if you only knew the 16 years I have endured of rejection of my leadership even with all my labors and ordination. We will have a long talk maybe I can be of a great encouragement !!!!! :). Can’t wait! Girl talk yay!!!!

  • Melissa P.

    Beautiful. Honestly, this has always been one of my issues with my life as a Catholic (which is why we’re auditioning new churches because we don’t want to be a part of a church that doesn’t seem to accept me… I’m not terrible, why do they have to hate me?). You are one of the most inspirational people I know, and I’ve always looked to you as a role model. It is such a tragedy that churches still want to keep women silent. Girls need role models just like you! Heck, both men and women can learn from your selflessness and your viewpoints. Bless you for soldiering through and staying firm in your beliefs! You are an inspiration.

  • Keith Herron

    Thanks for putting this out there and keeping the conversation going – so much left behind – so much to be gained by opening the church up for all God’s children to have a voice and for God to speak through women as well as men

  • Lori Croy

    I am so grateful to be a part of a church where women are encouraged to serve God equally and openly. I came from a small, Southern Baptist Church and was ordained as the first woman deacon in that association. It was a tumultuous and difficult time. The funny thing is, the work I did in that congregation didn’t change—only the “title.” There were some who felt it was not biblical for me to be ordained and serve in the same capacity as the men. One older member, whom I loved and respected very much, wrote to me later. It was after a difficult situation had occurred in our church family and she said that although she loved me personally, she had voted against my being ordained a deacon. But after watching God work through me she had decided that she was wrong. She thanked me for having the courage to answer God’s call even while others were telling me I was wrong. I’ve always cherished it because it proved that God worked things out and allowed me to serve without guilt.
    Thank YOU for answering God’s call. Each of us listen individually to what the Lord tells us and no one should allow others to tell us to ignore that invitation. Our youth are blessed to have you as their leader and we, as a church, are fortunate to be the recipients of your many gifts.

    • Melissa Hatfield

      Wow, Lori. What a great testimony. I'm glad she was able to see you in action and having come to know you, I count it a great fortune that you were her example of women in ministry. We are so grateful to have you here at FBC!

  • doyle sager

    Melissa is one of three female “preaching” pastors in our congregation. Every time one of them preaches, I realize all over again that women hear the biblical text differently (my theory is that women are by nature better listeners…is that sexist?). And, every time I hear Melissa or one of our other female preachers I think, “Oh, my, what has the church been missing all these generations?”

  • Mac Hill

    Thanks for taking time to create awareness in the blogosphere. At the end of the day for me, it takes the same breath, from the same Book, about the same Saviour, and the same Salvation that God provided each of us. Does it really matter that a man or a woman says it in private or in the presence of many on a platform? For me, no. My wife, an ordained American Baptist Minister, played a huge part in my life in coming to know Jesus. I thank God for her every day and for truly being who God made her to be. I love that she pursues Him with the gifts He has given her selflessly and with no radical female agenda. She is a great disciple, and I get to call her my bride.
    Thanks for all you do!

  • Bre Watson-Hill

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am in a much more conservative part of the church than I grew up in. They have graciously allowed me to share my gifts in the church (preach and teach). But I still struggle every now and again with people and their comments. Thank you!
    Although I must say that I disagree a little with the very end of the video. We do need a season for women to be developed, but I believe that a woman should be good at what she is doing (and called), nit just be allowed to speak because she is a woman. Similar to the Oscar for best director – she deserved that award because it was a great film, not because she was a woman.
    Hope all is well in your corner of the world!!

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