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Unmarried Pastors Have Trouble Finding Jobs

This week, The New York Times ran a story on single pastor Mark Almlie, who has been looking for a pastor job since 2009 with no luck. The report said Almlie’s resume and qualifications are stellar, but he has experienced discrimination against his unmarried, childless status. Indeed, some more traditional churches openly require pastoral candidates to be married with families; seminary professors and researchers explain that churches fear single pastors may have trouble counseling married couples, they might be tempted to flirt with congregation members, or they might even be homosexual. Some churches even argue that the Bible favors leaders who are married. Other religion experts, according to the story, expect the pastor’s wife to provide some of the labor required by the church, i.e., fulfill the duties of choir director or children’s ministry teacher. Almlie says he “begrudges” not being hired because of his singleness and continues to campaign against what he says is an issue that has gone largely ignored in church culture.  

What do you think? Are married pastors more qualified for ministry than single pastors?

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.