Please don’t call me pastor.

For a small part of my life, I was honored to serve in kid and youth ministries. At 16 I was convinced that God had called me to youth ministry. It was my burning passion; years of praying and seeking to lead a youth ministry. I had smaller opportunities as an interim youth pastor and kids’ church minister before I finally stepped into the role of youth ministry in 2009. It was everything I had prayed for over 13 years. I was eventually ordained through my church and received the title, “Youth Pastor”. I thought I had reached the height of my ministry dreams.

Around 2011ish, I was questioning everything biblical and theological in my life. I do mean everything. This wasn’t a deconstruction. I did not walk away from my faith in Christ. I chose to disentangle from previously held beliefs and reform my biblical understanding. My husband and I journeyed this together. I turned off popular mainstream worship music and speakers/pastors and sought the Bible for every question. I eventually removed myself from the hyper-charismatic world.

During the pandemic, a close ministry friend called one evening to chat. We hadn’t spoken in some time and I was rather surprised by his call. After a quick hello, he asked, “Pam why do you believe women should be pastors.” I was taken aback. Then I opened my mouth to give the response I had come to memorize and was completely shocked when I replied, “I honestly don’t know.” I told him that I could recite every scripture and rebuttal for how I answered that question for decades, but I no longer had an answer.

I began to seek the Word of God for an answer; not a sermon I had previously recited or a denominational doctrinal statement, but the Word of God. I could no longer go by my personal experience or what I had “felt” at 16. God’s Word is Truth. The only standard of truth. Our very own experiences do not outweigh God’s very words. The inspired Word of God is “beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness”1. After several months I was no longer convinced I should be in pastoral positions. I shared my new understanding with my husband to which he lovingly said, “Let’s sit on this for a while and pray about it. Don’t make a hasty decision.” It’s been three years.

Why I don’t use “pastor” as a description for myself

In the Bible, we find one time the word “pastor” is used.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers. Eph 4:11

The Greek word “poimen” is translated as shepherd/pastor. The Pastoral Epistles of 1 + 2 Timothy and Titus give instruction and meaning to the role of shepherd/pastor. In Acts 20:28 Paul tells the overseers the Holy Spirit has appointed them to care for the flock. According the Lexham Theological Dictionary: ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos). overseer. A believer is set apart from those in the church for the purpose of watching over, nurturing, and caring for the needs of those in the church.2

When I read the scriptures of Titus 1:5–9 and 1 Tim 3:2–7, I am convinced that the role of shepherd/pastor/elder/overseer is reserved for men. Friends, this biblical revelation did not send me into a tailspin or make me depressed. If anything, I found joy and peace in God showing His Word to me when I humbly sought answers. 

How this impacted me at the time

Honestly, not much in the beginning. I was no longer in a youth ministry role and had just begun an online ministry leading women in biblical studies. I felt so energized, encouraged, and joyful to join women together in deeply studying the Word of God and asking good questions. I didn’t even know how to respond to all the questions asked but thoroughly enjoyed finding answers with other women. It is liberating and has been the greatest season of spiritual growth of 25+ years of following Christ.

The biggest change has been my decline in stepping into pastoral positions. In 2023, I officiated my last wedding. For 10 years, I was honored to officiate a handful of weddings. I don’t live in regret, but live in the freedom of God’s mercy and grace as I learn biblical truth. I have turned down the officiating role at some of my favorite students (now adults) wedding ceremonies. I am humbled by how much they love and respect me. My greatest joy has been leading them as teenagers and becoming friends as they enter adulthood. To be honest, I enjoy the friendship season way more. My prayer is that my conviction and understanding of scripture would also spur them into a deeper relationship with Christ.

What does this mean for my future?

I am Pam. A disciple of Christ. A saint (those in Christ are set apart). A daughter of the King. An ambassador of Christ. An encourager to others (Titus 2 women).

I am also a wife and mother. Those two roles are the greatest gifts I have ever been given and my first ministry. I believe that God has gifted me with the ability to teach His word and I humbly submit to his authority and seek leadership from my local shepherd.

I no longer desire to be called “Pastor Pam”. I know many have called me that for years and it will be a hard habit to break, but I believe you can do it! I do not wish to be recognized as anything other than a disciple of Christ. We are all ministers of the Gospel.

My service to the Lord requires no titles. Each of us is called to serve one another. This doesn’t make any of us more special than the next. We are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Soul Sisters is a ministry to women I started in 2020. I love my Soul Sisters! Joining with women all over the world to seek the Word of God gives me life. I have big plans to continue to grow that ministry through discipleship groups, books and journals, and fellowship. 

Final Thoughts

It is not my desire to create a list of what women can and can’t do. I am not here for legalism. I am sharing my walk with God’s word and how that impacted the way I serve the Kingdom of God. I have always been a woman that desires truth. I believe that God created males and females differently in the most beautiful of ways. These differences bring God glory and demonstrate the splendor of His creation. While our roles as women are different, we are equally valuable to God. These aren’t faults to be depressed over, but characteristics and roles to be excited about! I am grateful to be a daughter!l  I marvel at his creation of women! I mean hello… childbirth alone makes me sit in awe of God!! I GAVE BIRTH TO CHILDREN! Don’t tell me that women aren’t special! 

This blog is intended to open up dialogue for additional topics and deeper study. If you have questions about my journey or additional content on women in pastoral positions, please message me. There are some great resources I would love to share.

  1. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 ↩︎
  2. Craig A. Smith, “Church Leadership,” ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014). ↩︎
  1. Bill says:

    I am not a woman. I am the first to need a woman so that I could continue. But I received several, if not many, women in my life that filled different roles that personally affected me. They are not in any kind of numerical order or rank or value. They are all women. Now I have a taste of Heaven – filled with Angels…and I have many…………

  2. Toney Battle says:

    Well! I will always respect your decision but you do know that I will try not to call you Pastor Pam 1st because that’s all I use to hear Pastor Pam this and that. Although I am older than you, I have been comfortable calling you that. Because of the respect that I have for you I am going to try not to call you that. So forgive me if I slip.

leave a comment






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from The Pam Bailey

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading