The Mailbag: I Have to Preach Because No Man Will Step Up

Originally published February 19, 2018


I’ve recently met a woman who is a “pastor” of a church. When asked why she is preaching to men, her response was this:

“Men will not teach. None will stand up. We started as a congregation of women and slowly some husbands came, as well as their sons. But none will take responsibility. So if I do not speak truth and stand up, who will?”

This was in another country I recently visited where men do not take authority, nor do they desire it. Women are primary in every area.

This is a difficult situation to be in, and I do sympathize. I’ve been in church and family situations in which men were not being the godly leaders they were supposed to be. It’s very frustrating. Even more so in the case of your friend, because Scripture prohibits women from stepping in and taking over when a man will not lead the church.

But in addition to the fact that the Bible is very clear that your friend is not to preach to men, she’s doing a terrible job as “pastor” on several other counts:

✢ She doesn’t believe God’s Word.

✢ She doesn’t trust God enough to obey His Word.

✢ She doesn’t fear God enough to obey His Word.

✢ She doesn’t believe in the necessity of prayer, or in God’s provision, enough to ask Him to provide a pastor.

✢ She’s not teaching her “congregation” to cry out to the Lord and trust Him to provide. Instead, she’s teaching them to take matters into their own hands when they need something, even if it means disobeying God’s Word. (Kind of like Sarah did.)

✢ She’s teaching her “congregation” that they it’s OK to disobey God if it’s difficult or inconvenient to obey Him.

✢ She’s teaching the women that they don’t have to submit to God’s design for biblical womanhood.

✢ She’s teaching the men to continue to be lazy and shirk their God-given duty to lead. Why should they when a woman is all too willing to step in and do the work for them?

She asks, “If I do not speak truth and stand up, who will?”. My answer to that question is, “That’s God’s business to take care of, not yours.” Her business is to obey Him and trust Him to work out everything else. And besides, she’s not “standing up and speaking truth”, she’s standing up and speaking or demonstrating all the untruths I enumerated above.

My counsel to this woman would be to immediately step down as “pastor,” stop preaching to and instructing the men, and publicly repent to God and to everyone in the church for her sins of disobeying God’s Word and setting a bad example for the church. She should inform them that she will no longer be preaching but that she will be praying for God to raise up a pastor, either from among the men of the church or from outside the church.

The men and women can, and should, meet to pray and sing together every Sunday. One of the other women (the former “pastor” needs to sit out of leadership for a while) can certainly teach a women’s Bible study class. But if the men want a Bible teacher or pastor, one of them is going to have to step up and do it. And the women need to be sure they’re holding their ground and refusing to step into that role. What a godly testimony of obedience they will be to the men! Hopefully, it will shame the men over their own disobedience.

God doesn’t give anyone permission to disobey Him just because it’s hard or inconvenient. It was the hardest thing in the world for Jesus to go to the cross, but He did it anyway because He was obedient to His Father. He was willing to die rather than disobey. That is the example she needs to follow.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:6

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 37:5

When we face tests of our faith, it is not time to take the easy way out and sin, it is God stretching us and giving us an opportunity to trust and obey Him so He can use that situation as a vehicle for growing us to greater maturity and Christlikeness.

This lady, and the rest of the church, has the opportunity here to cry out fervently to God to provide them with a pastor and then trust Him to act on their behalf.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11

Which would bring more glory to God and be more of a testimony to His greatness: for this lady to have taken matters into her own hands and sinned, or for her and the rest of the women to obey God, for everyone to pray and trust God for a pastor, and then to have the awesome experience of God answering that prayer?

There’s nothing amazing, especially in that culture, about men being lazy and women stepping in and picking up the slack. Why have a Christian church that is supposed to be following the all powerful God of the universe be just one more example of that? Instead, they could have an incredible testimony of God providing a pastor and changing the hearts of the men of the church to take responsibility and lead. What kind of an impact would that have on the surrounding culture? How many doors might that open for that church to share the gospel?

Additional Resources

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit

Basic Training: Obedience: 8 Ways to Stop Making Excuses and Start Obeying Scripture

Basic Training: 5 Ways to Face Tests and Trials Biblically

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

2 thoughts on “The Mailbag: I Have to Preach Because No Man Will Step Up”

  1. My oh my how timely God is. How great is our Lord and Saviour. I was just talking about how Mary Magdaline was a faithful follower of Christ Jesus and learned everything He had to teach. And here is my question…(can we leave political correctness out of this)…Do we believe the Bible is the Word of the Holy God? Do we believe every word of it or just what we want? I was faced with this a while back, not so long ago actually when I was made an officer of my church. When first ask to take the position my answer was a resounding No, women are not to do this in the Church. 2 weeks later, when nominated, like a split personality, I said I would do it. I loved it. I enjoyed every moment I put into it, except my heart was heavy….and it all came down to one question. Had I changed my mind about the postion of women in the church.? What? of course not. I believe every word of the Bible. So although I loved the position, it isn’t about me. Here is what I did then on the 3rd Sunday of holding the office. I wrote and read this to the whole congregation on the next Sunday.

    It is not me
    It is Thee,
    It is not we,
    It is Thee.

    I can not pray in earnest for something, then act as though God won’t answer. I surrendered all to God not quite a year ago. I pray to be an uncompromising follower. I pray for His church. I pray for the men in my family. I pray for their repentance, salvation, hunger and love of our Lord. I pray for their unerring obedience in God and that they step up and be the spiritual leaders of our family that He designed them to be. How can I pray for the patriarchs to lead if I then accept the position strictly for them. As long as there is a man in my household, in my church, I am commanded by God that they are to lead. Christ is the head. Man is next and then the woman. I spent my entire life railing against this fact. When our gracious, loving, almighty, forgiving God saved me, when I got up off my face and knees, He laid his truths before me. He opened my eyes to this undeniable hierarchy. He gave me a totally new heart and flipped my perspective 180 degrees to His Way, His Truth and His Life. I surrendered. I am grateful. I have to obey Him. His word says I must not hold an office or teach or preach to men in His church. Men are called to be our leaders. While I joyfully may continue to be the custodian of His church, the bell ringer, and an avid student who comes to praise, pray and seek Him, I can not, nay I am not allowed to hold the office of Superintendent as long as there are men to do so. And I fervently pray that we always have Godly men in this church. So as much as I love each and every one of you here, and want you to love me in return, as much as I want this church to succeed in all it does, I must not want it at the expense of Scripture. I am stepping down and I pray that one of you men step into this position rather than leave it empty. If not, I am sure we can study without a superintendent. And I want to thank The Most Holy Father the Blessed Son, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, ,my comforter.
    Then you know what happened…the men in the congregation stood up and stepped up and took their rightful place in the church. I am thanking Jesus tonight!


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