Single White Female Pastor

I am a heterosexual, 33 year-old, single woman.

I happen to also be in the process of becoming a fully ordained pastor.

I am starting the process of ordination with the PCUSA. I went to seminary in Seattle. I’ve been in ministry in one way, shape or another for as long as I can remember. I have a strong sense of who I am and what I am doing with my life.

Yet, it seems that it was easier to navigate dating and finding “the one” when I had no idea who I was and didn’t know what I was doing with my life.

Guys seemed to be everywhere, especially during undergrad. I lived in dorms with 125 other girls, all in the same place, all trying to figure out who we were. The boys were readily accessible in the next dorm over.

The Invisible Timeline

What I didn’t know at the time was the existence of the invisible timeline of how the “Christian woman” was supposed to become a complete person:

  1. Go to Christian college
  2. Find boyfriend
  3. Lock it down
  4. Get married
  5. Have babies

Then, when said list was finished, I would be an accomplished female of this world and would feel complete.

Yet, when I graduated unmarried and without children, apparently I was wandering off the beaten path.

Looked Down on Is Not The Same as Seen

Many people in the Christian Community are confused by my life stage and not sure what to do with me. I often get the head tilt, which, in my interpretation, is the equivalent of the southern phrase, “Bless her heart!” As though the life I am living is lacking, a misstep, and to be pitied.

I feel the tension even as I type. It’s not that I don’t want to be in a relationship, or have babies, or get married. It’s just that I don’t want my life to be pitied. I want the place that my life is in to be seen as good, honored, shown dignity and supported.

It is hard to meet people in this day and age, let alone with the added provisions of Christian culture. These provisions are ones that remind single people their existence is less than those that are married and procreating. Or they tell us that the single life is just something to get through until you get married. Oh! And don’t forget about all the rules of how to date and how not to date.

I’ve heard people say phrases like…

female pastor 2 cassie carroll

Meeting people is just not the same as it use to be. The meet cute has been hijacked by online sites and apps that turn finding a life partner into a game.

If you notice, I haven’t even gotten to the Pastor part of this… Let’s add it shall we?

So, What Do You Do for a Living?

As a woman heading into ordained ministry, my vocation creates another obstacle to finding a partner. There are a myriad of assumptions about pastors to start with, then add the whole woman thing and the script is set.

There are two types of responses I have received from two types of Christian men:

The Conservative Christian Man: You know that you are going to hell, right?

Conversation over.

The Liberal Christian Man: I think what you are doing is so good. Do you think this is what you always want to do?

Conversation continues…

…until he realizes that I’m not going to shift my view at any point in time and he wonders what the role of a “Pastor’s Husband” would be.

Both responses, I have decided, come from a place of assuming I am “too much.” Apparently, meeting a woman in a position of authority is intimidating or is not a norm that Christian men are looking for. YES! I am strong and I know it. If you can’t handle that, then I don’t want to be in relationship with you anyways.

The pastoral vocation is a man’s world, and I am a woman living in it. I know how to navigate the testosterone-y waters, and I’m good at it. I am also good at bringing the much-needed feminine voice to this vocation. Yes, I am strong, I don’t know any other way to be, and I’m not going to apologize for it.

[Tweet “The pastoral vocation is a man’s world, and I am a woman living in it. ~Cassie Carroll”]

Then we have…

The Non-Christian Man: Ahhhh… Cool… So does that mean you don’t have sex before marriage?

How am I supposed to respond to that over a texting app?

It opens up the super-vulnerable topic of a person’s sexuality way too soon and, for me, the topic of how I feel the church has failed on providing me with language for understanding my own sexuality. (I think that may need to be a different post…)

I have tried different tactics to avoid letting men know what I do with my life before they actually meet me, wanting them to give me a chance before writing me off as a prude or a power-hungry she-pastor. But then I just feel like a liar.

People have asked, “But what about Christian dating sites? That has to be different!” Nope. It is not any different. At least not for me.

It actually feels like more pressure, because most Christians have this idea that all pastors must be the “perfect” Christian. The assumption is too much to live up to! I either don’t live up to their standards of being a pastor or I crush their illusion of what it means to be a pastor. Either way, not a great way to start a healthy relationship.

This is the point in which I just get defeated. I have yet to find the creative fourth response of, “Oh wow! That’s amazing! It’s really impressive that you have claimed your call with such passion.” WHERE IS THAT GUY?

Enter the overly sympathetic responses from all your married friends…

female pastor 3 cassie carroll


Not helpful.

Eyes that See

What about instead show you care more about my life as a single person than fixating on how to “get me out” of singleness? How about asking questions about how my life is going and not assume that I am incomplete without a spouse? How about asking about the passions I have in my life that make my world amazing?

The harsh truth is that the Christian Church has not done a good job giving people categories to talk about what it means to be single. And the lack of conversation has spoken volumes.

[Tweet “A lack of conversation speaks volumes.”]

Waiting in the Tensions

Here is where I am so thankful for the groundbreaking work of Christena Cleveland. On a blog titled “A Liberation Theology for Single People,” Cleveland tackles the unbalanced world of the Single Christian:

The marginalization of single people in the church is not just a sociological problem; it is also a theological problem. The dominant, marriage-centric theology — in which Christian colleges create centers for marriage (but not singleness) and pastors wax poetic about marriage (but not singleness) for 8-week sermon series — points to a God who loves single people a bit less than married people. Not only does this corrode the identities of single people who are rightful and invaluable members of the family of God, it tarnishes our perception of God.

Cleveland uncovers the hidden theological-identity issue that the Christian world struggles to admit is real.

Culturally speaking, I already have the cards stacked against me as a pastor solely because I am a woman. I am already viewed by many people as “less than” or “not as good as.” And now, because I a do not have a specific ring on a specific finger, the weight feels even heavier.

Again, it is not that I don’t want to get married and find a life partner. It is that I want the life I have at this very moment to be shown dignity and worth. Nowhere does the biblical text say that salvation is based on our marital status; it is based on Christ. Thankfully, I’m covered.

Until the day comes when relationship status is not an indicator of worth, I am left to sit in the uncomfortable tensions: the tension of wanting a relationship but not willing to get married for the sake of marriage; the tension of making people uncomfortable and wanting my life stage to be honored; the tension of tradition and my present life stage.

Ask your church:

How do we engage single people in your church? How has our church shown the single life honor and respect? How can we help change the stigma around being single and help everyone know they “invaluable members of the family of God?”

Female pastors welcome HERE! Let’s start a church!

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Cassie Carroll
Cassie Carroll, M.Div., graduated from The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Prior, she spent five years as the Director of Youth Ministry at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church. Cassie is happy to be back in California and currently resides in North Bay. She has begun the Listening in Place Project, traveling throughout the US to collect stories from those thinking outside the traditional Church box. Cassie seeks to become ordained with the PCUSA. Learn more about Cassie by visiting
Cassie Carroll


  1. Irene Mar 6, 2017 Reply

    All I gotta say is, you know I understand TOO well what you’ve just written…and throw in a high five and fist pump too. 🙂

    • Cassie Author
      Cassie Mar 6, 2017 Reply

      Thanks Irene! Love you girl!

  2. Miriam Kishi Mar 6, 2017 Reply

    It was good to see you! You might want to chat with Irene Pak Lee at Stone Church who shared your journey but found someone who understood! Miriam

    • Cassie Author
      Cassie Mar 6, 2017 Reply

      Thanks Miriam! Irene and I are good friends. She’s the best!

      • peter fr tambah Aug 30, 2018 Reply

        he daughter of zion how i you doing my name is Evangelist Perer FR Tambah this is my number +2310776007159

  3. Essie Mar 6, 2017 Reply

    Thank you. You wrote this better than I ever could have expressed, now, or 10 years ago when I was your age.
    And now I’m in my 40s. Still single. Still childless. Not by choice.
    Pastoral opportunities drying up, because apparently I’m not successful at family life, which is the lifeblood of the local church.
    I feel like a pariah in the pentecostal church.
    I’m still asking, where is that guy who appreciates strong, feminine, faithful female pastors? I honestly never found him. I’m still looking though, because my life is grounded in the Lord and He leads me, and I trust Him to bring me the comfort I desire in a healthy, loving relationship. xx

    • Cassie Joy Carroll Author

      Essie – Thank you! I feel like so many people try to give out this idea that image in their minds will become your reality. I think women need to be talking about this more… but I know its scary to admit that life didn’t end up like the timeline said. I hope we can push through the fear and claim the amazingness of who we are. Because we were created in the image of God just like everyone else! Blessings Essie! Keep kicking butt!! – Cassie

    • Givie Jun 7, 2018 Reply

      Dear Essie
      Having read through your message, l will be honored to be that man and I am called to the work as a minister of the word.. I believe I can be in that space and help achieve that goal

  4. Sarah Mar 13, 2017 Reply

    Amen and Amen! Divorced mother, which adds another strike against me – not my choice in the divorce, but who even gets that far in the discussion. EHarmony used to match me up with conservative Christians who don’t even acknowledge my right to be a pastor or what I used to call ‘motorcycle guys’, who while less judgmental, were also not interested in someone who worked weekends. So no – there is no dating app or site or matchmaker who will find this unicorn man who is comfortable with me, my son, or my vocation. Some days it bothers me. Some days I can’t work up the energy to care – there’s kingdom work to be done, and I’m called.

    • Cassie Joy Carroll Author

      HECK YES!! Sometimes I get down on the entire situation too and I have to let myself go through that moment or it will just fester. I’m sure adding a kiddo to the mix makes the entire situation that much more complicated. I focus on what I’m good at… creating opportunities for people to intentionally encounter Jesus in a tangible way. I figure I just need to do what I am called to do and if someone really worth it comes along to be apart of that work… I’ll consider it 😉 PS… EHarmony is the worst.

  5. Joseph Apr 15, 2017 Reply

    Dear Cassie Carroll. It a pleasure writing to you for the very first time. My name is Br. Joseph Fru. I,m a Cameroonian by nationality, but presently I,m in South Africa ,Cape Town. Cassie I,m a Preacher. I got my own Ministry and I preached the Gospel of Grace to lost souls. As a believer, I believe in God,s word, Jesus said, Ye have not chosen me,but I have chosen you,and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit,and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. Cassie I,m single and age 47, never been married, lady if you like me and still single, I,ll marry you. Distance means nothing it,s trust that count. It,s my wish to marry a God fearing lady and I believe it,s the will of God. God create ye male and female and God said let the man leave his father and mother and join to his wife, let the two become one, what God has join let no man put in asunder. I believe Cassie is my wife.

  6. Collins Sep 19, 2017 Reply

    Am an evangelist 36yrs from nigeria under free methodist church worldwide specialized on church planting. I need a God fearing wife who will help me on the vission that God has given me. Am waiting for that special one.+2347032295238

  7. Mimi Sep 23, 2017 Reply

    Hi Cassie
    I like your brave and strong character Woman if God .
    M a divorced mother ,evengelist and Pastor that re ently started a Ministry
    I struggled a lot looki g for a spiritual home ,the religious churches rejected me and others told me that my Grace were greater than theirs .
    I met a Nigerian Pastor who accepted me as his spiritual daughter.
    I bless God .
    I started with my 2boys I. 2016 but by the grace of God men are more than women.
    Dating is not in my vocab .m also living a holy life u til God “speaks” .
    In funerals people always whisper ….Desciples were not only men …Mary,Martha,Phoebe,Lydia,etc
    M in South Africa …there’s too much religion ,law etc .

    Press on my sister be strong .
    Love lots

  8. pastor RICHARDSON Annan Oct 22, 2017 Reply

    Hi Cassie God will fulfill your heart desire very soon.

  9. Paul simiti Nov 11, 2017 Reply

    Hello greetings my dear sister am very excited in your testimony and please i would to know more about house church please.
    Am pastor Paul simiti from Kenya

  10. Samuel Dec 25, 2017 Reply

    Hi Cassie, a lot of food for thought. I am convinced that a large number of the members of the Church have misunderstood the kingdom and its message of the priority of the kingdom, the cross and ministry.
    I believe there’s a revolution on and we are part of it, reclamation of the call and heart of God.

    • Lourdes Delacruz Jul 6, 2018 Reply

      Amén! So exciting to be part of such times as this!

  11. Edson Andrade Mar 10, 2018 Reply

    remarkable text and very touching experience, thanks for sharing!

  12. Lourdes Delacruz Jul 6, 2018 Reply

    Thank you for writing this blog. As a single woman church planter I can also relate to this topic. So many walls have to be brought down as a woman who has been called to church plant. Many people forget Romans 16 as Paul thanked so many women who served and were pioneers the early church. Also questioning whether someone whether men or women has been called is interesting as it limits a God that has no limits and who can make the impossible for human minds become possible. He can use anyone or anything he likes for his purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 also explains it well. I have short hair, wear jeans and was called to church plant to the homeless, poor, gang members, drug dealers and much more and people would question my calling based on being a woman and my appearance. Had people who sat me down to convince me of how a woman should not have authority over men, when. I have no authority as I am a servant not God. I Thank God/Jesus for organizations like V3 and others who do support people’s calling because this is hard enough and support is needed. Blessings!

  13. Lourdes Delacruz Jul 6, 2018 Reply

    God needs us more than we can imagine. He needs us to surrender to his calling. Regardless of what people have thought or their opinion I’ve come to realize the importance of us answering his call. I’ve seen people come out of addictions and so many other strong holds by them surrendering to Jesus. All thru sharing the good news with them and reading the word of God, the Bible. God needs us to answer the call. In our weakness he is strong. He must be so happy for those who have answered!

  14. Phil Wils Aug 28, 2018 Reply

    Hi, I am a pastor in Zambia, I am here to request for church construction funding and partnership. Kind regards

  15. etukumo Oct 14, 2018 Reply

    looking for a female pastor to marry and help in ministry

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