The Common Good

Why Are There So Few Solo Women Church Planters?

Church planting is its own weird thing. It takes a certain personality to think you might, just might, be able to (with tons of help from God) start a church from scratch. There is a somewhat particular constellation of personality traits needed for such a task. These traits may allow one to be suited for church planting but be horribly ill suited for many other things... let's not pretend otherwise. So at the risk of sounding like I'm indulging in self-flattery, let me attempt to list some of these traits.

A church planter is usually:

  • self-motivated
  • creative
  • charismatic
  • independent
  • connecting
  • can inspire others to do stuff
  • responsive and adaptive
  • someone who can hold a vision of what's possible

OK -- I'm sure there are other things, but these come to mind at 6:30 in the morning.

Are these characteristics simply found in more men than women? Maybe... but if so, then why? And if not, then why aren't more women doing what I do? I bet there are 30-40 church plants of all different ilks in Denver, and I am the only solo female church planter I know here.

Here are some reasons I thought of:

  • Obviously some Christian traditions don't allow women to be pastors
  • There are a lot of women who are married with children who don't have the kind of family and spousal support that I have in my life. (Two of the three other solo church planters I know are single women)
  • Thinking back to my youth group and other co-ed groups from when I was a teen, it seemed like the really funny charismatic people whose plans and ideas other people got on board with were all male. Young women are not as likely to be rewarded for being that kind of person.

What percentage of solo church planters you know are women?

What factors have I not considered?

Nadia Bolz-WeberNadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor living in Denver, Colorado, where she serves the emerging church, House for all Sinners and Saints. She blogs at and is the author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television.

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