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Baptist Fellowship Offering Cash Incentives to Churches Considering Female Pastors

Why leaders are willing to pay expenses for search committees that consider women for church leadership.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri (CBFMO) will offer cash incentives to any member church that is willing to consider hiring a female pastor.

CBFMO leadership decided in September to pay interview, travel, and other expenses incurred by search committees that include a woman in their list of candidates in hopes of expanding the number of women in church leadership.

None of the 50 CBFMO churches have female senior pastors.

"The whole idea behind it, honestly, is to reduce the anxiety or risk that churches feel," CBFMO associate coordinator Jeff Langford told Christianity Today. "Search committees don't want to break new ground or rock the boat."

There already is a lot of anxiety surrounding searching for a pastor, he said. Search committees want to make a good decision but not one that is too progressive, so often they choose what feels comfortable to them—a male candidate, he said.

Paying expenses is a way to lessen that risk of opening the door to a woman pastor, he said. ...

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