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Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling:  Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors




















Insight, empowerment, and inspiration for women in the pastorate.



  • Provides data and insight from results of a national survey of female clergy

  • Shares lessons learned and best practices from women in solo or senior pastorates

  • Offers guidance for overcoming the challenges of breaking through the stained glass ceiling.


  • The reality of a stained glass ceiling is familiar to most women called to the pastorate. Despite being more likely to be seminary educated, female clergy constitute less than 10 percent of Protestant leading pastorates—and those who do hold such pastorates are generally paid less than their male counterparts. In light of such statistics, Pastor Chris Smith explores how to overcome the challenges in breaking through the stained glass ceiling—and she goes a step further. She shares the lessons learned and best practices of the success stories—those women who are currently serving in solo or senior pastorates. –


To read excerpts from Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling:  Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors,

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What others are saying about Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling...

"We’ve talked about the existence of a stained glass ceiling; many of us have actually hit it. And some of us have even talked about breaking through it. Rev. Christine Smith goes one step further, writing poignantly and passionately, not only about breaking through the stained glass ceiling but, more importantly, about moving beyond it. Drawing from hard data and daring stories of hope, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling is a clarion call for clergywomen to persevere, push through, and pursue the call to pastoral ministry, against all odds and beyond all barriers. With incisive analysis and trenchant thought, Rev. Smith not only clarifies the nature of the “ceilings” but also offers savvy strategies, heartfelt encouragement, and words of wisdom to move beyond. This book is for every woman in ministry and every minister called to make a difference. It is also a rich resource for those in positions of influence and authority to help change the vocational landscape and make room for women who gifted and called to serve God and God’s people in the pastorate. Read it! Then pass it on!" —Rev. Patricia P. Hernandez, National Director, American Baptist Women in Ministry and Transition Ministries ABCUSA


“From a seasoned pastor, we receive research, wisdom, and, most important, encouragement. Rev. Christine A. Smith has successfully transcended the stained glass ceiling for nearly twenty years, and she has a well-honed sensibility about what it means for congregations and ‘she-pastors’ (her word) to forge a covenant. Fortified with Scripture and theological sensitivity, this prophetic leader understands the challenges women face when pursuing their pastoral vocation. This book is forthright and practical. Not only does it offer current statistics about the percentages of women serving as senior pastors, but it also offers concrete steps for those who are called to pursue their rightful place as the congregational leader. I especially appreciate her strong advocacy for theological education and the ways that it can position women for effective service. Further, the author offers wise counsel about how to preserve one’s soul amidst the demands of pastoral work. Finally, she knows the significance of mentors and asks ‘How shall we press on?’ Educating the church and prospective female ministry candidates is unfinished work, yet this volume moves that project forward in a powerful way.” —Molly T. Marshall, PhD, President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation, Central Baptist Theological Seminary


“In a wonderful blend of survey analysis and narrative accounts, Christine A. Smith sheds new light on the lives of women pastors, telling their stories, highlighting the challenges and oppression they have faced, and celebrating the ways they have faithfully followed God’s call. Her numerous interviews along with survey information from 150 clergywomen provide rich insights and valuable resources for all interested in the journeys of women ministers. A most helpful aspect of the book is her careful inclusion of the stories and experiences of so many African American women pastors, an area of research that has long been in need of further exploration.” -- Pam Durso, Executive Director, Baptist Women in Ministry

"In Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling Christine presents women and all of us in the Church with a Big Holy Audacious Goal which is incarnating the Biblical truth that we are ALL made in the Imageo Dei.  Understanding that truth and faithfully working towards women’s full inclusion in ministry will bring us closer to the envisioned future that God has planned for the world and that is His Kingdom come.  This will happen, as Christine points out, “one soul at a time.” And that is all the Lord requires of us.” --The Rev. Peter Faass, Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Shaker Heights, OH


“Kudos to Pastor Smith for an outstanding book! I am certain women pastors and those women who aspire to this high office will turn to this dynamic guide again and again for sound direction and spiritual insight.  In this well written and easy to read work, Pastor Smith has discussed the challenges that women face in their pastoral journey and how best to deal with them.  Her sound advice based upon sound research will prove to be an irreplaceable resource for our sister pastors, and it will serve to take the guess work out of how to handle certain challenges they will face." -- Dr. James C. Perkins, Pastor, The Greater Christ Baptist Church, Detroit, MI, President, The Progressive National Baptist Convention


"This publication is an excellent “how to”, that will guide the present and future female pastors/ministers to excel in their places of services.  More importantly, this discourse will help persons to seriously embrace their call from God and help those called, to fulfill their ministry in this present culture. Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling seeks to explore another dimension of being called by God.  It raises the role of women in the pulpit as preacher and practitioner.  This writing will help and bless the body of Christ, and move readers to come full circle in ministry.” -- The Reverend Cleopatrick Lacy, D. Min, Senior Pastor, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Griffin, Georgia and Adjunct. Homiletics Associate Professor, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia

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