Do Churches Practice Age Discrimination in Hiring Pastors and Staff?

Age is important. But it should not be everything.

I am seeing many churches experiencing difficulty finding pastors and other staff that meet their criteria. The solution could be in looking at candidates who just might be younger or older than they originally anticipated. Don’t be surprised if you find some outstanding candidates either younger or older than you expected.


It’s a simple question with profound implications. Do churches seek to hire pastors and/or staff who fall within a tightly defined age range?

Please understand that this article is about general trends. There are certainly many exceptions to each point I make. But these are the major issues I see related to age discrimination in hiring.

  • Age discrimination is common in many churches. Though my information is anecdotal, it spans over 20 years and thousands of churches. Age discrimination in hiring pastors and church staff is pervasive.
  • Churches do not discriminate maliciously. You will rarely hear church members and leaders talk about their refusal to consider candidates of certain ages. It is more the intentional way they seek candidates. For example, a church may determine their ideal candidate to be in his or her 40s. That obviously minimizes the chances they will hire persons in their 30s or 50s.
  • Many churches determine candidate profiles by surveying church members.

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