Episode 28: Empowering Women in Ministry – Interview with Tara Beth Leach

Why does it still surprise me to hear that a woman has been called to be the Senior Pastor of a church?  Why is there still a part of me that thinks ministry leadership is a man’s job?  Probably because the patriarchy of our culture has shaped me more deeply than I know.

But, unlike me, God does not set limits on who is called to ministry leadership.

In this episode, Tara Beth Leach, Senior Pastor of First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena–affectionately known to many as PazNaz–shares the story of her call to ministry and the challenges she has faced along the way.  Tara Beth is the author of Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry.





  • Tara Beth Leach is the Senior Pastor of First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena, or “PazNaz.” She is also the author of Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry.
  • Tara Beth first felt her call to ministry when she was in high school. But she was told she couldn’t be a pastor.
  • Tara Beth had to write a paper about Amy Semple McPherson, which made her begin to rethink her understanding of women in ministry leadership.
  • Even though her Nazarene denomination affirms women in ministry, Tara Beth noticed that the reality was that women were being sidelined.
  • Leading PazNaz has been the hardest thing Tara Beth Leach has ever done.
  • Tara Beth works hard to process the challenge of ministry in a healthy way.
  • Mandy Smith, author of The Vulnerable Pastor, is part of Tara Beth’s support system.
  • The issue of women in ministry is not merely a justice issue; it’s a gospel issue and a missional issue.
  • Tara Beth encourages “amplification,” a practice in which women and men “amplify” the voices of women in the room by repeating and highlighting the words the women in the room are speaking.
  • Tara Beth encourages women to lead from their femininity. But this is a very complicated topic because femininity is, in many ways, culturally constructed. The bottom line for women is basically just…lead from who you authentically are.
  • Patriarchy, which emerged out of the curses in Genesis 3, is not prescriptive (“this is how you should live), but descriptive (“this is what the world looks like when sin becomes part of the story”).
  • We have been called to live by the reality of the resurrection, not under the shadow of the curse.
  • We need to be less myopic and, instead, begin to take note of those around us—men and women—who have been called to ministry.
  • Tara Beth encourages women in ministry to take one faithful step at a time.




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