I thought I was finished with this series of posts until a point of clarification came to my mind. It’s a bit more practical and “how to” in my thinking than the rest. I hope this will help many of you to see how I apply the things I’ve already covered in this series.
My wife, Mindi, has been God’s greatest gift to me, after the person of Christ. I don’t say that lightly or for any reason except for the simple fact that it is obviously true from my perspective. Her home-life as a child was much more consistently Christ-centered than mine. Her ability to communicate and be considerate of what is going on inside of poeple is much more finely tuned than mine. She has been taught, from a very early age, to consistently be asking, “What does GOD think (about whatever she is facing)?” Those and many other qualities and skills that she possesses have benefited me in countless ways and have blessed many people besides me throughout our ministry life together (if you are one of those people, I’d encourage you to post a comment saying how she has been used of God to bless your life – so those who don’t know either of us can get a feel for the kind of person she is – and to know that I’m not making this up!).
As a Pastor and Elder in a local church for the past how-many-ever years, I’ve learned that her partnership with me is invaluable. She has discernment about people (the sheep I am called to shepherd) that is typically right-on, and that I would have missed on my own. I have learned that much of that relational insight comes as a direct result of her being a woman. There’s TREMENDOUS value in that – that I MUST recognize and humbly receive. As a Pastor I talk with her about almost every situation with which I am faced (unless it’s in regard to a confidence I’ve agreed to keep). I listen to her perspective, as a woman and as my wife and partner, and I often adjust or altogether change my intended actions based on her input – because I glean greater wisdom than I had on my own.
I’ve come to trust her relationship with the Lord, her ability to discern right from wrong, and her intuition about people. I think that’s a HUGE (did I say HUGE) part of what a husband/wife partnership in marriage is all about! That’s how we are MEANT to function together. She’s neither a liability as a woman nor a simple “bonus” to enrich my life! She’s an integral part of the ministry we do TOGETHER! It’s OUR ministry under God’s authority and calling, not just mine. Even though I’m the one in the leadership role within the church, she’s as much a part of it as I am – she’s part of God’s provision for HIS WORK to be accomplished in this scenario in which we’ve been placed (remember the old quote by Hudson Taylor, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s provision”? She’s part of that provision for this work of ministry to be done! Isn’t that obvious?).
I believe that any man who is in a church leadership role (Pastor, Elder, etc.) who DOES NOT include his wife in the ministry responsibilities that God has called THEM to do together is very short-sighted and perhaps risking great damage to the flock he is called to shepherd. And if he is unwilling to benefit from his wife’s wisdom as a woman because he believes that theologically it is “not her place” (or some other such idea), he’s very sorely mistaken in the way he understands not only church leadership, but also the very foundational structure, meaning, and purpose of marriage!
I said all that to say this…
In reading my previous posts on this subject you might get the feeling that I simply tolerate women, or try to be nice to them but still think they are “less capable” than men. You might think that I give women “lesser” tasks to placate or pacify them so as not to cause too much of a stir in the church. None of that could be further from the truth. In our church there are women (very competent women I might add) in VERY VITAL roles within our church community (finance committee, worship leadership, eventually as Deaconesses – when we get them established, etc.). And all of that is in ADDITION to the irreplaceable role my wife plays in my leadership and oversight of the church as its pastor. NONE of this denegrates the Biblical truths that I’ve already discussed, nor does it diminish the role of men. I believe they are effective applications of what both marriage and the church are INTENDED TO BE!
Comments are still welcome…