From Sharon O'Neill
“Pastor’s Wife!” Now there’s a phrase I’ve fought and hated for 25 years.
Name one other profession where the partner has this automatic tag line with a bucket load of expectation?
I can’t think of one other profession.
Nor can I think of one other profession where there is an expectation that the partner will give up their career, their interests, their spark to “follow,” “support” and enable a two for one deal.
There are couples who make decisions to work in the one business and where the business might lean more towards one partner’s wiring and interest.
Likewise, there are couples who facilitate or enable one another’s careers.
But in each of these instances they are decisions made between the couple for the couple’s interest.
In church world “pastor’s wife” is an expectation often placed on a woman by church culture and history.
I have fought to be a pastor in my own right for 25 years. I remember about 6 years after we church planted I applied to do my Masters and asked a very well known Christian leader if there was any way I could have my Social Work Degree and my experience as a church planter credited as part of the process. I was told, “I couldn’t ride on the coat tails of my husband. My husband had church planted not me. I was simply his helper…the pastor’s wife.”
Some may go well that was over 20 years ago things have changed.
I sat at a breakfast two years ago and every pastor at my table was acknowledged as being present and welcomed except for me. Now I don't’ think I’m such an awful person that I’m not worth acknowledging and anyway Christians are meant to be warm, welcoming and caring, so the only reason I can think for the lack of acknowledgement was a refusal to see my role and position and to simply see me as a “pastor’s wife.”
I could go on…
I know in time and tradition it was once a highly respected title.
But as I look down through the corridor of time, I’m not sure that it is the best we can do.
There are women who are pastors in their own right. Their husband may be a pastor but so are they. They are both equal, able to pastor in their own skill set and gift mix.
Then there are the job sharers. Women who, like their counterparts in business want to job share the ever broadening and demanding role of pastor.
Limited funds often mean the church can only employ one not both.
Rather than acknowledging the shared role fearing the financial implications we relegate the woman to “pastor’s wife.” She’s not really working, she doesn’t really have a role but if she doesn’t perform or live up to the unspoken expectations of her job description then we will need to call an all-night prayer meeting for revival so she learns to be a good supportive wife.” Expectations become blurred, unrealistic and often confusing for all.
Then there are women who know their role is not to job share or to be a pastor.
God has positioned them in other roles in other sacred spaces in our world.
These women have vital contributions to make to the world, to the church, to humanity in those spaces.
Unfortunately, many of these woman have felt no alternative but to give up on their own dreams and gifts, to follow their husband and to take up the role of pastor’s wife. A role they are neither equipped for or gifted in.
So what do I want to see happen across A2A?
I also want to acknowledge the women who gave up their dream, their gift, their career, their talent to serve the church and husband and who in doing so felt a bit of who they were died for the sake of everyone else. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Give appropriate titles and freedom. You don’t necessarily want an income but you want to help the church but you’re not a pastor. You might be an administrator, or an accounts, or …. Whatever it is name it up for what it is. But don’t just stick the label “Pastor’s wife” over it because we’re too lazy to come up with an appropriate name. believe me no man would settle for “Pastor’s husband.”
Release women into the market place. If women want to be in the marketplace because that is where God has called them then this is the best space for them to be in for everyone. Celebrate what they do. Acknowledge it. Don't expect them to pick up an extra bucket load of work.
It’s not us being our best. Let’s give an amazing gift to the next generation of women coming up. Let’s see who they are, what they are. Let’s acknowledge the God given call on their life.
4. We drop the never clearly defined expectations which go with the label ‘Pastor’s wife.’
Let’s define the role.
Is she a pastor in her own right who needs employing?
Is she job sharing with her husband?
Does she have a career all of her own which needs to be released and respected?
I'm wrapped that there is currently a resurgence of people around Australia asking how to plant a church that reaches people who don't go to church.
This is an incredibly exciting time with so many men and women both young and not so young wanting to explore new ways of doing church and to discover new ways that they can reach their communities!
The good news is that we will soon be putting on a one day workshop that is available to all prospective church planters, irrespective of movement affiliation, denomination or style. The only thing we want to see in common is a desire to reach our country with the love and good news of Jesus by pioneering new works.
Oscar Muriu who has planted hundreds of churches around the world shared some incredible wisdom at the recent A2A National Conference when he spoke on 9 important keys to effectively planting churches. One of these keys was to plant rabbit churches that can be birthed and multiplied quickly rather than rhino churches that are slow to birth and have a high mortality rate.
Legendary church planter Ralph Moore seeded a rabbit church planting movement in the US where over 2,300 rabbit churches have been planted with some of these rabbits growing to be rhino churches of over 2,000 in size.
Oscar and Ralph aren't saying that small rabbit churches are better, but they are advocates of planting simple rabbit churches that have the potential to become rhino churches.
The good news is that we will be running a 1 day Church Planting Workshop on Saturday 24 August at Our Church in Burleigh Heads, Queensland where we will be unpacking principles and practices that will help equip you to plant rabbit churches that have the potential to become rhino churches.
In the workshop we will be addressing a range of topics that include:
If you are being stirred about the possibility of planting a church, make sure you book your place and come along. And definitely bring prospective team members to help them catch the vision and develop understanding of the steps involved in planting a new church.
Details for the workshop are:
I'm excited that I see many across Australia being stirred at present to consider the call to church plant. If that's you, then this will be an invaluable workshop to help you understand key principles and work out the steps to take to embark on this exciting journey.
If you have questions or want further information, call me on 0419582781 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, A2A (the Acts 2 Alliance)
ps - if you are interested in having a workshop in your region that will help you to discover how you can plant a church, send me an email and we'll see what we can do.
by Phillip Mutzelburg
As I get older, I am often asked to make a comment regarding the approach a Christian should have toward the celebration of Anzac Day. The question put simply is how should a Christian approach this national day?
Let me say from the top as an ex professional soldier who served during the Vietnam era and lost mates to the ravages of war, it should never be the intention of anyone to celebrate war, but a grim reminder that we cannot glorify war
On Thursday the 25 April we will celebrate as a nation our most sacred day, Anzac Day
Anzac Day is important to us because it is widely accepted that the spirit of the nation was born on the blood-stained beaches of Gallipoli.
It should never be the intention of anyone to celebrate war, but a grim reminder that we cannot glorify war
Australia is the only nation of the modern era not born in blood and there is credible thinking from scripture that unless there is the shedding of blood
a covenant cannot be established.
1 Jan 1901 was a peaceful day around the colonies, they came together in exuberant celebration to form the new nation of Australia. There was no blood on the streets and things continued much as before. Once the parties were over, numerous newspaper reports stated that the overwhelming feeling in the community was, "nothing much has changed".
The 25 April 1915 was a dreadful day of human carnage and the blood of young Australian's was everywhere. Everything changed for Australia that day and the nation has never been the same since.
The spirit of our nation was born at Gallipoli, but we can take heart that a spirit of war was not born at Gallipoli.
Young Australians went ignorantly to the adventure of seeing new places and experiencing what, to that time, they could only read about. They had no idea they would be thrown into a four-year struggle commanded by a foreign power that had little regard for human life.
There is some research that suggests Australians are more resistant to settling disputes with arms than many of the nations we are allied with. It is truly a last resort for us, but as member of a community of nations there are times when we do go to war.
Here are a few musings about war for consideration.
What is the cause of war ???
The bible says it is selfishness and pride
James 4 v 1 -2 says….
Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? They come about because you want your own way and fight for it. Deep inside yourself you want what is not yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.
Is it ever right to fight?
Ecc 3 v 8 and 11 says….
There is a time for war and a time for peace,
and everything is beautiful in its time.
Many of the heroes of faith were military men. There are numerous examples of war being the means that God used to work out his purpose.
Jesus honoured the station in life of the Roman Centurion.
Jesus himself used force to remove the money changes from the temple.
Will the world ever have permanent peace?
There is a day coming, but not until Jesus comes back.
Jesus said in Matt 24 v 6….
There will always be wars until the prince of peace comes back.
We will not see peace in our lifetime.
We do not celebrate war on Anzac Day. You will never hear a veteran talk about the glory of war, but you will hear over and over again, I hope no one ever has to suffer the pain of battle again. I hope our young men and women never have to experience what we experienced.
We will never celebrate war on Anzac Day,