The Junia Project recently published an article written by my wife entitled, A Day in the Life of a Female Pastor.
The unfortunate reality for my wife and many other women who live with a burning passion for and calling to ministry, is that they have been told by some (mostly men) that the Bible frowns upon or even forbids women to serve as pastors/clergy.
The point of this post is not to address all of those issues, which have been batted around and debated for years. Personally, I still can’t believe that with all the pain, brokenness, disillusionment and despair in the world, there are people who think it’s a good and biblical idea to prevent one half of humanity from serving and giving themselves to its healing and wholeness.
But I digress.
So let me just share with you what my wife, a female pastor, did on the day her post was published and let that speak for itself.
We boarded a plane around 1:30 pm for a long weekend trip back to the Midwest.
With three excited kids in tow we settled in for the first of two legs that would eventually land us in the Detroit area. About an hour into the flight the flight attendants made an announcement over the intercom that there was a medical emergency and anyone with medical expertise was needed immediately. I looked up and saw people starting to move about.
Then I saw a man sitting a few rows ahead of us in seat 22A slouched against the window as people around him tried to wake him up.
I looked again and there in the aisle was who I assumed must be his wife staring horrified and helpless at what was unfolding at 35,000 ft. With tears in her eyes she watched as flight attendants scrambled to set up an AED and a nurse on board ran to help out. Things were going from bad to worse quickly and panic was setting in. I saw the nurse start doing chest compressions.
That’s when my wife, the Lead Pastor of our church, took the lead.
She stood up and said to me, “Jacob, they need a pastor.” At first I thought she was implying something. Like I should get up and go help out. But before I could move she was halfway down the aisle. So I stayed with the kids and she went and wrapped her arms around the dying man’s wife and began to do what a pastor should do.
She was present in perhaps the most frightening and chaotic moment of this unknown woman’s life. She was near, she was loving and she was praying. She later told me that when she got to his row the man had no pulse, no heartbeat, and was totally unresponsive. And yet, as soon as she began to pray for him (all the while holding his terrified wife in her arms) he opened his eyes! I know…another day, another post on that one. Long story short, about an hour later we got off the plane and walked past a team of paramedics and medical personnel all huddled around this man. Thank God, it looked like he was going to make it!
When they needed a pastor, she answered the call.
She loved tenderly and compassionately. She ministered healing and wholeness. She took the lead and I can honestly say that as a pastor’s husband, I have never been more proud. I could tell the man sitting across the aisle from me sat stunned and a bit shaken by what he had just witnessed. He glanced over and our eyes met. I told him she was a pastor and he leaned over and whispered, “She’s the real deal!”
For those who struggle with that…
For those who don’t want her and so many others like her to be the real deal…
For those who feel they have to safeguard select Scriptures and patriarchal structures for the integrity of the Church…
For those who know the world is in utter turmoil but still choose to exclude half of humanity from fully giving themselves its healing…
For those who resist female leadership in ministry because it threatens the very foundation upon which you have built your own church…
For those who just want her to be a director or assistant or support staff…
I wish you had been sitting next to me on the plane that afternoon. You would have seen a pastor in action.
You would have seen the real deal. You would have seen a pastor answering the call. You would have seen her daughter begging me to go pray alongside her. You would have seen, “A Day in the Life of a Female Pastor” and experienced, “A Day in the Life of a Female Pastor’s Husband”.