Women in Leadership http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership Wed, 25 Nov 2015 05:15:21 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb What in Your Life Is Worth a Grand Celebration? http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22301-what-in-your-life-is-worth-a-grand-celebration http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22301-what-in-your-life-is-worth-a-grand-celebration

Last week I attended the 50th anniversary celebration of my alma mater, Oral Roberts University. And let me tell you, this was indeed a celebration of the rarest and most deserving kind.

This university, built in the middle of a cow pasture in south Tulsa, was a mere baby during the years that I was a student on that hallowed soil from 1973 to 1977.

And then I had the amazing opportunity to be employed at the university as the first women's chaplain from 1977 to 1979. ORU's steps were no longer wobbling with infant uncertainty. But this premiere institution, where academia and Spirit-led living collided, began marching ahead to make a place for itself among the finest Christian universities of this nation.

During the years of working in the chaplain's office at ORU, I was baptized into the realization of what genuine ministry is all about. During those glory years of ORU's second decade, I received my assignment from the Father ... to minister to women.

To teach the Word to women. To encourage hurting women. To call women out of their pain into His abundance.

To help the daughters of the King understand exactly who their Dad is. To laugh ... and cry ... listen to ... and bring truth to women.

Last week, ORU alumni gathered from Zambia and from Germany, from California and from Chicago, from Texas and from New York, from Canada and from Mexico to celebrate 50 years of God's faithfulness.

The charge that Oral Roberts heard from God concerning the students who would attend ORU in all of the generations to come was this:

"Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim and where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth."

ORU faculty and staff from every era, alumni from around the world, current students and friends of the university joined in the exuberant jubilee and worshipped with reckless abandon.

We worshipped the miracle-working God who is still moving today. We sang until the tears dripped down our cheeks and then we sang some more. We sang the worship songs that were written by the sons and daughters of the university. 

Do you know what I learned during those moments of rare and rich worship?

I learned that it is in the presence of God that a miracle of rejuvenation happens. Worship becomes that magnificent fountain of youth! Everyone, regardless of biological age, is young again when worshipping the God of eternity. Old things are passed away and everything has become new when God is put in His rightful place.

We also listened to the voices of the greatest men and women of the past 50 years who have served God without pause, without fanfare and without the approval of culture.

Do you know what I learned while sitting at the feet of the true generals of the faith?

I learned that we serve a God who is still speaking today. I heard God's voice as a young collegiate on that campus ... and I heard God's voice again last week at 60 years old.

So, what is all of this about? Why should you care about the celebration that happened at 7777 South Lewis, Tulsa, Oklahoma, last week?

I hope that you have experienced something so grand in your life that it deserves a noble celebration. Take the time out of your busy life to celebrate that which has stood the test of time and has challenged you to become the person that you are today.

Celebrate your marriage, celebrate your parents, celebrate dear friendships, celebrate your children and celebrate your faith!

Celebrate your freedom, celebrate your co-workers, celebrate creation. Find something to celebrate and then do it loudly!

Second, I pray that you know the value of worship in your life. Worship loudly. Worship intensely. Worship with tears and with laughter. Sing the songs of your generation, and then worship some more!

You serve a God who is worthy to be celebrated! His faithfulness extends beyond your circumstances and His love is splashed on your life in spite of the number of your years.

Third, listen for the voice of God. God is still speaking today and will continue to speak for all of eternity! God is speaking ... are you listening?

Listen to the voices of those who have gone before you on this journey called "life" and learn to treasure their wisdom and their insight. Listen to the voices of ordinary friends who have loved you through drought and through delight. Listen to the voices of the next generation and learn from their youthful exuberance and enthusiasm.

And finally, go. Go where His light is dim and His voice is heard small. Go to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Go and be a healing agent in someone's life. Go and make a difference either large or small. Just go in the name and power of Jesus.

Celebrate ... worship ... listen ... and go.  There is no greater celebration than that.

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical, biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books: No More OrdinaryHoly Estrogen!The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released on Aug. 1. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Carol McLeod) Women in Leadership Fri, 30 Oct 2015 12:00:00 -0400
Marilyn Hickey: Angels Shut Lions' Mouths http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22064-marilyn-hickey-angels-shut-lions-mouths http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22064-marilyn-hickey-angels-shut-lions-mouths

Angels are sent to believers to take care of the ions in their lives.

The devil pretends he is a lion. He has a big mouth and he walks around roaring and looking for meaty Christians to devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). But angels know how to shut lions' mouths.

The Old Testament prophet Daniel discovered an angel's power over lions in a dramatic way one day.

Daniel was not a young man when he encountered lions. He was probably more than 80 years of age, however, he had learned to handle lions long before he had his personal encounter with them.

In James 4:7 we are told to resist a lion (Satan) by standing in faith. Daniel had learned how to pray God's Word. From the first day of his cap­tivity he purposed in his heart to stand uncompromisingly on God's Word. We never find him praying problems; only promises and thereby only receiving provisions. He had learned how to resist a lion. He stood fast in the Word, however, his praying didn't keep him out of the lions' den.. His praying put him in the lions' den.

Daniel had a very important position in the Persian empire. He was one of three presidents who were second only to the king. He had power, wealth and favor. The Bible says he was promoted because he had an excellent spirit. This aroused envy in the other rulers and they looked for ways to destroy Daniel.

They found Daniel to be faithful with no evil in him but they did discover one "glaring error" in him. He prayed too much. He had a disciplined time for prayer three times a day. Being more than 80 didn't keep him from bowing his knees. It was no secret because he opened his window and prayed toward Jerusalem three times a day.

David, who also fought lions, prayed three times a day (Psalm 55:17).

The presidents devised a plan they felt would please the king and remove Daniel from power. They came to Darius to persuade him to pass a decree that no prayer should be made to anyone but the king for 30 days.

The decree appealed to the king for it made him a deity. And once a decree was passed, it could not be revoked, even by the king himself.

Daniel did not have to get ready to face the lions, he stayed ready. His prayer life is shown throughout the book.

He prayed privately in Daniel 6:10: "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks to God, as he did aforetime."

He prayed earnestly in Daniel 9:3: "And. I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes."

He prayed desperately in Daniel 10: 2-3: "In those days, I, Daniel was mour­ning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were ful­filled."

He prayed powerfully in Daniel 10:12: "Then he said unto me, 'Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to under­stand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.' "

When the king was brought the news concerning Daniel's prayer life he saw the neatly planned trap and became disgusted with himself. The king spent the night worrying while Daniel was in the lion's den. Daniel did not. He was prepared.

Early the next morning, the king called to Daniel and to his surprise and joy the strong voice of Daniel an­swered: "My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths." Daniel hadn't been scratched in his ordeal with the lions.

Darius was so impressed he published a decree proclaiming the greatness of Daniel's God. He declared:

1. God is living.

2.   His kingdom is eternal.

3.   His dominion is unto the end.

4.   He delivers and rescues.

5.   He works signs and wonders.

6.   He sent an angel and delivered Daniel from the lions' den.

The story opened telling of Daniel's prosperity and closed with Daniel's prosperity. What made him prosper? Very simply, it was faith. Faith in God's Word. Angels move to our aid when we move in God's Word.

You may have an overnight stay in a lions' den sometime. Let me give you some advice on how to cope with lions.

1. Read your Bible before you arrive in the lions' den.

2. Have a disciplined prayer time before lions are sniffing at your clothes.

3. Give God the glory for your angelic deliverance.

4. Pray for those watching you in the lions' den.

5. Keep an excellent spirit.

6. Know the Bible will work for you.

7. Decide you are a success.

8. Look to God.

 9. Keep your focus on the Word in a crisis..

 Daniel didn't try to get the king to help him,' he appealed to the King of Kings. It is the King of Kings who dispatches angels to your rescue.

 Because of his faith, Daniel receives an honorable mention in Hebrews 11:33, "who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness., ob­tained promises, stopped the mouths of lions." Daniel means "God is my judge." Put your trust in a righteous God who is .judge of all and He will send His angel to stop the mouth of lions.

One cold, snowy night several winters ago I also had an experience with that old pretender lion the devil and my angel.

 I fixed dinner for my family and looked forward to a relaxing evening at home alone with only our black toy poodle, Beethoven. My husband and son had left to take an oil painting lesson and my daughter had gone to her piano lesson. It was so rare to have such a night at home alone, I thought I would savor every moment of it. I had been wanting to try a new cake recipe and what better time could I have?

 I took the newspaper clipping out of my recipe file and began to get out all the ingredients. Running up the stain to our bedroom to find an apron, I heard the ring of the- bedroom phone interrupting the warm silence I had been enjoying. Hastily I picked up the phone wondering who would be calling on my solitary night which I had so relished. Answering questions in rapid-fire yes's and no's, I waited impatiently for the opportunity to say good-bye.

After 10 or 15 minutes, I hung up and hurriedly walked down the steps to continue my cake baking: While I had been talking on the phone I had kicked off my shoes and I remembered that as I walked down the steps in my stocking feet. But, impatient to get at my cake baking, I decided to leave my shoes in the bedroom.

As I walked into the kitchen, a cold wind hit my feet and the reason became obvious when I saw our back door wide open. My first thought was "which one of my children.has left the door open?" and yet I knew in my heart that no one in our family would have left the door open on such a cold; wintry night.

 Before I could react, Beethoven went over to our black, wrought iron fence which separates our family room from our kitchen.

The family room was dark but our little poodle was aware of more darkness than merely the absence of light. He let out a low, throaty growl. Every little black curly hair on his body seemed to be standing at atten­tion. He was alert and ready to jump through the wrought iron railing.

There was no question in his mind that there was an intruder someplace in the darkness of that room. By now, there was no question in my mind either that . there was an uninvited guest and perhaps a dangerous one. I didn't know whether I should scream, run out the back door, or go into that dark family room and chase out the in­truder.

As these thoughts raced through my mind, it was as though someone took my arm and guided me to close and lock the back door. A calmness which is really beyond description filled my spirit, my mind, and even my body. Every movement I made seemed effort­less. As though it had already been planned. and I was simply walking in steps placed before me.

I picked up our tiny poodle and walked out the front door. When my stockinged feet touched the cold con­crete of our front porch, I suddenly wished that I had gone back up those stairs and put on my shoes. I walked rapidly down the front steps and then ran across the lawn to our neighbor's house to the west of us.

As I stood shivering on their front porch, waiting for them to answer the door bell, I probed in my mind trying to imagine who the frightening, mysterious intruder might be. I could feel the warmth of Beethoven's furry body in my arms and it seemed the only spot of warmth on the whole body. Even my mind seemed to be cold.

At last, my neighbor came to the door. He looked at me as though I had lost my mind — no shoes, no coat and holding a dog. Before he could open his mouth, I opened mine. The words flew out of my mouth, "There's someone in my house, hiding. They came in the back door. Would you please come over to my house with me?"

I waited with my feet almost numb with cold as he grabbed a jacket and a flashlight. The two of us cut across his lawn. I noticed the moon and for a second it seemed like a normal cold Colorado night. Because of the moon light, we could easily see the figure that erupted out of my front door, running in long strides and jumping into a car parked not too far from the front of our house.

Though I could tell the figure was tall, maybe 510" or 5'11", I was not sure it was a male. Much of the movement was like a woman. I felt a sickening feeling in my stomach as I realized that I could easily identify my unwelcome intruder.

She was a large woman with many mental problems our church pastor had counseled. We had all seen some extremely hostile reactions. Three of us had encouraged her to go to a Christian counseling service but she had refused. She had also refused psychiatric help.

Why had she waited until my family was gone? Why had she hidden in some dark corner of our family room? What did she want? What were her in­tentions?

I cannot give you secure answers to these questions but I do know this: my guardian angel was very busy that night. I believe he took my arm and guided me and calmed me in those first moments of panic. My guardian angel is my friend.

When my husband came home with my daughter and son, they walked in the front door to the delicious aroma of freshly baked pound cake. My husband said, "Why is every light in the house on?" My neighbor had insisted on going through every room and closet in the house and turning on all the lights. He had also insisted we call the police but I didn't tell my husband until after cake and coffee.

It  was then I could honestly say that I believed the rescue squad of heaven, God's angels, had come to my aid. "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them" (Psalm 34:7)

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Marilyn Hickey) Women in Leadership Tue, 04 Aug 2015 19:00:00 -0400
Are You a Sarah? http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22040-are-you-a-sarah http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22040-are-you-a-sarah

I have always been fascinated by the stories of the great women of faith whose biographies are included in the Bible. The Holy Spirit, who is an expert on every imaginable topic, selectively chose particular women whose lives were worthy of mention in the greatest Book ever written.

One of the women whose life holds great interest to me is the woman by the name of "Sarah" in the Old Testament. I even believe that Sarah and I just might be kindred spirits.

Sarah was nearly 90 years old and she had never held a baby in her elderly arms. She never had stretch marks, never had lost sleep due to a colicky baby and never had felt the quickening of new life within her womb. 

Sarah's hands were spotted with age and her cheeks were wrinkled by the hands of time.  There was no youthful glow about this woman, Sarah.

Month after month ... year after year ... decade after decade ... Sarah's hopes were dashed and her prayers went unanswered.

I believe that there are Sarahs in the church and that there are Sarahs in ministry today who have waited month after month ... year after year ... and decade after decade ... for God to answer their prayers and fulfill their hopes. Perhaps you are one of the Sarahs of whom I speak.

You have begged God to open doors of ministry for you and have quietly nurtured hopes and aspirations within your heart. You have believed that God would use you and your voice to impact a generation ... or a nation ... or a group of people. You have longed for the opportunity to leave a legacy beyond yourself in being a spiritual mother to spiritual sons and spiritual daughters.

"By faith Sarah herself also received the ability to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised" (Heb. 11:11, MEV).

The word "conceive" in this verse is the Hebrew word "yacham" and it means to "get hot." Because of faith, Sarah received the strength to conceive and defied the limitations of her physical body.

Sarah "got hot" with the passion that refuses to walk by sight and determined that if God had made a declaration then His Words were eternal and promised truth.

Faith inflamed a passion inside of Sarah that circumstances and time could not quench. When Sarah pondered the Person and the promises of God, she resolved that God was faithful. Sarah's faith assured her that God keeps every promise that He makes.

It is time for the women who have been waiting for prayers to be answered to be enflamed with the passion of faith. It is time for the women of this generation not to be limited by age or by unfilled hopes but to give birth to dreams and visions that will impact a generation.

Are you a Sarah? Are you willing to walk by faith when circumstances remain unchanged? Have you determined that faith will ignite in you an unquenchable fervor that will touch nations and history?

Now is the hour for women to "get hot" due to the power of their faith and then to travail in the birthing room of prayer. Now is the hour.

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books: No More OrdinaryHoly Estrogen!The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, will be released on Aug. 1. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. 

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Carol McLeod) Women in Leadership Fri, 24 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
6 Reasons Why Women May Be Leaving Your Church http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22022-6-reasons-why-women-may-be-leaving-your-church http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/22022-6-reasons-why-women-may-be-leaving-your-church

I have the opportunity to be in many churches. In that regard, I am observer of people.

When I enter a worship service, I do a quick scan of those attending. And almost every time I look to the congregation, I notice one clear reality: The majority in attendance are women.

It is for that reason that volumes have been written the past couple of decades about getting more men to attend church. In this brief article, however, I want to look from a different perspective. I want to understand the motivations for women who leave the church. My process was simple; I quickly reviewed thousands of comments on my blog. Many times, I read a comment where a woman told me she had given up on a church.

Here are the six most common themes:

1. Overworked. "I had trouble saying no when I was asked to do something in the church. The leaders piled so much on me that the only way I could get relief was to leave the church."

2. Not valued. "I really don't think the leaders in our church value women. Our roles and opportunities are very limited. I am frustrated. I hope I can find a church where my gifts are appreciated."

3. Relationally hurt. "There was a group of ladies in our church that did everything together. When I tried to join them, they paid me no attention. I don't want to be in a church of cliques."

4. Lack of quality childcare. "The preaching was great and the people were friendly, but the childcare was a mess. It was both unclean and unsafe. I'm not taking my child there."

5. Busyness. "I work full-time. I have four kids at home. I have so many responsibilities. It's tough to give even more of my time to the church."

6. Husband does not attend. "It's tough coming to church without my husband. I am totally responsible to get our three kids to church. And I really feel out of place because the church has groups for married adults and single adults. I don't know where I fit."

Church leaders: See these comments as opportunities for ministry rather than problems that can't be solved.

How would you address these concerns? What is your church doing now? What more would you like your church to do?

Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Thom S. Rainer ) Women in Leadership Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0400
7 Ways to Honor the Pastor’s Wife http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/21782-7-ways-to-honor-the-pastor-s-wife http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/21782-7-ways-to-honor-the-pastor-s-wife

One of the toughest jobs in the church is that of being a pastor's wife.

It has been called the loneliest job in the church.

No doubt I have one of the best. Cheryl has a professional job as an accountant, is an excellent mom and wife, but the demands on her as my wife are some of the most overwhelming.

Still she handles it with grace and a smile.

In this post, I want to help you know how to honor and protect your pastor's wife.

Truthfully, I am not talking on behalf of Cheryl. She would never ask for this and frankly we are mostly in a good church environment as far as the way our staff and spouses are treated. Plus, we came out of the business world into ministry. We were older and more seasoned by life, so we've always approached things differently—protected our personal time more. Sunday is Cheryl's favorite day of the week.

I know, however, because of my work with pastors that many pastor's wives are facing burnout, a sense of loneliness, and some even struggle to come to church. That should not be.

Here are seven ways to honor the pastor's wife:

1. Do not put too many expectations on her. Regardless of the church size, she cannot be everywhere, attend everything and know everyone's name and family situation, all while still carrying out her role in the home. She simply can't. Don't expect her to be super-human.

2. Do not expect her to oppose her husband. She will be protective of her spouse. Hopefully you would equally protect your spouse. If you bad mouth her husband she's likely to respond in a way you don't want her to—but should expect her to. Don't complain if she does.

3. Protect her from gossip. She does not need to know the "prayer concerns" that are really just a way of spreading rumors. And, you know when that's the case. Check your motives in what you share. Don't share what you don't have permission to share.

4. Let her have a family. The pastor is pulled in many directions. The family understands the nature of the job. Life doesn't happen on a schedule. But, in reality, there are often unreasonable demands on the pastor. That always impacts the family. If you can—limit your demands to normal working hours for the church and the pastor. Send an email rather than calling at home if it's not an immediate concern. It will help the pastor have a family life.

5. Include her without placing demands or expectations on her. That's the delicate balance. The pastor's wife is often one of the loneliest women in the church. She rarely knows whom to trust and often is excluded from times that are just for fun. Don't be afraid to treat her as a normal human being. She is. But, if she says no—don't hold it against her either.

6. Never repeat what she says. Ever. If the pastor's wife happens to share information with you about the church or her personal life, keep it to yourself. Always. There will be temptation to share her words as "juicy news," but you will honor her by remaining silent. And over time you will build her trust and her friendship.

7. Pray for your pastor's family. Daily would be awesome. And much needed.

Finally, if your church really wants to honor the pastor's wife, find ways to give her time away with her husband and/or family. That is probably what she needs the most.

Feel free to give a shout-out to your pastor's wife here and share practical ways you can honor your pastor's wife. If you are a pastor or pastor's wife, I would love to hear your thoughts.

(Two closing notes: First, these may work equally well for the husband of a pastor or minister, but I can only speak from my perspective. Second, I've been told numerous times that a pastor's wife IS the problem in the church. That's the subject of another post, but I do understand and recognize that there are times this is the problem. It is very difficult for a pastor to be effective without a supportive spouse.).

Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit churchleaders.com.

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Ron Edmondson ) Women in Leadership Wed, 29 Apr 2015 18:00:00 -0400
'It's Time for Women to Go to War' http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/21710-it-s-time-for-women-to-go-to-war http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/21710-it-s-time-for-women-to-go-to-war

Women, in a unique and powerful way, are God's search and rescue team. When God's heart is pursuing a lost person, often He sends a woman on the chase.

God knows that women have been especially created to care extravagantly about people who need a bit of help and some extra tender loving care. After all, God should know what women are capable of ... He created women just the way we are for His particular purpose. 

And, may I just say, that God's purpose for your life should be your purpose for your life.  No questions asked. No excuses given. Just your life for God's will.

For much of my life I have been content to be a nurse who quietly, gently and kindly gave encouragement to those who were bruised on the battlefield of life. What joy and what safety I have in fulfilling that merciful role. I have loved being a vital part of God's Red Cross.

Recently, however, God has spoken a word to my heart that has emphatically changed my focus and my job description.

God spoke to me and said, "It is time for women to go to war!"

There is a battle raging for the lives of men, women and children, and it is time for the women of this generation to exert their influence and their power and to strategically battle on behalf of those who are caught in the crossfire.

You see ... women can either be content to care for the wounded or we can rise up and fight so that there will no longer be so many who need critical care. We must lend our voices, our hearts, our gifts and our time to the great commission and  thusly prevent someone else's pain.

It's time for the women of God who are alive on the earth today to rise up against the powers of darkness, against the slavery of sexual predators, against the thief of depression, and against the lie of eating disorders. 

It's time for the women of God of this generation to say, "No More!" to abuse, to pornography, to addictions and to self-harm. 

It's time for the women of God to raise a standard of moral purity, to demonstrate the strength that is only extracted from the joy of His presence and to live the abundant life that only Jesus gives.

It's time.

I believe that God is raising up a generation of Esthers. He is not raising up just one "Esther" but He is raising up an entire generation of women who have been born for such a moment as this moment. God is raising up a generation of women who know the power of fasting, who are not intimidated by the compromise of the culture and who are willing to stand against demonic spirits. God is raising up a generation of women who are not afraid of dying but are determined to live boldly and courageously on the battlefield of life.

What will your role be? Because you will, indeed, play a role in the plan of God during your lifespan. Will you cower or will you care? Will you be afraid or will you be a force to be reckoned with? Will you truly live or will you merely die?

It's time for the women of God to go to war. It's time.

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, will be released on August 1. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Carol McLeod) Women in Leadership Fri, 10 Apr 2015 21:00:00 -0400
The Pastor's Wife: The Most Vulnerable Person in Your Church http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/21260-the-pastor-s-wife-the-most-vulnerable-person-in-your-church http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/21260-the-pastor-s-wife-the-most-vulnerable-person-in-your-church

We're all vulnerable.

Everyone who walks in the church door can be helped or hurt by what happens during the following hour or more. Whether saint or sinner, preacher or pew-sitter, old-timer or newcomer, child or geezer, everyone is vulnerable and should be treated respectfully, faithfully, carefully.

However, no one in the church family is more vulnerable than the pastor's wife.

She is the key figure in the life of the pastor and plays the biggest role in his success or failure. (Note: I am fully aware that in some churches the pastor is a woman. In such cases, what follows would hardly pertain to her household.)

And yet, many churches treat her as an unpaid employee, an uncalled assistant pastor, an always-available office volunteer, a biblical expert and a psychological whiz.

She is almost always a reliable helper as well as an under-appreciated servant.

You might not think so, but she is the most vulnerable person in the building. That is to say, she is the single most likely person to become the victim of malicious gossip, sneaky innuendo, impossible expectations and pastoral frustrations.

The pastor's wife can be hurt in a hundred ways—through attacks on her husband, her children, herself. Her pain is magnified by one great reality: She cannot fight back.

She cannot give a certain member a piece of her mind for criticizing the pastor's children, cannot straighten out the deacon who is making life miserable for her husband, cannot stand up to the finance committee who, once again, failed to approve a needed pay raise, or the building and grounds committee that postponed repair work on the pastorium—often called a parsonage, if your church provides one.

She has to take it in silence most of the time.

It takes the best Christian in the church to be a pastor's wife and pull it off. And that's the problem: In most cases, she's pretty much the same kind of Christian as everyone else. When the enemy attacks, she bleeds.

The pastor's wife has no say-so in how the church is run and receives no pay, yet she has a lot to do with whether her husband gets called to that church and succeeds once he arrives.

That's why I counsel pastors to include with their resume a photo of their family. The search committee will want to see the entire family, particularly the pastor's wife, and will try to envision whether they would "fit" in "our" church.

The pastor's wife occupies no official position, was not the object of a church vote, and gives no regular reports to the congregation on anything. And yet, no one person in the church is more influential in making the pastor a success—or a resounding failure—than her.

She is the object of a world of expectations:

  • She is expected to dress modestly and attractively, well enough but not overly ornate.
  • She is expected to be the perfect mother, raising disciplined children who are models of well-behaved offspring for the other families, to be her husband's biggest supporter and prayer warrior, and to attend all the church functions faithfully and, of course, bring a great casserole on potluck night.
  • Since her husband is subject to being called away from home at all hours, she is expected to understand this and have worked it out with the Lord from the time of her marriage—if not from the moment of her salvation—and to have no problem with it. If she complains about his being called out, she can expect no sympathy from the members. If she does voice her frustrations, what she hears is, "This is why we pay him the big salary," and "Well, you married a preacher; what did you expect?"
  • She is expected to run her household well on the limited funds the church can pay and keep her family looking like a million bucks.

And those are just for starters.

The pastor's children likewise suffer in silence as they share their daddy with hundreds of church members, each of whom feel they own a piece of him, and can do little about it. (But that's another article.)

Here is what we owe the pastor's wife:

1. We owe her the right to be herself. She is our sister in Christ and accountable to Him.

My wife was blessed to have followed pastors' wives who cut their own path. So, in some churches, Margaret taught Sunday School and came to the women's missionary meetings. In other churches, she directed the drama team and ran television cameras. A few times, she held weekday jobs while raising three pretty terrific kids.

And, as far as I know, the churches were always supportive and understanding. We were blessed.

Allow the pastor's wife to serve in whatever areas she's gifted in. Allow her to try different things and to grow. But do not put your expectations on her, if at all possible.

Do not try to tell her how to raise her children. Do not try to get to her husband through her with your messages or (ahem) helpful suggestions.

2. We owe her our love and gratitude. She has a one-of-a-kind role in the congregation, which makes her essential to the church's well-being.

Recently, as I was finishing a weekend of ministry at a church in central Alabama and about to drive the 300 miles back home, a member said, "Please thank your wife for sharing you with us this weekend. I know your leaving is hard on her."

How sensitive—and how true, I thought. That person had no idea that my wife underwent surgery two weeks earlier and I had been her nurse ever since, and that in my absence, my son and his family were taking care of her, and that I was now about to rush home to relieve them.

Church members have no clue—and no way of knowing—regarding the pressures inside the pastor's family and should not investigate to find out.

What they should do is love the wife and children and show them appreciation at every opportunity.

3. We owe her our love and prayers. While the Father alone knows her heart, the pastor may be the only human who knows her burdens.

Pray for her by name on a regular basis. Then, leave it to the Lord to answer those prayers however He chooses.

If we believe that the Living God is our Lord and Savior and that He hears our prayers, we should be lifting to Him those whose lives are given in service for Him.

Ask the Father for His protection upon the pastor's wife and children—for their health, for their safety from all harm, and for Him to shield them from evil people.

Pray for His provisions for all their needs, and for the church to do well in providing for them.

Pray for the pastor's relationship with his wife. If their private life is healthy, the congregation's shepherd is far better prepared for everything he will be asked to do.

4. We owe her our responsible care. What does she need?

Do they need a babysitter for a date night? Do they need some finances for an upcoming trip? If they are attending the state assembly or the annual meeting of the denomination, are the funds provided by the church budget adequate, or do they need more? Is the wife going with the pastor? (She should be encouraged to do so, if possible.)

Ask the Holy Spirit what the pastor's wife (and/or the pastor's entire family) needs, and if it's something you can do or provide, do it. If it's too huge, rally the troops.

5. We owe it to the pastor and his wife to speak up. Sometimes, they need a friend to take their side. If your pastor's wife has a ministry in the church, look for people to criticize her for: a) dominating others, b) neglecting her home, or c) running the whole show. To some, she cannot do anything right.

You be the one to voice appreciation for her talents and abilities, her love for the Lord, and her particular skills that make this ministry work.

Imagine yourself standing in a church business meeting to mention something the pastor's wife did that blessed someone, that made a difference, that glorified the Lord.

Imagine yourself planning in advance what you will say, asking the moderator (who is frequently the pastor) for a moment for "a personal privilege" without telling him in advance. 

And, imagine yourself informing a couple of your best friends what you are planning to do, so they can be prepared to stand up "spontaneously" and begin the ovation (Hey, sometimes our people have to be taught to do these things).

The typical reaction most church members give when someone is criticizing the pastor's wife is silence. But you speak up. Take up for her.

Praise God for her willingness to get involved, to not sit at home in silence, but to support her husband and bless the church.

6. We owe them protection for the pastor's days off and vacations. After my third pastorate, I joined the staff of the great First Baptist Church of Jackson, Mississippi, and quickly made an outstanding discovery. The personnel policies stipulated that the church office would be closed on Saturdays and the ministers were expected to enjoy the day with their families.

Furthermore, when the church gave a minister several weeks of vacation, it was understood at least two full weeks of it would be spent with the family in rest and recreation and not in ministry somewhere. As one who took off-days reluctantly and would not allow myself to relax and rest during vacations, I needed this to be spelled out in official policy.

When a pastor is being interviewed for the position and when he is new, he should make plain that his off-days are sacred. The ministerial and office staffs can see that he is protected.

The lay leadership can make sure the congregation knows this time is just as holy to the Lord as the time he spends in the office, hospitals or even the pulpit.

7. We owe them the same thing we owe the Lord: faithful obedience to Christ. Pastors will tell you in a heartbeat that the best gift anyone can give them is just to live the Christian life faithfully. When our members do that—when they live like Jesus and strive to know Him better, to love one another, to pray and give and serve—ten thousand problems in relationships disappear.

Finally, a word to the pastor's wife ...

It's my observation that most wives of ministers feel inadequate. They want to do the right thing, to manage their households well and support their husbands, keep a clean house, sometimes accompany him on his ministries, and such, but there are only so many hours in a day and so much strength in this young woman. She feels guilty for being tired and worries that she is inadequate.

The Apostle Paul may have had pastors' wives in mind when he said, "Not that we are adequate to think anything of ourselves, but our adequacy is of God" (2 Cor. 3:5).

We are inadequate. None of us is worthy or capable of this incredible calling from God.

We must abide in Him, or nothing about our lives will go right.

One thing more, pastor's wife: Find other wives of ministers and encourage them. The young ones in particular have a hard time of it, with the children, the young husband, the demanding congregation and sometimes, Lord help us, even an outside job.

Invite a couple of these women for tea or coffee. Have no agenda other than getting to know one another. See what happens. 

Dr. Joe McKeever writes from the vantage point of more than 60 years as a disciple of Jesus, more than 50 years preaching His gospel, and more than 40 years of cartooning for every imaginable Christian publication.

For the original article, visit churchleaders.com.

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Joe McKeever ) Women in Leadership Fri, 10 Oct 2014 16:00:00 -0400
Karen Evans: An Open Letter to Pastors' Wives http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/20189-an-open-letter-to-pastors-wives http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/20189-an-open-letter-to-pastors-wives


Being the wife of a pastor for 40 years has had its share of challenges that thankfully we learned to navigate, especially early in our marriage.

We were 28 years young with two small children when Jimmy accepted the call to lead Trinity, which made for several very difficult years for our marriage and family. I know our struggles are not unique to ministry couples—far from it. So when Jimmy asked me to write for the July-August issue of Ministry Today, I knew I wanted to share some of my own experiences and story in an honest letter to pastors’ wives. (If you’re a pastor reading this, you’ll likely gain some real insight into your wife’s journey.)

What follows are some specific lessons—sometimes learned in hard ways—to encourage you that you are not, and never have been, alone.

Marriage and family are prime targets for Satan, especially pastors’ marriages. When we began MarriageToday, we were actually going though the toughest times of our lives and marriage. We began to recognize that marriage and family are the areas Satan attacks the most. If you’re a pastor’s wife, you need to grasp that Satan wants to destroy your family even more than the church.

Understanding how God sees me gives me the freedom to be myself. I knew I was not the typical “pastor’s wife.” I didn’t teach or have any musical abilities. Our church never put pressure on me to be anything more than Jimmy’s wife.

However, the first couple of years were very trying. Jimmy and I had no mentors or experience. We loved our church and the people, but the stress began bearing down on us personally. I was fighting feelings of not being the wife Jimmy needed to lead the church as well as my own insecurities. The greatest struggle for me was to not feel guilty about who I was as a person before we came to the church. I would beg God to change me and tell Him I would accept the gift to speak if He wanted to give it to me.

The year before Jimmy became senior pastor, I had begun reading the Word every day. I had made a commitment to God to know Him and Jesus for myself. I was growing in my relationship with God and His Word and realized I was gifted in serving. I loved discipling women to grow in Christ. I also had a love for prayer. I found that serving in different areas of ministry helped me feel accepted and take my mind off myself. 

The real changes came when I began to see myself through the Word and not my fears and insecurities. The Lord was healing me by His Word, and it caused me to start to see value in myself. I began to deal with the guilt and see my worth as a child of God and to not feel unworthy if I loved being a wife and mother. I began to accept myself and not be afraid to just be me.

When the ministry comes before the marriage, something has to give. Being married to a pastor is even more of a reason to keep your marriage first. Because of his own fears, Jimmy began to disconnect from us emotionally and mentally, which caused me to withdraw, too. Ministry began to take its toll on our marriage. The constant stress of trying to raise young children was difficult. I knew in my heart that being honest about the stress was important. I supported Jimmy with all the church issues but couldn’t accept his behavior of checking out on us at home and leaving me feeling like a single parent. The resentment toward each other grew. I would seek counsel from elder friends, but even they didn’t seem to have answers.

After months of fighting, we began to realize that the ministry had come before our marriage. It’s funny, but during that time I never questioned if Jimmy was supposed to leave the church. He actually was the one who offered to quit to save our marriage. I knew quitting was not the answer, but protecting our marriage before the church was. 

We began to talk about how to cut back on the demands. Jimmy encouraged me to see that just being his wife was a full-time job along with parenting and volunteering at church and other places. My own journey of healing and maturing came as we both learned how to lead the church and have a great marriage. After years of Jimmy driving himself to exhaustion and sickness, we now go over what is important and the timing of his schedule together. Above all else, keep your marriage first.

What one of us goes through affects both of us. Being the wife of the senior pastor had even more challenges. I love our church, and the people are amazing. But every church deals with struggles and pain and hurts from other people. Often, we would hear about people we loved leaving or talking bad about Jimmy and the elders. It hurt deeply to lose relationships; it seemed as if people cared more about the issues than the friendships.

Many times, Jimmy and I would talk about quitting the ministry altogether and moving where no one knew us and just be normal church people. But our hearts wouldn’t let us. We would pray and talk and pray some more and forgive again and again. We dealt with the hurts by talking about everything and not allowing each other to withhold forgiveness or harbor secrets.

Jimmy and I are accountable to each other, and he’s accountable to our elders. I have even personally called some of his close elder friends to tell them about situations that were affecting him personally. He and I are one, so what we go through individually affects us both. If you know situations at church are affecting your spouse, don’t be afraid to get help!

Kids, even pastor’s kids, must find their own faith. We also knew our children were in a fish bowl. So we talked to them about how even if we were working outside the church, we would still require them to live in a way that honored God. We never allowed the church to put pressure on them. But at the same time, we knew it was hard for them. As much as we wanted to protect them, they had to find their own faith and go through the many character-building situations of life.

Despite the potential hurt and betrayals of friends, relationships are still worth it. Being a pastor’s wife can be very lonely. I have always had close friends, but I can remember times of feeling very alone in the midst of it all. We give so much of ourselves to the church, and sometimes it’s easy to lose our identity. Most of us go through these common feelings, but as a pastor’s wife we’re afraid to let ourselves be honest with these issues.

I prayed early on that the Lord would bring me friends I could trust. Mature friends who stay with you through the hard times are invaluable. I don’t fear being vulnerable as much as I fear the rejection from those I love. I want to affirm all of you who have had betrayal and loss. It hurts more than most people in your church could ever understand. You know both or most sides of every story, and keeping your mouth shut is hard and lonely. But the Lord sees and knows, and it’s still worth developing relationships that go through the fire with you and are standing with you after the smoke clears. 

Being honest about what you need is the first step to getting what you need. It’s important to let your husband know when you have a need to just vent and when you want him to give his counsel. Many times I’m dealing with issues of my own and just want to talk. I’m not necessarily asking Jimmy to fix it. Sometimes I just need him to be my friend. Let your husband know up front what you’re thinking. Be honest about your fears. It’s also just as important to let him talk and not give advice unless he asks for it. Jimmy and I share the same values, but there are times he doesn’t need my answers as much as my understanding. 

The role I play is vital to our family—and ministry. Through the years, I’ve learned that serving Jimmy in our home is just as important as me serving in the church. I have tried to keep our home a place of peace and rest and order. Even though Jimmy will help me around the house, I always consider him and his schedule and how I can better serve him so he can come home and get away from the demands. We are empty nesters now, so it has been a give and take through all the different seasons of our marriage and children growing up. My friends at church know that Jimmy has been able to do what he does because of my support. I don’t struggle anymore with my destiny being like others, whether it’s at home or in ministry. I have no regrets about making our marriage first and our home a safe haven. The Lord has honored our hearts and given us so much to steward, but the most important thing has been to keep our relationship with Jesus first and then with each other.

I love being a pastor’s wife, and I love our church. Through all the years of trials and joys, I am so grateful for what the Lord has done in our lives and the church. Being part of the bigger body of Christ is an amazing thought, so to all of you who serve alongside your husbands, I say thank you. I appreciate and love the differences we all bring as women, wives and pastors. You are a beautiful part of not only leading but also being an example of helping and serving others. Well done, my friends!

Karen Evans is co-founder of  the international ministry MarriageToday with her husband Jimmy Evans. She and Jimmy have been married for 40 years and have two adult children. 

webmaster@strang.com (Karen Evans) Women in Leadership Tue, 09 Jul 2013 13:00:00 -0400
How to Resolve Conflict With Humility http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/20088-how-to-resolve-conflict-with-humility http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/20088-how-to-resolve-conflict-with-humility

team-conflictRecently I had the opportunity to lead a breakout session at Lifeway’s Kids Ministry Conference 2012 titled "The Non-Confrontationalist’s Guide to Confrontation."

There are three reasons why you want to lean into conflict, the first two of which I already have spoken:

Now, I will address reason No. 3.

The Impact of Humility

Micah 6:8 says, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

Humility is one of the greatest attributes of a leader. And the right response to conflict has a way of accentuating our humility (or lack thereof).

There are two essentials to humility: honesty and empathy.

Leaders have to be willing to identify with the frustration of a team member (empathy) and sincerely speak to the challenges a frustration causes (honesty) before they can help the team member see the value of moving toward a solution.

As a leader, I can help someone move beyond conflict toward a solution simply by identifying with what they are feeling.

How many times do people simply want to be heard?

Humility is stopping long enough to listen before offering a solution. Humility is the ability to simply say, “I’m really sorry. I know that’s frustrating.”

The moments when I leap from problem to solution, I don’t get very far unless I get the other person to leap with me. I get them to leap with me when I pause, listen and identify. Nine times out of 10, when someone feels they’ve been heard, they’re more willing to drop their offense and embrace a solution.

Next, I will finish this series with "4 Steps to Success for Conflict Resolution."

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children’s ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn. For the original article, visit ginamcclain.com.

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Gina McClain) Women in Leadership Tue, 07 May 2013 16:00:00 -0400
Marylin Hickey's Husband Passes Away at 87 http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/19597-marylin-hickey-s-husband-passes-away-at-87 http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/women-in-leadership/19597-marylin-hickey-s-husband-passes-away-at-87

marilyn-wallace-hickeyMarilyn Hickey’s husband, Wallace, passed away on Friday. Known as Pastor Wally, he was born in 1925 and died peaceably confident of better days ahead after 50-plus years of ministry.

Wallace was the founding pastor of Orchard Road Christian Center (ORCC). On fire with a hunger to evangelize in 1958, he soon accepted the pastoral call which is at the heart of his God-given ministry.

Following an initial assignment as visitation pastor in Amarillo, Texas, Wallace and Hickey, returned to Colorado to pioneer Full Gospel Chapel in Denver. Starting with a core of just 25 people in 1960, the congregation grew to more than 2,000 by the mid-1980s.

Renamed Happy Church, it became one of America’s leading centers of charismatic Christianity.  Known today as Orchard Road Christian Center, the congregation is in its fifth decade. The Hickey’s son-in-law Reece Bowling and daughter Sarah now pastor the church.

“I am deeply touched by the prayers, words of encouragement, love and support already expressed to me and my family. Throughout his 87 years, Wally touched many lives and it blesses me to hear the expressions of love extended during this time. He would have loved it!,” Hickey says.
“It was Wally’s desire that we celebrate his passing rather than mourn and so with that we have planned his Celebration Service to be held on Sunday, November 11th at 6pm in the ORCC sanctuary. Truly, it will not be a normal funeral but a wonderful celebration. This was his desire. We will also be praying for the sick and Wally left a special message for you so you don’t want to miss it.”
In lieu of flowers and gifts, Wally requested contributions be sent to Sarah’s outreach, Saving Moses, this way his legacy and love for the lost will continue through.

Saving Moses
Attn: Sarah Bowling
8081 E. Orchard Road
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Jennifer Leclaire) Women in Leadership Wed, 24 Oct 2012 13:00:00 -0400