First Ladies: The Unsung Pulpit Partners (Part 2)

(For the backstory, check out Part 1 first.)

Transition to the Pulpit

Since Denise was already a member of the church where she became first lady, there was quite an adjustment from being a college girl to becoming the first lady. “I made a lot of friends at Emmanuel from my years at Buff State, so my friends had to learn how to respect me in a different light,” she says.

***

I’ve been told I don’t act like a pastor’s wife,” Sharon says, “but I take it as a complement to say that I’m down to earth.  I’ve been told by people that they are waiting to see what I have on in the pulpit and I just take it that I’m a role model which can be a positive tool to use to minister to young ladies.  I have never heard any negative things about me directly, but I learned to evaluate what is being said. If it’s true, I try to be mindful of it and grow and develop in the area, but if it is not true, I pray that the individual who said it would grow and mature in that area.”

***

“Being a pastor’s wife is rewarding, but you can also feel isolated,” Denise admits. Another first lady advised Denise to be mindful of how she behaves—to never let people see her cry or get upset. Denise said she felt like she had to be perfect.  She also had to deal with people’s expectations of how she should act and dress. “Some people wanted me to wear hats like their previous first lady.”

***

Iris says she wasn’t a kind of first lady who could sit around and look cute wearing a big hat. “Ladies have to see that you’re a person,” she says. “Sometimes you like to have fun, but sometimes you cry and you go through things.”  Similar to Denise, when Iris became the first lady, well-meaning, mature people in ministry advised her not to be friends with the other women in the church, but to just be friends with other ministers and keep to herself otherwise. But Iris rejected that notion. “I like to hang out with the other ladies, I invite them to my house, and I teach them. I tell people that we do things not because the pastor says so, but because the Bible says so.”

Continue reading “First Ladies: The Unsung Pulpit Partners (Part 2)”

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First Ladies: The Unsung Pulpit Partners (Part 1)

The following four-part series of posts is from a previously unpublished article, originally titled “Ladies Keeping God First,” that I developed because of the general mystery I perceived around pastors’ wives. One of my best friends from high school has been a pastor’s wife for several years, but to me, that’s different because we grew up together (her story is included here). However, I was recently a member of a church with a single pastor who married during my time there, and for whatever reason, a few years went by without me really getting to know her or hear from her regularly. Thus the “mystery” ensued, and so did my curiosity.

The recent and currently unresolved scandal with Bishop Eddie Long and his alleged indiscretions again raised issues about the loyalty of a pastor’s wife.  (She has been no more vocal than her husband, but I won’t get into that here.)

I currently worship at a nondenominational church in Georgia, but I was raised as a Baptist in New York. Once I moved south, I noticed that many denominations, including Southern Baptists, did not condone or allow women in the pulpit, nor women to speak to or teach men. This practice disturbed me, and the ladies I interviewed for this story touch on this and other issues.

I’ll post Parts 1 and 2 this week, with Parts 3 and 4 to follow next week. If you haven’t already, I invite you to subscribe to my feed right now, so you won’t miss a thing!

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Ladies Keeping God First

What does it take to manage a household as a wife and mother, take care of the kids, a husband, work full-time, all while working in full-time ministry side-by-side with your husband, who pastors a church?

The life of a first lady is anything but ordinary. She—like her husband—has a divine assignment that is not to be taken lightly.

Continue reading “First Ladies: The Unsung Pulpit Partners (Part 1)”

Not All Popular Preachers Are Pimpin’

Are you so jaded to think that every preacher on TV is tryin’ to pimp you out of your money or your clothes? [In my Bill Cosby voice] C’mon people!

It annoys me when I read or hear comments about credible people who I have learned from, saying that they are ‘nothing but false preachers.’

Nothing but?!

Is that simple? Can you really discount everything about the person’s message (that’s what nothing but does)? Do you have inside ties or information about this person to back up what you’re saying? Even if you do, one person doesn’t qualify to give the rest–or Christianity–a bad name.

And are tithers really stupid to give their hard-earned money to a preacher? Well I don’t look at like that at all. Do you know the average pastor’s salary? I choose to tithe out of obedience to and faith in God, because I have to answer to Him–not anyone down here.

Now I can agree that there ARE false preachers out there (Matthew 7:15, 1 Timothy 1:3, 4 and chapter 4). But not every preacher on TV is necessarily a ‘prosperity preacher’. There is a balance between teaching people how to live the life Christ died to give them–a more abundant life (John 10:10; 3 John 1:2)–and being meek, humble and holy. Everyone perceives humility and holiness differently, but I don’t think you should totally discredit a preacher because s/he likes nice things. Whose to say those funds came from the church?

I worship in my local community and occasionally watch preachers on TV and read their books. Because I have read the Bible for myself, and continue to study it, I know if someone’s message is coming from God’s heart or from their own personal gospel and opinions. You have to know the Word for yourself before you can discern others’ motives. Please believe it.

What kind of fruit does this person’s ministry (and their life) produce (Luke 6:44; Matthew 21:18-19)? Is the person’s own immediate family on the up and up? Are lives being changed for the better as a result of their efforts? Are people coming to Christ and learning how to live their lives to be more like Him (their character, attitude, and integrity)?

I agree that people in positions of leadership are called to a higher standard (1 Timothy 3), but I say don’t let someone’s bankroll, clothing, or vehicle of choice dissuade you from ministers who are popular. They’re not perfect, and as humans they may stumble, but they’re not necessarily crooks trying to prey on those who are already down. Infighting only weakens our cause.

There are thousands, millions, zillions of preachers and teachers of God’s Word that are not out to get you. They really love the Lord and have committed their lives to doing His work, spreading the gospel (that is, the Good News of Jesus Christ– Matthew 28:16-20), and are active servant leaders helping their communities. Please back up off of these, my sisters and brothers in Christ who are trying to do the right thing and making a great impact.

 

“Touch not my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”– 1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15

P.S.- If you want to quickly look up the above-mentioned scriptures or any others in your favorite Bible version, go to http://www.biblegateway.com/ or your favorite online Bible resource. And if I’ve missed the mark, give me some food for thought–I don’t have all the answers.

La Familia: Home Court Advantage?

familia_wordle

Are there privileges that come with being someone’s relative when it comes to their offensive behavior or personality?

Someone told me that just because you may reach out to have a closer relationship with someone who is your family member, does not mean that person is obligated to take you up on it. Much like friendships that you choose to create and develop, you have to be conscious about maintaining your relationship with someone (if you want to keep them as close as you once were). My question is, do we give family members carte blanche over other relationships, to behave in certain ways and let it go or make excuses, just because they’re family? Continue reading “La Familia: Home Court Advantage?”

Under the Influence

Influence Word Collage
Influence Word Collage

When it comes to the people we spend time with, we must be careful of their influence on us.

In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul warns us that bad seed corrupts good morals. How do you protect yourself from other people’s bad morals from corrupting you? Continue reading “Under the Influence”

The Art of Letting Go

CC10_WordleEvery day we have opportunities to be offended by something or someone. We can choose whether to react to the offense, or to let it go. I’d like to share my story with you about overcoming offense.

I remember a time when several depressing things occurred in the span of one month. The wage for my contractor position was cut by $20 per day. I had a couple of friends and family members who were supposed to help me do some things with my house or just visit from out of town, and I felt ignored and neglected. Then to top it all off, someone that I dated married a good friend of mine (or so I thought–I was friends with the female before I met the guy). So I had several opportunities in that month to become offended with people.

Continue reading “The Art of Letting Go”

It’s OK to Be the Only One

I listened to a distressed friend tell me about unappreciated she feels. She said she feels as if she is trying to show people closest to her who she is, but they refuse to see it. She asked me, “How is it that I can come from two parents who are so much one way and I am another? Why don’t they understand me?” Her family by her description lacks good character and integrity. They don’t follow through on their commitments, and they habitually lie and get defensive if it’s brought to their attention.

My friend is really in need of a break; she is married but the way things have been going, she may as well be a single mom. Many people in her life let her down and she can depend on very few.

I listened to her as I often do and was quiet. I don’t like to give my own personal thoughts about touchy things like this because often, depending on a person’s makeup and spiritual maturity, it could be misconstrued. The very first thing I told her was something at the end of this blog (I want to save the best for last). But then I heard myself tell her that it’s ok to be the only one.

Continue reading “It’s OK to Be the Only One”