I served alongside him in many different capacities. I was Children’s Pastor, Women’s Ministry Director, Sunday School teacher, Choir Director, Worship Leader, Small Group Pastor and Church Secretary. In 2005, we were living in Glenpool, Oklahoma and Duane was serving as Director of the School of Ministry. One day he asked me a life- changing question: Would you like to be ordained? He knew that my heart was committed to ministry and that I had a call from God on my life. So I began my journey to a new role that God designed for me. On May 7th of 2010, I was ordained by Dr. Jess Middendorf, in Rochester, NY.
CPL: How did you and your husband delineate roles? What were the biggest challenges you had to navigate as a ministry couple?
My husband was the nerd and me, the free spirit! I was also the public relations person and politician. I believe we beautifully complimented each other. He was my support in the areas of technical and administrative issues. I was his creative arts person and storyteller. I loved that he would take my sermon and critique my grammar and the flow from one point into another. He was such a great teacher. One thing that made our ministry unique was that we “Team Preached” which consisted of us sharing portions of the same sermon. One of my husband’s big concerns was that we transition seamlessly and he was very intentional about making sure that I was ready to walk up to the microphone even before he was done with his point. His attention to that detail paid off because the comment we often heard from people was that we carried thru with the same theme even while transitioning.
CPL: How has your husband’s death impacted the way you minister?
Since my husband’s death, my faith has been taken to a new level. I am so keenly aware of how dependent I am on the Lord to provide my needs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like there was no way through a situation and God would show up in an incredible way. God has reassured me that if I would give Him myself with no reservations, that He would provide the grace, strength and wisdom I need.
CPL: Tell us what your weekly rhythm looks like now that you are the main preacher.
As a lead pastor going through transition, I have discovered that it is difficult to establish a rhythm. That rhythm depends on many factors: a good supportive staff, a lay leadership team that is dedicated and on the same page, a cooperative congregation that wants to make an impact for God in their community. After the death of my husband there was a great change in my weekly ministry rhythm. As a staff person I was involved in particular areas of ministry. When I was elected the lead pastor by the church not only did I have the responsibilities of my staff position but all those that my husband had been doing as well. I have been able to delegate most of the administrative responsibilities to our new Administrative Pastor, which has significantly lightened my load. My shepherding role has increased exponentially in counseling, visitation, guest follow up, and compassionate ministries. I have a staff that helps in these areas but I am ultimately responsible and have to stay “in the loop” dealing with these matters.
One of the biggest responsibilities is the preparation of a weekly sermon that I preach in three Sunday services. I have dedicated two days a week as time for prayer, reading, writing and editing of my sermons. I have also established the days I will be in my office or available for one-on-one conversation. I am still sorting out and adjusting roles in the church and hope that soon I will have established a rhythm so I can truly enjoy a day set aside for a Sabbath rest.
CPL: What encouragement might you offer to women preachers and pastors especially?
I want to encourage all women to remember the message of Scripture that is also the abiding testimony, though not always consistent, of the church throughout the ages. It is declared by the Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter three: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Women are called and gifted to serve in any and all places in the church. The biblical basis for service in the body of Christ is not gender, but a call from God, giftedness and godly character. I believe if we give ourselves unreservedly to God, He will provide the grace, strength and ability to accomplish His will.