How Women In Ministry Should Behave

Family, Perspectives

I am part of a denomination that allows women to preach. There are some that don’t. And that’s OK, if that’s their interpretation of Scripture. I won’t delve into that here. Each side could argue its “rightness.” The question is, in general, how are women to conduct themselves in ministry?

In two words, like ladies.

Many years ago I knew a Bible teacher who was amazing. He knew the Word inside and out. Thing is, his wife knew just as much, and also taught very well. But when he was the one teaching, she was known to interrupt him. If he said something with which she didn’t agree (or if she thought he was going too long), “Now, Henry . . . Henry!” she’d say.

Poor Henry. How embarrassing. He probably felt like a little boy who’d just been spanked—in front of everybody.

Of course, if she liked what “Henry” was saying, she’d shout out some addition to his words.

Henry: And on the day of Pentecost, they were all in one accord, speaking in other to—

Henry’s wife: And what a day that WAS!

IT distracted everyone.

Can you imagine Nancy Reagan chiming in from the sidelines during one of President Reagan’s speeches? Or any first lady since? First ladies don’t detract from their husbands’ “ministry,” and ladies, neither should we.

Lady, whether you are the pastor or the pastor’s wife, the teacher or the teacher’s right hand, you are a lady. That means that if your husband is preaching or teaching, you don’t butt in.

Of course, if you’re the pastor, lady, you have a different battle altogether. As you preach, you have the double task of being a lady and maintaining the respect and authority due the office of a minister. There are men in almost any congregation who would demean you because of your gender, even though the Word of God retains its power from gender to gender.

My mother was the quintessential pastor’s wife. She could teach as well as my father, yet she never interrupted him or embarrassed him. She supported him, and in many ways, was the glue that held it all together. When it was her time to shine (preach, teach), she would shine. But when Daddy was in the pulpit, she was respectful, as any other parishioner would be. She was a lady at all times.

I have a female friend who is a preacher. She is the evangelist, not her husband. He is a quiet man; she preaches—and can she “preach the fire down”! But she is always a lady.

Regardless of how you view the theology of Marilyn Hickey, one thing is undeniable: she is a lady. Feminine, graceful—but powerful. She preaches without apology. When she’s in the pulpit—hoo boy! Amazing! Yet, all those years her late husband pastored, I’d be willing to bet she never once interjected—because she is a lady.

You don’t have to dress in lace and wear a cameo brooch, but whether you’re the head of the ministry or the neck (because we all know the neck turns the head . . .J), let’s be ladies. God made us special, unique, feminine—even if we’re the “hiney-kickingest” players on the church softball league! If you’re a preacher—then preach it, sister, preach it! But be a lady while you do. And if your husband happens to be preaching . . .

Keep your lipsticked lips together.

Post by writer and editor, Renee Chavez.

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