It struck me as strange.
I remember not knowing if I should be offended (A male pastor would most likely never find ” ___ is a good father” in his personnel review) or appreciative (Yay. They noticed that I can be a good mom and a good pastor at the same time.)
At the installations of clergywomen over the past year, I’ve noticed that there is often a mention – especially in the Charge to the Pastor or the Charge to the Congregation – about the importance of spending time with family. I haven’t heard the same guidance about family to clergymen.
“It doesn’t matter if my church is happy if my marriage and kids are not happy,” I hear female colleagues say – and of course that is true. Clergywomen seeking new calls mention the hope of balancing work and family in their interview conversations. And of course, balance is a good thing.
But when was the last time you heard someone charge a new clergyman or a clergyman’s new congregation with similar words? When was the last time we heard a male colleague share that he was going part-time after the birth of a child?
I have male colleagues who certainly take their turns with carpools and bedtime stories, but being a father has been something that makes a male pastor more appealing without necessarily impacting his daily ministerial duties. Or am I wrong about that? Being a mother and a pastor implies that There Will Be Juggling at a level that being a father and pastor doesn’t seem to imply. Or am I wrong about that?
What is your experience, friends – especially friends in congregations?
Image of HH, FBC, and me (1989)