Break The Mold – Part 1
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His Name together. Psalm 34:3, NKJV
I love the idea of breaking the mold. I want to encourage you to break out of man-made ruts, the fear of man and whatever other non-God-appointed things that have held you back.
So, let’s get started. My husband, Jeff, and I felt impressed of the Lord to break the stereotypical church mold as we began to plant a church. From the time we started dating, we were convinced the Lord had called us to “magnify the Lord together” and we knew two things: we were to pioneer a work that would be “not church as usual,” and we were to operate like the husband/wife team Priscilla and Aquila of Acts 18. By God’s grace, we've endeavored to do that for the past couple of decades! What mold are you supposed to break?
Break the Mold – Be a Husband and Wife Pastoral Team: This recommendation doesn't fit every husband/wife ministry team, but it does fit those who feel called to serve God together. When we started Valley Family Church in 1991, we didn't know any other husband/wife pastor teams where both partners had high profile roles in leadership, teaching and pastoring. We knew many husbands and wives in the pastorate, but most of the women we knew had a low or non-existent profile in the church. At first, we were tempted to fit into that more traditional mold—especially after getting hit with the religious bias against women leading or teaching in the church.
For today, let's talk about the importance of husbands and wives being free to work together to fulfill their callings and utilize their God-given gifts to the max. We’ve known many gifted husbands and gifted wives in ministry, but unfortunately because of a lack of understanding on a few Bible verses, the wife’s role was relegated to playing the piano, cooking in the kitchen or working in kid’s church. Those are great roles, if those are her gifts; but what about the women who are gifted by God with creative minds, teaching gifts, abilities to lead worship, strategic thinking skills, organizational prowess or leadership gifts? In many places, those types of women are encouraged to consider using their “leadership and teaching gifts” on the mission field (where mosquitoes are the size of small helicopters); or they must learn to be content while serving in the nursery or in a ladies Bible study.
For “mold breaking” women who have felt called to make a difference in this world, they’ve had to look outside the church where they could pursue being a corporate CEO, brain surgeon, state governor, senator, superintendent, news anchor or district judge. I have always felt bad for women who were extremely gifted and yet extremely boxed out of any opportunities in the Church. How sad for them and what a loss for their husbands and the Body of Christ.
What would the Church be like if men and women were able to work together in God-appointed and God-anointed ways, based on callings and gifts rather than gender? What if husbands and wives were able to set aside personal ego and competition and work together for the sake of Christ and His kingdom? I know that I am blessed to have a husband who is secure in his distinct calling and free to have a godly, pragmatic approach to doing church—specifically in utilizing the gifts of his wife (as well as the gifts of other women and men in our church). Our gifts are different, but complementary; Jeff recognizes that, and has opened the door for me to serve side by side with him. It's been a fulfilling journey to work together to clarify God’s vision for our lives and church, and then together we get to strategize, build, execute, create, teach and lead our church. In some ways it’s as if our church family is being raised in a “two-parent” House, and it’s been very healthy for everyone.
These days, we know a few more husband/wife teams who operate the way we do in ministry, and we are more convinced than ever that God-ordained couples—where both partners’ gifts are being used to their maximum—is Biblical, and healthy.
How about you? Are you and your partner operating in life and ministry together? How much better would you both be if you broke the mold and maximized each other’s gifts? Have you ever taken an honest look at the strengths and weakness of each other’s God-given gifts and allowed each other to flourish? In what areas do you need to break the mold? Are you tired of living for the approval of imaginary people? Would you like to break free and be the person, the couple, and the family God has called you to be—with no apologies? Do it! Break the mold!
Say It: “Father, I thank You for helping me (us) break the non-God-ordained molds in my life (our lives). In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”