August 5, 2011
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your husband and ministry etc?
I have been married to Mark for18 years, and for 13 of those (!), we have been in ministry at Seven Hills Anglican church. During that time we have also been blessed with 4 beautiful children, aged 12, 10, 6 and 1. Our situation is a bit unusual, in that when we started at the church, Mark was a part-time lay stipendiary worker, then later became a full time assistant minister, and was appointed senior minister about 6 years ago.
What have been some of the joys of being in ministry?
As I look back over the past 13 years, there have been so many joys in being involved in ministry at Seven Hills. I think one of the greatest joys is simply being part of gospel relationships, sharing deeply in the lives of others and seeing God change and grow people through his Word. I have especially loved being involved in the women’s ministry at our church and the opportunities and special relationships that have grown out of that. It has also been a joy to depend on God in ministry and to see his wonderful faithfulness as he works out his purposes in people’s lives, in spite of and through our weaknesses.
What have been some of the challenges?
One of the challenges for me in ministry is the temptation to lose sight of God’s sovereignty, and to feel overly personally responsible for how things are going. I also have often struggled with working out where to focus my efforts. There is such a huge smorgasbord of opportunities and sometimes frustratingly little time or energy for them. It is taking me a long time to learn contentment with my limitations. Probably the challenge that I have found most difficult, though, is learning how to love people through situations of conflict. Following Equip 2011, I have recently been reading Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker, and am thinking how useful it would have been to have read it before we embarked on full time ministry!
How does partnership in serving God with your husband work out in practice for you?
I am not engaged in any paid outside work, so, after caring for the needs of my family, I am free to be involved in ministry alongside Mark. I guess I spend most of my ‘ministry’ time on women’s ministry, including coordinating and leading the women’s Bible study groups and the women’s ministry team, but in other ways I see myself as just another member of the church – so I only attend 1 Sunday service like most people and just serve in other contexts as I am able (music, kids church etc). So I feel like Mark and I are very much together in this ministry, but my role is very different from his - it is much more flexible, and unlike him, my primary role is at home.
What's the one piece of advice you would give to a younger woman about to become a ministry wife?
I have been reading through 1 John lately, and have been struck by the reminder to “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you” (2:24) and again later to “remain in him” (2:27). Though this is nothing new, my piece of advice for those starting out in ministry would be to make your own spiritual growth a daily priority – so, in practice, remember the cross, cultivate a rich personal prayer life and soak in God’s Word. To my shame, I can’t say I have always given this the priority it deserves, but the older I get, the clearer it is to me that this is essential for persevering in any kind of ministry.