The second Wednesday I was serving as Interim Pastor, I made the mistake of asking how many people at the church had had a woman pastor before. Only two raised their hands. Honestly, it surprised me because the congregation was so willing to accept and support a woman pastor. Suddenly, the responsibility of being their pastor, especially when I was called to serve as the pastor was weightier. Not only would I a female pastor, but for many I would be their first impression of a female pastor.
When my husband and I shared that we were going to have a baby, I knew that similar conversation were going to happen. Part of having a female pastor who is young is the possibility that she and her family will have children. With that possibility new discussions arise like maternity leave. Thankfully, there are great resources from Baptist Women in Ministry about maternity leave policies that are extremely helpful.
The other less pragmatic result of sharing life as a female pastor with a congregation is that they too are stretched in their understanding. One of our members shared that he never thought that he would ever say, “My pastor is pregnant,” but that he is so excited for us and our family.
It’s not easy to be different and to be the one who asks congregations to step out of their comfort zone, but I can promise you that it is an enriching experience for me as an individual, for our family, and for our congregation. When you journey with people through life, there is always something new to learn.