"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

coffee, chocolate and conversations

Last week, I went for coffee. Which is not, in itself, unusual but this coffee was accompanied by a conversation.

Actually, we were at Juliette & Chocolat, so my "coffee" was a hot chocolate.
Which is to say, it was literally a bowl of melted chocolate.
Try not to be distracted by that.
It's just what we do in Montreal.

That conversation has had me thinking for the last few days.

The conversation revolved around the widely acknowledged, nation-wide need for Lead/Senior Pastors in our slice of Christian faith - Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC). Boomers are slowly retiring, and there are a lot of them. Simple demographics, right? 

The conversation also revolved around women who are pastors, usually in a staff position.

A lot of my conversations revolve around women who are pastors.

I mused between sips of melted chocolate (stay focused - don't get distracted), "Are there female staff pastors who are on track to becoming Lead Pastors?" And the response was, "Maybe a few. But they're waiting quietly. Or it hasn't occurred to them. Or they think it's arrogant to consider it. Or their own Leads don't want to lose them."

I got a little speech-y, as I sometimes do.

Possibly because I had reached the end of my bowl of chocolate.

And then the question came back across the table to me. "Well Patti, YOU have two female staff pastors, right? Could they be Leads?"

I gasped. "I just GOT them, and they are AMAZING! Don't take them away!" 

And my friend smiled and said, "That's what all the Leads say."

#Boom #OhComeOn #TotallyGotMe #NeedForLeads

So.... two days ago, I told those two amazing women (both of whom are quite happy as part of our team) that I would be thrilled if they stayed forever, but the truth is, there's a need out there, and the truth is, they each absolutely have the potential to be Lead Pastors at some point. And I told them that if they ever wanted to explore that, they were welcome to talk to me about it, or talk to our District leaders, start working out what the path might look like. 

And then I tweeted this:

"Hey #PAOC female staff pastors:
The need for Lead Pastors is growing in Canada.
There's no reason you can't be one of them."

The response was ... significant. 

So I'd like to put a couple more thoughts out there.

One for other Leads - yep - #LookinAtYou.

"Hey #PAOC Lead Pastors:
The need for Leads is growing in Canada.
Female Leads are still a minority, so the path for your female staff pastors can be unclear.
They need you to show the way & encourage them to consider it."

That one's #TooLongToTweet. This one fits. 

"Hey #PAOC Lead Pastors:
Female Leads are a minority, so the path for your female staff pastors can be unclear.
Give them some pointers."

Here's another, for Boards that just aren't sure if it's ok... #WeveNeverDoneThatBefore

"Hey #PAOC Boards:
Our fellowship fully supports women as Lead Pastors. It's NOT controversial for us.
There are churches across Canada being pastored by women.
There's no reason yours can't be one of them."

I'll have to shorten that one to 140 characters somehow. 

And back to those female staff pastors I was talking to in the first place: #WhatDoIDo

"Hey #PAOC female staff pastors:
Have the conversation with your Lead, with your District leaders.
It's not presumptuous.
It's normal."

Coffee. Chocolate. Conversations.

They lead to #GoodThings.


Sincerely Susan said...

Thanks - good words there!

Anonymous said...

As a woman who turned in her ordained ministry credentials, two years ago, after 15 years of ministry with the PAOC. I would love to see this become a reality. Unfortunately, the abuse from some lead pastors/boards, that I experienced and have heard of from many women (current and former) pastors; the lack of support from district offices and the belief that a woman isn't qualified to lead or shouldn't lead the church, has become disheartening. Many will not speak up because the moment you do you become labeled as the black sheep, the pot stirrer or bitter.

Keep encouraging women to step up and lead, hopefully, things will begin to change. I pray for the next generation, and that those who have broken the 'glass ceiling' in ministry, begin to take this new generation of women pastors under their wings and start to mentor them. I wish someone had done that with me all those years ago.

Patti said...

Thanks Susan �� - Patti

Patti said...

Hi Anonymous - Thanks for sharing your story; I'm so sorry to hear it. I'm well aware there are other stories like it out there. Praying today with you for all those to come; and praying for those like you who are disheartened. I do think things are shifting, but it seems to take a long time. Praying for you today.