This week, we’ll take another look at a couple that is pastoring a local church together. This is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has taken hold here, so if you have a co-pastored church, you are welcome to ask your pastors to share their stories with us for a future column.
The Fellowship of Texas City, 2222 FM 146, is led by the Revs. Kevin and Melissa Herrin. They addressed some of the common questions they get about ministering together.
It all started like something out of Job’s whirlwind.
“We were in a mutual friend’s wedding and they introduced us at a summer church camp,” Kevin Herrin said. “We were married 10 months later ourselves and immediately jumped into pastoral ministry together. I was 24 and she was just 19. I had always known I was called to be a pastor and Melissa embraced her call while we were dating.”
But fast doesn’t imply easy. Learning to shepherd and bringing your highly emotional work home with you was tough, Melissa said.
“It is a difficult lifestyle,” she said. “Because of the demand on our existing facility, we do share an office — pray for us. It has had its challenges but we make it work through a lot of prayer and communication.”
And, it seems, opposites still attract, even in the ministry.
“We are as different as two people could be from one another,” she said. “So we’ve identified what each one is good at and we try to stay out of each other’s lanes. We respect each other’s work. And, we make sure we honor our ‘Sabbath,’ which is definitely not Sunday for preachers. We deliberately create down time to rest and recharge. It could be as big as a trip out of town, or a simple drive to the water’s edge to watch the dolphins. We agree not to talk shop while on our off day or away on a date night.”
Taking time off like this is often referred to as ‘sharpening the ax’ in Christian circles. It’s viewed as a way to avoid the burnout common to high-intensity church engagement so Melissa’s point may be applicable to non-couples and layfolk.
“Don’t neglect your days off,” she said. “Even Jesus regularly left the crowds to go to the mountain to pray, or to get in a boat with his core relationships and to go chill in the middle of the lake. He would also stop and visit with his friends at their house to rest.”
Not every busy believer will hear what she has to say, but her husband now does.
“I had to learn that lesson the hard way, by the way, before I started actually listening to her,” he said. “I, on the other hand, have helped her to see the best in people and how to walk in patience with their weaknesses. And, where I’m a rose-colored glasses kind of guy, she has this sixth sense and the ability to see straight through people.”
We’ll give Kevin the last word. He explained how they fit together in ministry at The Fellowship.
“I’m a visionary,” he said. “She’s a planner. One won’t work without the other. But we both have the heart of a shepherd, which is the meaning of the word pastor.”
Next week in Our Faith: Are house cats and cathedrals compatible?