Clergy Couples in the Black Church
I would encourage all to subscribe to the African American Pulpit and especially purchase the Spring Edition of 2007. That issue is dedicated to discussing 21 trends in the contemporary Black church.
In that issue, Rev Deloris Harris has an article on Husband and Wife Ministerial Teams. In addition, Rev Martha Simmons’ list of trends includes this one as the first one.
Why Is This Happening?
What is this? It is the fact that many churches are recognizing the ministry that women are doing along side of their husbands. One might call this the Priscilla and Aquila model. In addition, it makes a ready made church staff for even smaller churches. I think one thing that is really good about this model is that it acknowledges that many times the Pastor’s Spouse is a Unpaid-Unacknowledged Pastor. While it is true that we often hold the “first lady” in high esteem, it is also true that we often do not acknowledge that the gifts she is often providing is ministerial and pastoral. This trend shows that that mindset is changing in our churches.
There are some drawbacks however, there is the issue of competition as Rev. Harris brings out. That can be devastating to both the ministry as well as the marriage. Another related one is for the church to favor one pastor over the other.
It Can Be Good
I think that this phenomenon can be good as long as it is the right marriage, the right church, and the right clergy-people. Certainly Married Ministerial Teams is not for every church or for every clergy couple, but we will certainly see this trend continue to grow in Black Churches.