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Jesus Creed

PW responds to RJS: Are Women (who listen to sermons) human?

This is getting fun: RJS posts about Dorothy Sayers book and PW, another regular writer here at Jesus Creed, responds … or I should say that RJS’s post generated a reflection by PW.

As the spouse of a pastor, I have often been in discussion with my pastor/husband about this very subject. And, we have recently discussed the fact that he allows me into his head quite often.  In fact, there are times when I will frankly explain to him: when you walk into the church building, do you ever think about what it would be like to be a person with a uterus walking into the experience rather than other male parts? Are you assuming the audience will track with your message, delivery or illustrations if it’s male biased?


However, I know of many PWs who do not dialog in that way with their pastor/spouse. There is no feedback from one of the most important people in the pastor’s world. How is it for you PWs who are female? Do you hold back? Or do you help fill in with living Technicolor those things that your pastor/spouse couldn’t even begin to understand about the audience and the church experience?

Ministry spouses have a great opportunity to dialog with their pastor/spouse and exchange how the message will come across in so many ways. That’s communication–sending and receiving messages. Communication also understands the audience and most congregations are 50% or greater women. I am enjoying RJS’s discussion, “Are Women Human?”

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posted October 23, 2009 at 9:12 am

This is an interesting reflection – from the point of view of a spouse.
I think that it would be a useful question to ask from the point of view of pastor as well. How many of the pastors who read this blog find it important to allow their wife’s (or husband’s) perspective into the picture when thinking through the sermon? Is it important or useful to make use of this particular resource?

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Scot McKnight

posted October 23, 2009 at 10:08 am

RJS, I’m not a pastor, but I do preach and teach lay folks often, and I always ask Kris her opinion after every sermon — and I’ve been in settings where I’ve preached the “same” sermon four times in a weekend and every sermon varies — and I need Kris’ view after each one.

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posted October 23, 2009 at 10:33 am

Since Rich and I and I do the bulk of the preaching/teaching it is part of our routine to discuss the sermon before and we debrief after. It’s helpful for both of us and I would think our faith community. I couldn’t imagine not having the process before and after. We also get feedback from our two associate pastors as well we give them feedback when they teach. It’s helped all of us stay focused on the preaching/teaching is a part of our journey together as community.

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posted October 23, 2009 at 10:35 am

My husband, who is a pastor, and myself, a pastor, too, always bounce ideas off of the other one. Even before I, officially, entered the pastorate, when asked to teach at a conference, or speak at an event, my husband was always my sounding board. Now, as we plant a church, I think we rely on one another even more (how a woman/man hears something, or just a general statement that we are making.)

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posted October 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I’m blessed with a thoughtful, intelligent, and deeply empathetic wife who won’t blow smoke! I bring her opinion and thoughts in at multiple steps in my thought process as I begin to prepare to teach, as well as after. I consider her absolutely indespensible to my ministry work. She regularly catches me out for pursuing tangents and getting too heady. If I lack connecting points in my illustrations, or fail to get some good meaty application points, she’s all over it.

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Matt Stephens

posted October 23, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Ha, I totally made a point about this in my article in <a href=" “>Today?s Graduate Scrawl, “Shalom in Gender Interaction: A Response” (p. 2).
I agree that this is a big issue and that pastors are foolish to neglect the input of their spouses (and the other-gendered part of the congregation in general). What sense does it make to alienate half (or in many cases, over half) of the congregation?
Thanks for posting.

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Matt Stephens

posted October 24, 2009 at 12:02 am

Crap, my html code messed up. Here’s the link again: . If that doesn’t work, you can go here and read the 10/23/09 issue: .

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posted October 24, 2009 at 7:45 am

Nice article Matt, and an interesting issue of the Scrawl overall.

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Matt Stephens

posted October 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

Thanks for reading! And thanks for keeping the conversation alive here. :-)

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