Our shepherds’ wives meet once every two months to fellowship, praise, share and pray with one another. My wife facilitates the meeting. She always says great things about the meeting when she comes home.
All the shepherds at New Life are men. They don’t need to be. In the Bible, we see some women house church leaders in the early church such as Lydia and Priscilla. My personal biblical conviction is that, other than the senior pastor who needs to be a man, all the ministries can be done by both men and women. New Life used to have women shepherds several years ago though they were always small in number. They served very well as shepherds especially in those house churches where there were no men who were mature enough to step up to serve as shepherds.
Even though women don’t have the title of being a shepherd at New Life these days, much of house church ministry is being done by wives. They are like the glue that holds the house church together. They pray, text, meet up, laugh, shed tears, prepare food, write ministry journals and do many other things behind the scenes. Our shepherds’ wives are precious and important. Without their ministry, many of our house churches would struggle and possibly even collapse. It is not the ministry title that is important. It is the heart of a servant that truly matters.
I can’t think of any current shepherd’s wife who hinders her husband from doing ministry and brings him down. If wives don’t support and cooperate with their husbands in doing ministry, men can’t effectively serve. In the past, some men even left the church because of their wives’ strong influence and lack of support.
For our faithful, supportive and hardworking shepherds’ wives, I wanted to do something to show my appreciation. So, a couple of weeks ago on Wednesday when they had their bi-monthly meeting, I made chicken wings for them. I came up with three different sauces: spicy garlic butter, spicy BBQ and honey BBQ. I also cut up some celery and red, orange and yellow bell peppers. I tried my best to make them tasty and pretty and also serve them on time for our ladies because they deserve our best.
At about seven o’clock, they started to come one by one. I was still finishing up cooking in the kitchen. But when their eyes locked with mine, they all said, “Thank you, Pastor Eric” with a beautiful smile on their faces. But strangely, they also had that “I don’t know what to do” look on their faces. It was almost as if they were saying to me that I shouldn’t be doing this for them because I am the pastor. This caused me to feel something that I just can’t express in words. It was a mixture of love, gratitude, appreciation, sacrifice, acknowledgment, camaraderie, joy, gladness and understanding. And I felt like telling them that they don’t need to thank me but I need to thank them. It was the strangest feeling.
I know that my responsibility as a pastor is to train and equip God’s people so that they can do the works of ministry. But that evening, I wanted to serve them by making food for them. I feel very grateful to these women who are doing their ministry faithfully, sacrificially and quietly as they love God by loving those God has entrusted them with. And they deserve a break.
When they were all done with the wings, they went to their usual place and began to praise. They sounded beautiful. I started to do the dishes as I was listening to their praise. I thanked God for our beautiful ladies. I thanked God for giving me this amazing privilege to serve in this church.
I felt wonderful that night!
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