Post Author: Jenn Moland-Kovash
But as I moved through school and into my first call, and he settled in first one parish and then another,
we began to see how our gifts for ministry could work together – how we could complement each other instead of compete. Our own personal styles developed and emerged, and perhaps most importantly we began to add a new dimension to our relationship: we began to respect one another as a pastor.
We didn’t start out working together, and the situation that led to us doing so was not typical (if there
is such a thing in ministry). This congregation we serve is my first call. I’ve been here three years. He started this past January. I handle areas of finance and outreach; he oversees education and worship. We share the preaching schedule equitably but unpredictably. We still take vacations together. Sometimes we talk about a meeting or something that happened when we’re at home. Sometimes we talk about what we’ll have for dinner when we’re in the office. We’re co-pastors in title, call, salary and (hopefully) most people’s minds.
This collegial and cooperative ministry, in the ten or so months that we’ve been doing it, works well for us. I have come to value the way that we are able to develop ideas, naturally relying on one another’s gifts (not every day, of course). But it also has its drawbacks. We’ve always shared ideas and processed things with one another about our respective congregations – but now there’s just one congregation between us. Talking about an idea during a commercial break now feels much more like work. While I like being able to say to someone, “That’s not my area of responsibility,” it doesn’t take the stress or the responsibility out of the family.
Are there days when the laughter and creativity that happens in the office gets lost on our respective drives home? Absolutely. We work hard to have a date and not talk about work. We struggle to balance a schedule of evening meetings and bedtime for our son. Each of us sometimes says to the other, “Go, have dinner with a friend!” Our urging is as much for our own desire of time alone as it is for the self-care of the other.
In these three years that I’ve been a pastor I’ve worked with a colleague who was my senior in age and style, alone for a few months, with a woman who worked as a part-time interim, and now with my husband as co-pastor. Each of these situations certainly had ups and downs. I think it’s too early to say that this current arrangement is my favorite, but (most days) when we’re asked how it’s going, we both exclaim that we’re having a blast working in ministry together.
Jenn Moland-Kovash is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Image by: Tim Mossholder
Used with permission