Today is our 15th wedding anniversary so we thought we’d take this opportunity to share a bit of our story, specifically about how we became a clergy couple.
We met at the Church of God Theological Seminary (COGTS) in 1992. Joleen had been there over a year and I had just arrived. Students were required to participate in student small groups (led by faculty members). When I arrived, the small group Joleen was in invited new students to join them for an afternoon at a nearby United Methodist campground (Johnson Woods, I believe).
Part of that afternoon included a walk down a wooded trail in groups of two. The leader asked us to divide into groups of two. When we divided into groups, the leader wasn’t satisfied. He still wasn’t satisfied after the second time, and on the third time around, Joleen and I finally landed in the same group. Our task was to walk the trail and get to know a little about each other.
Nearly two years later, at our wedding, the group leader, Dr. Land, told the wedding guests during a time of sharing that he was “the first to send (us) into the woods!”
One of the issues we had to come to grips with was how we would both be able to live out our individual calls to leadership in ministry. The concept of “clergy couples” was pretty new to both of us. But it was a concept we quickly became familiar with!
We received permission to co-write our Masters thesis to flesh out what our ministry together might look like. For the research part of the project, we contacted every husband and wife who were pastoring together in the US (and some in Canada). That interaction gave us a good start.
Our paper also addressed the topic of husband and wife pastors from a biblical/theological perspective. We looked at Priscilla and Aquilla as an model. Read the PDF of the chapter we wrote about this couple).
We graduated from COGTS in 1995, a year and a half into our marriage, and began living out our vision for leadership in ministry. Fifteen years into our marriage, we’re still trying to live it out.