A couple weekends ago I joined the ministry majors and Professor Mark Hays on a trip to Dallas, Texas, for the National Youth Workers Convention. We all got up at the crack of dawn, piled into the MNU van, and made our way to the conference where we would be joining thousands of other college students, youth pastors, and youth volunteers. In going I was hoping for some more insight and wisdom into what it looks like to be a pastor’s wife and what all to expect in being involved in full-time ministry. My fiance is a youth pastor and throughout the past year and a half I have become increasingly involved in his youth ministry, loving the relationships I have been able to establish with the junior and senior high gals. In preparation for the time ahead I want to make sure I am soaking up all I am able to now during this stage in my life so that I may be better equipped for ministry in the future.
Our retreat to Dallas was great in so many ways. I loved being able to simply explore the convention center on my own and go to whichever sessions peaked my interest. There was space for silence and solitude in our schedule, allowing for time to process and be still, and of course there were all kinds of speakers covering a wide range of topics. Some of my favorite speakers included Doug & Cathy Fields, Bob Goff, and Tony Campolo. I loved hearing Doug and Cathy’s take on how they have developed and maintained a healthy marriage in the midst of ministry–something that, in looking at those involved in full-time ministry, is seemingly quite rare. Bob Goff, the author of Love Does, was extremely inspirational, having experienced the most amazing adventures all across the globe. Tony Campolo, who is a speaker, author, pastor, social activist, and professor of sociology, was so intriguing to listen to. His phenomenal, world-reknown book, Red Letter Christians, simply focuses on taking seriously the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus and, more specifically, embracing the lifestyle Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount. This man who speaks in countries all throughout the world is coming to MNU this spring and I am so unbelievably stoked to hear him speak again! When Campolo spoke at the conference, it was so neat seeing just how humble this man is in how he speaks of others and himself. His book is extremely challenging to believers and is very intentional in making us re-evaluate our lives and our hearts. However, at the same time, he was completely honest and transparent in that many of those who have studied under him, such as Shane Claiborne, have far outdone him in living the life that Jesus spoke of in the Scriptures. I love how self-aware he was in talking about his own life and how honest and genuine he was so share that with all of us. How quickly people want to follow someone who admits his own failure in following the call God has placed on his heart. It is then that we are able to believe, if only for a moment, that perhaps our imperfections and brokenness could actually be used for God’s glory.
After Campolo spoke and the masses surrounded him for questions, pictures, and signatures I noticed his wife sitting in a row to the side on her own, making small-talk with a couple people as they left. There is something so intriguing to me about leaders’ wives. I often wonder what it looks like to be in these ladies’ shoes, being married to and supporting a husband whom is responsible for leading countless people. So often these women fade into the background despite the prominent role they have in the life of their husband and thus in the people he’s leading. In seeing Campolo‘s wife I had to go talk to her and hear her story. In doing so, I got to sit with this lovely lady, Peggy, for 30 minutes before they had to take off for their flight, and got to hear her journey from accepting Christ in her young adult years all the way to now. It was so neat getting to hear her perspective on her and Tony’s life together in which she was extremely honest and transparent about. I am so thankful for having experienced this moment with her and getting to peek into her life story.
All in all, I loved the opportunity to join the ministry majors in going to this conference and am so thankful for all the insight gained through such amazing people. That’s all folks!