About eight years ago, my wife, Tina, and I began talking about what her calling was—not her calling as an extension of me, but just her calling. It was weird to talk about; we do everything together.
Then I received a clear, prophetic word during a prayer service we were having: “Listen. You’re Moses; she’s Joshua. You need to hand this thing off.”
We sat down with Scott Reece, who was Southeast District supervisor at the time, which made him my spiritual authority. He told me: “I didn’t have this in mind for you, but when you say it, something in me says ‘that’s right,’ and I believe that’s the Holy Spirit.” So he authorized the transition.
Those were definitely tumultuous times. Some in the leadership team were not immediately OK with a woman senior pastor—and not just men, some women, too.
The Foursquare Church has always clearly articulated embracing women at every level of leadership. But somehow these folks weren’t OK with a woman senior pastor. That was shocking to me, disappointing and discouraging. In the Deep South, other church traditions are adamantly “no women,” and that influence is pervasive.
The idea of Pastor Tina, however, is a concept we’ve begun to work through in the community. The pastors in our local Adairsville alliance accept Tina because they respect her, and even a couple of the more traditional leaders are starting to call her “pastor.”
Though I would have wanted to envision the kind of global, missional community the Living Way Network (Adairsville Foursquare Church) in Adairsville, Ga., is becoming, I would never have gotten us here. The things we’re doing now are not my story—they’re Tina’s story.
In my new role, I’ve started to do work as a church-planting leader and the entrepreneurial mind behind Living Way’s Community Coffee Shop. I’m a highly relational person; I can get people excited about new things.
I also make sure to tell people what Tina is doing at every opportunity. Church leadership is a man’s world for sure; so, as men, we have to vocally and publicly endorse and affirm women at every level of leadership when we recognize the call in their lives.
Being the leader of a missional community requires a high capacity for courage. With that in mind, my daily prayer is for Tina to be brave and courageous.
Learn more about how Tina Spellman is shaking tradition to transform her community as a senior pastor at Living Way Network (Adairsville Foursquare Church) in Adairsville, Ga. Read Tina’s Story.
By Jon Spellman, a church-planting consultant and co-pastor of Living Way Network (Adairsville Foursquare Church) in Adairsville, Ga., as told to Rachel Chimits, a freelance writer in Reno, Nev.