God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

Moms in Ministry An Interview with Amy Covington

on May 22, 2014

I would like to welcome Amy Covington to today’s edition of Magnificent Moms in May.

Today we be talking with Amy about being a mom in ministry.
Amy, please tell us about your family, yourself, and your profession.

I have been in ministry for 15 years. I was ordained in 2003. The church I am currently serving in is the 3rd church I have served with. This is my second church as a lead pastor. I have been married to my very supportive husband Chris for 20 years. I have three wonderful children, Jenifer (16), Grace (13), and Carter (9).
1) What is the most rewarding thing about being a mom in ministry?

I love the experiences our family gets to have as a result of serving as a pastor. We get to do ministry together. We get to do life together and really live out our faith. It’s so rewarding to see the kids living their faith and loving the church.
2) What is one of the biggest challenges?

It can be a real balancing act! We need time to just be a family. It can be tough when the kids can’t  be with me. I have to make sure I am giving attention to my family and the church.

Sometimes expectations for children of people in ministry can be unrealistic, although I have seen this get much better over time. Expectations for families like ours can include having the perfect marriage and angelic children. Sometimes people can expect pastors to be on call 24 hours a day, although I have seen this get better over time as well.

3) What qualities do you feel are important for the spouse of someone in the ministry to have?

First of all, they must love Jesus.

Secondly, they must view the relationship as a partnership. It’s important for the church to support my husband and recognize his capabilities as a good parent. We are equals. There can be no checking out. Both parents must value and invest in the relationships with their children.
3) If you were sitting across from a new mom in ministry what would you tell her?

I would tell her to remember that she can’t be all things to all people. It’s easy to compromise family and not realize it. You have compassion and want to help and love others. You think this person needs me, so I have to help them right now. This is something everyone tells you, but it takes time to learn how to be wise in this area.
4) How can others best support you as you fill both roles?

Prayer!

Please pray for us.

Please also understand that the role of a pastor, much like any other profession must include boundaries. True emergencies are very important to me. The church family is important to me as well, but I must balance those out with the needs of my family. At times different roles may win out, but overall keeping these things balanced is important for a healthy church and a healthy family.

Please understand that God can and does call women into ministry. The support of the church and those around me in this role is key.

Encouragement from people is huge. I need it from my church. Without encouragement pastors can start to doubt. Most pastors go through a sort of ebb and flow throughout their time in a church. This happens in every church. There are wonderful seasons of encouragement that lift your soul and then there are times when you wonder, “Am I just an employee?, which weighs down your soul. During these times I remember that God has called me. Remembering that you are called has to be clear and a source of strength. It is the unshakable foundation in shaky times. Psalm 139 encourages me. It says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I also keep a file of letters and cards of encouragement. I use them as a running tape of encouragement in my head.

Sundays are very physically and emotionally draining. I usually have a headache on Mondays. Mondays are great days to get encouragement.
5) What is one thing you wish someone would have told you about being a MIM?

It is possible to be in full-time ministry and a full-time Mom!

There will be days you feel like you fail. It will be ok.

Use your support system.

Make sure you have a good one.
6) Who or what have been your biggest influences? Who or what is shaping you into the mother you will be tomorrow?

My mom and mother-in-law have both always put family first. They sacrificed their own needs for those they love. My biggest influences in ministry are two of the women I watched lead in ministry while I was growing up. Their actions and leadership spoke, “this is possible” to my childlike heart even when I didn’t know I would be going into ministry.

Prayer is always shaping me. I ask for God’s wisdom. How can I relate to others? How can I walk with them?

Jen Hatmaker is influencing me also. She reminds me that no one is perfect.
7) What one thing would your children want to other MIMs to know about being a child of a MIM?

My kids are great kids, but they are still kids. Normal kids that live in glass houses. This isn’t easy. Everyone has their idea of what a child of a pastor should be. Let that go. Let them be who they are. Let them grow and make mistakes. Don’t expect them to take the lead. Let them do it if they choose to. For example, if they can sing don’t expect them to be excited about getting up and singing in front of everyone just because they are children of leaders. One day they may lead, but I would like to see them do that naturally, if they choose.

8) Amy, I once saw a quote taped to your computer that I often think about. It read, “To be a leader you must have the hide of a rhinoceros and the heart of a child”. How do you think this applies to being a mom in ministry?

You have to be tough! People will try to tear you down. You have to love them no matter what because God’s love is meant for everyone. Sometimes you will want to react to it. Don’t! Always choose God’s love.

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