I first met Vanessa in October of 1993. A mutual friend introduced us, and I knew immediately that she was someone I had to know more. I asked her out on our first date the very next day.
We’ve been together – more or less – ever since.
I was there when she really began following Jesus. I was there when she found her voice with older men who weren’t used to having to take a young woman so seriously. I was there when she pledged her life and love to a boy whose heart was captivated by her. I was there when she threw herself completely into serving the church. I was there when she welcomed babies into a growing family. I was there when she bucked stuffy traditions. I was there when she risked everything on a crazy dream of doing church and life a whole new way. I was there when she became a businesswoman. I was there when she became an artist. I was there when she began seeing herself as the pastor she is called to be.
And I’ll be there when she is ordained today.
On our 20th wedding anniversary, I told Vanessa that the defining thing about her is that she makes everything better.
I am a better man because of her.
Our family is a better family because of her.
Vintage Fellowship is a better church community because of her.
The world is and will be a better place because of her.
People, I imagine, wonder what I really think about Vanessa getting ordained. Does it threaten me? Does it diminish me? Does it make my own pastoral ministry less important? The only truthful and clear answer is no.
In one sense, Vanessa’s ordination changes everything. And in another, it changes nothing.
We will still serve as a team. We will still wrestle together with big questions. We will still lose sleep over the things that concern us. We will still do everything in our power to make Vintage Fellowship the light in the darkness we’ve always believed it could be.
But now, everyone will know what I’ve always known – Vanessa is the kind of gracious and strong leader we all need.
I could not be more proud to call her my wife, my friend, my partner, my pastor.