Protecting One Another
In a previous blog we talked about the benefits of growing up with a biological brother and how this experience can prepare you to work with men in ministry. Here is the first benefit.Protectors
When I was somewhere between eight- and ten-years-old, a few of my brother’s acquaintances—none of whom I knew well—were cutting through our yard to the street behind us when they saw me on our driveway. I’m fuzzy on the details, but I remember that they began to crowd around me, with aggressive body language and words. I—tomboy though I was—began to feel intimidated and nervous. Right about then, my brother came out of the house and sized up the situation. He immediately approached us, pulled me away from the boys, and turned to them. Always a tall kid, he towered over these guys. The gist of his conversation with them: “Leave my sister alone! You mess with her, you mess with me.”
The boys left. I goggled at Kevin, who just turned around and stomped back into the house. Perhaps it was adolescent pride preventing him from admitting that he did care about me when so often we clashed. But his actions that day proved that family loyalty trumped petty quarrels.
Likewise, in the church, men and women can act as protectors for one another. We aren’t talking about physical protection, necessarily, although that can certainly occur. If a sister in Christ is being confronted by a belligerent church member, her brothers in Christ can—and should—stand beside her in support. Dr. Mark Heinemann, seminary professor, remarks that while “your female colleague has to be able to stand her ground in a healthy way in her work environment, a male colleague needs to indicate solidarity in some way and intervene if the female colleague invites him to."
We can help protect one another’s reputations, as well. My former church was small, with only four staff members. To help protect our reputations, and to guard against any appearance of evil, the staff’s unwritten policy prohibited one man and one woman being in the building alone together. When I came on board as the women’s ministry director, the other part-time pastors were not always there during my office hours. But the senior pastor worked full-time, so we had to be creative in light of the self-imposed safeguard. Our best solution for those occasions was to leave the doors to the church wide open, saying in effect that we had nothing to hide, and to have our face-to-face discussions in the open room near those doors. We rarely found ourselves in one another’s office without the presence of a third party. I’m not advocating that every ministry adopt such a policy. But whatever your situation, be intentional to protect your sacred sibling.
Have you considered ways you could protect your spiritual brothers? Can you give examples that might help other women? We would love to hear from you.