An interview with my friend
Pastor Tara Sloan
What are your girls names and ages?
Kaitlyn (14) Kelsea (12) Haley (9) Alexandria -Lexi-(5) Isabella - Izzie - (15 mo)
How did you and your husband (Pastor Craig Sloan) meet?
Craig and I have known each other for 23 years! My father became Associate & Youth Pastor at Evangel A/G in Clewiston, FL in 1984. Craig’s family lived in Clewiston and attended church at Evangel. So, we became friends and remained friends throughout our teen years.
When I was in college Craig became Associate at my dad’s church in Clearwater, FL. I knew in my heart that God had sent him to be my husband and to make a long story short, we were married December 28, 1991!
How long have you been in ministry?
Of course being a PK (Pastor’s kid) ministry was always something I was involved in. However, I fully embraced ministry when I was 18, right out of high school. While attending college I became the Missions Director at my dad’s church, from there it has escalated into 17 years of ministry- and counting!
What do you most enjoy doing in ministry?
To be perfectly honest- I love it ALL! But to narrow it down, one thing that just pumps me up is being able to ENCOURAGE people- ALL people, saved, unsaved, sick, discouraged, etc. I am an encourager by nature. I can’t help it. Feed me something negative and I’ll spit it back out in some positive fashion.
When it comes to encouraging people I think I thrive in that area so much because I have somewhat of a prophetic nature. I’ve been taught that though the prophetic may have to “tear down” it always “builds back up”. My heart is that people, especially women awaken their potential, discover their possibility, and become their destiny in Christ! In my experience this often happens as a result of encouragement. Everyone needs someone in their corner speaking the Word of the Lord over them and reminding them of who they are and where they are going!
What is the biggest lesson you learned in being an associate pastor?
1.) What you help make happen for others God will make happen for you.
2.) A swordsman never wastes time sharpening his sword.
3.) Be a covering for the set person(s). (Remember Noah and his sons)
What is the biggest lesson you learned in being a senior pastor?
1.) Take your time. Change is necessary but it also freaks people out. (We learned this lesson the hard way!) Visionaries often see the end result and want to charge full speed ahead. This often times creates a “bull in a china shop” situation!
However, aligning the troops and finding the “influencers” (good and bad) will help when you need people to champion with you! Start slow, deliberately, and cautiously and you will finish strong!
2.) Accountability is NECESSARY! Network, network, network! The day of the lone ranger is over! Mentoring and a spiritual covering is a MUST!
3.) EVERYTHING flows from the head down! And I mean EVERYTHING! Anointing, favor, attacks of the enemy, etc. We found that when we were going through “stuff”- we were extremely hesitant to be “transparent” about it to our people. Celebrating the victories was easy- but saying, “Hey, cover your pastors in prayer because they are facing _____,” was something we didn’t want to do.
HOWEVER, we were then inundated with things that were hitting our people. (Remember it flows from the head-down!) Of course we were then feeling really “bogged down” because not only were we carrying our own issues, we had everyone else’s too! After receiving much needed wisdom from our spiritual covering we realized that “transparency to an extent” is not a bad thing. By us saying, “Church, your pastors are battling a stressful situation right now, we need your prayers and support.” This puts a dam in the flood the enemy is trying to release in the house! If it can be stopped at the head it cannot flow down! The same principle works with grace, favor, and anointing- if it is happening at the head, a way can be made through prayer, declaration, and impartation for it to be released onto the people!
What is the biggest lesson you learned in being a woman in ministry?
Not everyone agrees with women being in ministry- and that’s okay. I have learned to simply agree to disagree. However, I have also learned not to apologize for my calling in spite of my gender. I know who I am and I am full aware of my destiny in Christ as a woman and as a Christian!
The following quote has become a mantra for me as a woman in ministry:
“Know God’s dream for your life. Get The Picture. Big. Bigger. Fill up your mind, heart and life with it. Now make that vision consume your life… every thought… every conversation… everything around you.”
Never apologize or second-guess who you are in Him! God needs confident women in ministry!
If you could advise associates on one thing that is most important that they realize, or do - what would it be?
Serve the set persons over the house with an open heart. The house you are serving is theirs, God has placed them there, respect and honor God’s assignment. Commit yourselves fully to the process and be loyal to a fault! Allow no one (including yourself) to speak ill of the set persons, the vision or the circumstances. Cover those you serve.
And remember- what you help make happen for others God will make happen for you!
What do you feel is the most important thing a pastor's wife can do for her husband?
1.) Stand WITH him, not behind him, not in front of him and not beside him, stand WITH him! I have heard a lot of pastors’ wives say they stand beside their husband, however, I have found that it is quite possible to stand beside someone and not really be “with” them.
2.) Champion him! Be his loudest, most spirited cheerleader- (if you won’t- someone else surely will!)
3.) Affirm him every chance you get!
4.) Be HIGHLY INVOLVED!!!!
In a relationship as husband and wife, you can't have a more successful relationship than when two people are in it together.
The most important ROLE a pastor’s wife plays in the church is the role of HERSELF! For too long, women in ministry and pastors’ wives have been compartmentalized, categorized, labeled, and boxed up. We are the ORIGINAL Stepfords! We are expected to act a certain way, talk a certain way, look a certain way, and perform a certain way.
Recently an article published in Time Magazine about pastors’ wives, “Pastors’ Wives Come Together.”, troubled me. The article began with a ridiculous “job description” for the pastor’s wife. In the next paragraph, looming statistics declared the role of a pastoral spouse as the most miserable “job” in the universe. In addition, the pastor’s wife is also slated as the number one reason pastors leave the ministry. In my opinion all of these issues stem from the fact that when a woman becomes a “pastor’s wife” she often looses her identity. She is given a role to play without any consideration of who she really is! Often times she is referred to as “Pastor So-and-so’s wife,” or the “pastor’s wife.” I believe her most important role a pastor’s wife can play is herself!
Tell us how you feel about co-pastoring and why.
Most of the Christian world wants to make husbands (men) the team captain and turn wives (women) into the batboy. It is difficult to explain how co-pastoring works because there are really very few “broadcast” examples. As a wife in a co-pastoring partnership, I am not the person on the sidelines who squirts water into the mouth of the weary or “pumped up” champion in between rounds.
Co-pastoring is a “team sport” if you will. All the competitors are in it to win it, and they are all working toward the same goal. The “team” falters if even one hurts the team, and the excellence of each contributes to the team. We have different strengths and gifts, and we have different weaknesses and blind spots, but we are a team. We are not individual competitors.
As two separate parts of a co-pastoring couple, we each bring different gifts and abilities and the more we combine our gifts, the better the church can be served! Craig and I are partners. We will play different positions, and have different styles and ways of doing things but one is not more important than the other.
I realize that most of the Christian world does not even assume that equal billing of a husband and wife implies equal authority or corresponding levels of leadership. Perhaps it would be helpful to find a way so it is clearly understood that God has given each of us gifts that are vital for the functioning of both of us.
(But until we find a way, maybe we should all just wear t-shirts with one of my favorite Deanna-ism’s: “Partner: It’s Who I Am, It’s What I Do!” )
Give us a few survival techniques that you have found to help you in balancing being a wife, mothering, ministering and all the other stuff you do.
Balance, whoo-boy! This is something I am trying to find CONSTANTLY! Here are a few of my keys to finding balance and a way to survive the busy-ness:
1.) Partnership! Craig is not afraid to tackle as much and sometimes more than I do household and family wise! He cooks, cleans, changes diapers, and does laundry! (No he is NOT for sale or lease!) We also take turns getting the kids to and from medical appointments, haircuts, etc. We also share in childcare and discipline. (This may sound pretty routine but I have been surprised by the number of people who think raising and caring for the kids is a “woman’s job.”)
2.) Organization! I am learning that organization does NOT mean perfection! It means being practical and functional!
3.) Take what you can get and make the best of it! We try to keep our weekends light but as we all know ministry happens 24/7! And when it is not ministry it is household and family maintenance! There is really very little “chill out” time for Craig and I to spend time with the girls! So, we look at our schedule and work it all in! For instance, I’ll take two of the girls grocery shopping with me. Craig will have one or two of them help wash the car. If there are errands to run, someone goes along. When dinner is being cooked there are always a couple of helpers.
We try to do the same thing with each other. Sometimes we go out and sometimes we order in and watch a movie. We’ve also learned to make the most of any time we have in a place that lacks “distractions” (i.e. car- we have some great “catch up” sessions there!) Bottom line: We take what we can get and make the best of it!
Tell us about your new book that you are writing.
“Confessions of a Destiny Driven Diva” is all about being a confident woman walking out her destiny in Christ. The 3D Woman is in my opinion, the “original triple threat!”
The term “diva” has gotten a bad rap, however, in my opinion, a destiny driven diva is a woman who knows that her life is not her own. She knows that she is destined for greatness and that greatness demands confidence and drive!
Confident women are often misunderstood. Because they know who they are and don’t apologize for it they are branded as “cocky,” prideful,” and “arrogant.” These traits are far from the truth! This book identifies who she really is and what makes her tick. “Confessions…” identifies eight characteristics that reveal the truth about destiny driven women and also releases the secret to becoming one!
“Confessions of a Destiny Driven Diva: Unleashing Your Triple Threat Anointing” will encourage women who are walking out their triple threat anointing and empower others to awaken their God-ordained potential, discover their possibilities as a daughter of God, and become their destiny in Christ!
Tell us why you are Deanna's friend. :-)
When I “happened” upon Deanna’s site (www.pastoringpartners.com) several years ago I was giddy! “Wow! Someone who thinks like me~!” Either I wasn’t crazy or I wasn’t alone!
Seriously, after trading emails for months, maybe more than a year, we “met” and attended a conference together. I felt like I had met a kindred spirit. She has become such an inspiration to me and encourages me to no end! She challenges me and encourages me sometimes on a daily basis and often when she doesn’t even realize the impact she’s made. She is the REAL deal. I thank God for women like her! I thank God she’s my friend and in my life!
Thank you Tara, I'm glad you are my friend and in my life too. By the way, now that you gave the analogy about the captain and the bat boy, I would like to add my next "Deanna-ism". Here goes: "I may be Wonder Woman, but I am definitely NOT Bat Girl!" LOL
I love you my friend, always. Never forget the pact we made on the bus in Springfield. Only a matter of time...