Post a Comment » Written on March 7th, 2014     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Submitted by:
David Swanson

I forget that it’s not always normal. In our 4 year old church the leadership team chairperson, Sonia Wang, is an Asian American woman. We are led by three different worship leaders: two African American women – Kelly Redmond and Markeyta Boone – and an Asian American woman – Esther Gallentine. Michelle Dodson, an African American woman, is our Associate Pastor; she and I serve the Lord’s Supper together and pray for members of the church after the worship service. We’re joined in the preaching task by Ramelia Williams, an African American woman and seminarian at North Park. They are both, I suspect, stronger preachers than myself and I learn about preaching from them even as the Spirit forms me through their preaching.

Of course there are plenty of men who serve and lead our congregation, including me. That’s our normal: men and women serving and leading together, responding to the gifts of the Spirit and the needs of the congregation.

I can forget that our normal is exceptional for others until I overhear someone mentioning how grateful they are for the women who lead our church. They are remembering times and places where these leaders’ voices, experiences, and gifts wouldn’t have been welcomed- not in the same normal way they are within our community.

I’m afraid this is beginning to sound as if our young church really has our act together. We don’t. We’re a pretty normal group of people learning how to be church together. It’s just that that Gospel of the Kingdom is making the exceptional normal to us and for us. We can’t imagine it any other way.

David Swanson is the pastor of New Community Covenant Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and the Director of Church Planting for the Central Conference. He blogs regularly at



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