The Mississippi Baptist Convention Board’s leadership department recently hosted a Ministry Wives Conference in conjunction with the Pastors Conference at First Baptist Church Jackson.
Speaking on the theme of “Loving the Church,” Lisa Ray — a ministry wife of 15 years — led both new and seasoned wives in tackling lies about church ministry with biblical truths. Approximately 70 women attended the Oct. 23 conference.
Lisa Ray teaches New Testament, and Understanding the Grand Narrative of Scripture, in the Thrive Ministry Wives Program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where she received her master of divinity. Twenty years ago, in her Old Testament class, she met her husband Charlie Ray, with whom she has journeyed the mountains and valleys of ministry and family.
After a difficult battle with infertility, Charlie and Lisa followed the Lord into fostering nine children, three of whom were adopted as their own. Alongside teaching at the seminary, Lisa homeschools her children, while Charlie serves as assistant professor of New Testament and Greek, and divisional associate dean of biblical studies at NOBTS. After ministering to youth then pastoring for a century-old church, Charlie currently serves as one of the pastors of a church plant.
‘Loving the Church’
For the theme of “Loving the Church,” Lisa turned to Acts 20:17–38.
“This is a message from a pastor, church planter, missionary — however you want to categorize Paul — to a group of pastors, elders, overseers. Our husbands might be able to take a direct application of this passage… but we share in that life with them,” Lisa expressed. “When we hear instruction to pastors in the Scripture, it’s important for us to take special note of that, in order to be a better partner to our husbands, to know what their call is, to help them, to support them, to encourage them in that call, but then also to understand what our life calling is.
“When you join together with your husband, whether you knew he was going to be a minister when you married him or whether that was a surprise gift later, this is all a part of the life that you share with him.”
“But also, the two main components of Paul’s message here to the Ephesian elders is to proclaim the gospel and lay your life down in doing so, and to love and protect the church. Those are calls to every believer. Those are things that we should all desire to do and want to be faithful in doing,” Lisa exhorted.
“In some ministry-wife circles, in some contexts, we are hearing an alternative narrative to what we have just heard. Acts 20 calls us to lay down our life for the proclamation of the gospel and for the love of the church… But one of the things that I’m hearing is that the church is the enemy of the ministry wife, that the church is the root of our problem… This is a lie. It flies in the face of everything that Scripture tells us about the church, but there are times when that can be easy to believe.”
“Scripture describes the church in many ways: stones in a temple, members of the family, members of a body, citizens of a Kingdom. But all of those are about what God is building. The Holy Spirit is determined to transform the bride of Christ into a beautiful bride who will join Him at His wedding feast. This transformation is ongoing, and He’s not finished yet.”