For Cindy and Everett Shaw, pastoring has become a team effort.
And on Jan. 17, the Shaws will be installed as the new pastors of the Owensboro First Church of God, 2101 Kentucky 554, during the 11 a.m. service.
The Rev. Cindy Shaw will become the church’s lead pastor while the Rev. Everett Shaw will fill the associate role.
The Shaws have been married for 40 years, but their ministry together didn’t start until about 11 years ago.
“I grew up in a pastor’s home and I was actually called to ministry when I was 13,” Cindy Shaw said. “But things happened in my young life and I did not go that direction. …I had made some errors in my youth and I felt like I was disqualified from ministry.”
Prior to her marrying Everett Shaw, Cindy Shaw said she was in a previous marriage that didn’t work out.
“…After that divorce, I had a lot of problems with depression and feeling like I was not good enough for anything,” she said. “I struggled many years with depression but the Lord healed me from depression and He gave me the understanding that all I need is His approval and His esteem.”
Her calling was “renewed” when Everett Shaw was called to ministry in 2006.
She said being divorced and being a woman have created challenges for her as a pastor.
“I’ve had people walk out when I stood up to preach but were fine if (Everett) preached,” Cindy Shaw said.
Cindy Shaw is a retired nurse while Everett Shaw still works as a physician’s assistant.
In March of 2011, the Shaws left their home in Madisonville and moved to Illinois to start pursuing their Christian ministry. They started pastoring in Metropolis, Illinois and then went to Carrier Mills, Illinois.
Cindy Shaw said the easy thing to do would’ve been to stay in Madisonville but that wasn’t God’s plan for them.
“We were people who had medical careers,” Cindy Shaw said. “We had everything we wanted; we had our home (in Madisonville); we lived in a town with our families — children and grandchildren.”
In 2017, the Shaws began working for the state of Illinois Church of God Anderson in Decatur.
“I was over the credentialing process for new pastors and my husband and I were both staff ministers,” she said. “So if a church needed someone to come preach, we’d go there or we’d serve as interim pastors.”
In 2020, the Shaws began their move back to Kentucky. Cindy Shaw returned to Madisonville but her husband has remained in Illinois until he finds a physician’s assistant job closer to home.
Since starting their ministry together, Everett Shaw, a Calhoun native, said they have worked primarily as co-pastors and have made it work by playing off each other’s strengths.
“Except for this church, I have been the predominant speaker because that was what was preferred by the congregation,” he said. “It also had to do somewhat with our gifts. My wife is very good at administrative and probably better at counseling in some respects than I am. …I am more demonstrative in my public speaking.”
As part of their ministry, the Shaws have preferred to work with smaller churches such as the Owensboro First Church of God, where they have been interims since the fall.
“Being bivocational, I have always had a good income so we’ve used our skills to go to churches that probably couldn’t afford pastors that were probably well trained and well educated,” Everett Shaw said. “So we’ve given that as a gift back to them in that the salary was something we weren’t dependent on; it’s something that we were free to do and wanted to do.”
The Shaws said they are looking forward to becoming permanent pastors at the Owensboro First Church of God and working with the various community organizations such as the homeless shelters and other charities supported by the church.
“The thing that has impressed Cindy and I both has been the spirit of the people and their willingness and love for the Lord; their wanting to worship and wanting to grow,” Everett Shaw said.
It was in November that the congregation voted to have Cindy Shaw as the lead pastor and Everett Shaw as the associate.
Cindy Shaw said she wasn’t sure she wanted the responsibility at first. But she said all it took was meeting the people of First Church of God.
“The cool thing is, when I came, I just fell in love with them,” she said. “I mean they’re very sweet, precious people; they really have a love for God; they have a heart for service to their community. ...The more and more I came I just felt the Lord saying this is people who want to serve, and just believe we were led here.”
Don Wilkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 270-691-7299