The Heart of a Pastor: Janine Tartaglia Metcalf

The Heart of a Pastor: Janine Tartaglia Metcalf

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Janine Tartaglia Metcalf is pastor of El Cajon, California, Church of the Nazarene. She and her husband, Ed, have two grown sons. Coming from a journalism background, she shares compelling faith and vocation stories.

Where were you born and raised?
San Luis Obispo, a college town on the central coast of California.

What's on your iPod?
Matthew West, Mercy Me, Hillsong, Chris Tomlin.

Ideal way to spend a free day?
Hiking and finding a lovely place to stop and read.

Best part about being a pastor?
Knowing God is pleased with my life and seeing believers grow in their faith. Beholding miraculous breakthroughs in marriages and hardened attitudes.

Most concerning part about being a pastor?
Observing the ravages of sin and generational poverty. Making sure I give enough time to pray, fast, and release the timing of deliverance to God.

How did you first connect with the Church of the Nazarene?
As a television reporter covering the Iranian hostage crisis, I observed the genuine faith of a Nazarene family whose son was held hostage in Iran. Pastor Earl Lee, the father of the hostage, modeled a Christ-centered strength and peace that demanded my attention.

Where do you see the Church of the Nazarene in 10 years?
I see us intentionally engaging in God's kingdom mission with Christians around the world, expressing our heart-holiness faith in authentic love and healthy relationships.

Who were your spiritual mentors?
Pastor Earl Lee and Grandma Estelle Crutcher, a retired Nazarene elder who discipled me for 17 glorious years before she died at 98.

Do you have mentees?
I disciple a wonderful team of young leaders studying for credentialed ministry in the church as well as an emerging group of lay leaders.

Greatest fear?
That I will not consistently live what I preach before my spouse, children, grandsons, and congregation.

Greatest joy?
To see lives and relationships transformed by the relentless grace of God!

How did a journalism career help prepare you for your pastoral service?
Journalism exposed me to the deep needs of the world and to the importance of attentive listening.

You seem comfortable in front of people.
I'm a borderline introvert who is totally dependent on the Holy Spirit when speaking before crowds.

Define "holiness."
Holiness is pure devotion to God, actualized by the Holy Spirit in the believer's heart and manifested in loving obedience and care for others.

What would HT readers be surprised to know about you?
That a lifelong problem with dyslexia has turned out to be a divine gift that has thrust me to God for extra help to process and communicate.

Will a day come when we won't use the term "women" clergy?
I pray so. Whether that day comes or not, I am called to a radical love and obedience that models the gender mutuality I long to see. I'm forever grateful for a denomination that has attempted to open the door for women to use their gifts to their utmost potential.

How do you help control burnout?
By regularly observing Sabbath rest and exercising. Ed and I do our best to break away at least one day a week to stop and play. I've also spent the last year working out and paying more attention to what I eat and how I sleep.

Favorite food?
Chocolate everything.

What are you reading?
Souls in Transition by Christian Smith with Patricia Snell
American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile by Richard John Neuhaus
Love Among Us edited by Thomas Jay Oord and Darrin L. Grinder
Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson

What makes you proud about your congregation?
I am not so much proud, but incredibly grateful for the miracles God is doing daily in so many lives. We are an eclectic group of Christians of different cultures, incomes, and backgrounds. God is molding us to live our faith with genuine love that makes all feel welcomed, valued, and needed. Our Lord is thrusting this 63-year-old congregation into our mid-to low-income community with outreach ministries such as a mobile health clinic, discount food boxes, a Celebrate Recovery 12-Step program, and a Helping Hands Ministry to assist needy families with food and furniture. We've also begun an Iraqi worship service and discipleship ministry to reach a burgeoning group of refugees (more than 40,000 in El Cajon) seeking true faith and safety.

Misconception about women clergy?
Some contend a bias against women in church leadership doesn't exist. Unfortunately, any woman stepping into a senior pastorate still has a little extra "proving" to do to convince others she is a capable shepherd. In some ways, this makes women all the more dependent on God for extra grace to fulfill our call. It takes holy boldness to weather discrimination with the right spirit and to keep focused on the ultimate prize of knowing and pleasing Christ. We continue to need denominational leaders who celebrate our presence and an intentional strategy to educate our churches that gender mutuality in church leadership is biblically sound and an integral part of our rich heritage.

What advice would you give women preparing for ministry?
I would give the same advice I give men. That is, to intentionally live to know and please God. Stop often to receive our Lord's pleasure. Remain grateful and teachable. Be on guard for careless choices or comments. Listen well. Lead courageously. Give yourself and others a break. And laugh as often as possible.

Holiness Today, May/June 2010.