Monday, July 22, 2019

How to be a great pastor's wife

July 22, 2019 0

Here's a little truth bomb for you, your congregation may ask you to be someone else but the truth is that they need you to be yourself. Be your true self, don't hide behind masks or pretend to be someone else for them. That's not what they need. They need you in all your you-ness. God didn't just call your spouse to minister to that church, you both were called. And one of the greatest acts of service that you can do for that church is to be yourself.

It's going to hurt, you may be judged and potentially chastised. You may be tempted to lash out but I would recommend that you figure out a way to say "Thank you for sharing your thoughts. How would you suggest that we can all handle this differently next time?" And I want you to know that I'm not speaking from the what-if but from the been there screwed that up side of things. I could share specifics but I'm sure that you already know them. Folks have probably taken you into their confidence and told you all about how the previous Mrs. Pastor screwed things up around there.

Being yourself might feel impossible in the face of all of that but it's important that you keep trying. Your husband married you, knowing that you were just a little spunky, spoke your mind, and made a pie that could put anyone in the church recipe book to shame. He needs you to be yourself for him and for his ministry. Of course, he hates the conflict, too. Maybe more than you do because he gets it from both sides. The church often wants him to pick them over you. And that's part of the reason that he needs you to be yourself in all aspects of ministry. He needs to know that he can rely on you to be you.

Folks often put on masks in the church. You know that there's always the possibility that the person who graciously agrees to organize VBS goes home and kicks the dog every night. People don't want to put on masks but sometimes, they don't know how to be themselves. That's part of the reason why you being yourself is such a gift to them. They may hate every second of it, but your witness to them isn't always about today but about all of time stretching out before them. They need your witness, especially if they're giving you a hard time about it. Because we need witnesses of those persevering in the midst of adversity. We need to see folks being true to themselves in the midst of back-biting and mudslinging.

I've spent many a night trying to convince my husband it was time to leave because of my own relationship with a congregation. I almost hate to admit that, but it's true. It would be so much easier to walk away in those situations. Shake the dust from your feet and say "Peace be with you" to a new congregation, even if that in-between time could put you in the poor house. It won't be easy to take this path of being yourself. And it may not even feel like it's worth it. There are some things that you need to know.

1. Once you start to compromise who you are, it's a very long dark road to return to your true self and you may never get there again. 

2. We cannot compromise who we are in order to win souls, to lie in order to win someone for Christ is no win at all. 

3.Those people that have expectations of you? They will never be satisfied because it's not really about you. 

It's easy to be yourself when no one has any expectations of you. And if that's the church that you are currently serving, hallelujah! I hope you thank God every night for such a blessing. But if it's not your situation, then know that you are our witness. You are the one that we're all learning from, seeing your grace in the midst of hardship, your continued fight in the face of condemnation. We need you, Mrs. Pastor! And we are praying you through!

Your Sister in Christ,

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Excuse me, Mrs. Pastor?

July 18, 2019 0

I distinctly remember the first time that someone called me "Mrs. Pastor." As if my husband's title was his name. But even if Pastor was Joel's name no one has ever called me Mrs. Joel. I don't think it was the awkwardness of the name for me so much that it was the realization that for the people that we were both serving, I wasn't someone to them. When pushed to recall a name, the closest they could get was lady married to the pastor.

When we take on this role of Pastor's wife, there's really no way to know how it's all going to turn out. Congregations are so different from one another that there couldn't possibly be an instruction manual for us. We go in, sometimes showing up well after our husbands or wives have taken the job and we hope we can find our spot. We hear all the amazing stories from Mrs. Pastors before us of how they had such loving congregations and made life long friends. And we also hear about Mrs. Pastors that have cried themselves to sleep more nights than they can count. The reality is often somewhere in between. This place, Mrs. Pastor, is hopefully one where we can be real with one another. Its intention is to be a place where we can encourage one another in the journey that we're traveling together. We'll talk about marriage, family, congregation, friendship, spiritual matters, whatever Mrs. Pastors talk about.

As the wife of a pastor for the past 17+ years, serving in three very different congregations, I've been through a lot. I'm hopeful that you will be encouraged by some of the lessons I've learned. And most of all, I pray that I'll be able to learn from you as well! I'm planting this seed for all of us Mrs. Pastors. It's not my blog, it's our blog and if you ever want to share something with those that find their way here, please just send me an email and we'll see what we can do!

I need you to know, Mrs. Pastor, that I love you and I want to know your name.