Call me lazy, but with the start of school (at which I work and just got promoted from paraprofessional to Teacher’s Assistant), the start of play practice (of which I am directing) and the start of youth group (at which I am helping) I haven’t had a lot of time to keep up on the blogging!! I’m starting to get a schedule worked out, but it’s definitely an adjustment period. Therefore, I am re-posting a piece I wrote and published over on Cooking Up Faith a few weeks ago. If you’ve already read it, I’m sorry. If not, let me know what you think!!
Blessings and Peace,
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5: 1-3
I met my husband at seminary. He was working toward a Master of Divinity degree while I was working toward a Master’s in Christian Education. I was drawn to him the first time I saw him. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had met the man God intended to be the one I would walk with through this life. Of course, that also meant that I would soon become “the pastor’s wife”. That was not something I had ever planned on!
I remember sitting in a council meeting when my husband and I were introduced to a new congregation some years ago. After Chris had talked about some of the things he wanted to do, one of the members looked at me and asked, “So, what are you going to do in the church?” I completely froze. What was I going to do? I had no idea there were any expectations for me!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to serving the church. God has equipped me with my own set of gifts and has given me opportunities to use them in every one of the congregations we have served. However, it is Chris who was called by God at a young age to go into formal ministry. It is a role he takes very seriously, and he throws his entire being into shepherding his flocks. Therefore, I try and support him in that. I serve as a confidant, a critic, a think tank, an editor, a fielder and a fan.
One of the most difficult aspects of being a ministry spouse is watching the person you love be hurt by members of the congregation. There can be a dark underside to church leadership where church members become more interested in personal power than in being a follower of Christ. I have, on occasion, watched as Chris’ integrity has been attacked and as his intentions have been misrepresented and miss communicated. It is heartbreaking as a spouse, because when he hurts, I hurt.
Furthermore, when your pastor’s family is hurting because of the church, the congregation’s ministry will suffer. It’s so hard to motivate yourself to walk into the doors of a church and engage in relationships with people when your family is hurting because of the words and actions of fellow believers. It’s hard for a pastor to engage in effective ministry when he/she is constantly feeling the need to put defenses into place.
Please don’t think that being part of a ministry family is not a rewarding experience. I love this life that God has called us to! I get the opportunity to love on and encourage people on a regular basis. It’s one of my favorite things to do!! I love leading women in Bible study, working with our youth and engaging in mission projects. We are blessed right now to be serving a congregation that is full of Christ’s love. They have adopted our children and seek to love and nurture and lead them into a life with Christ. God has given us opportunities to bring others to him, to help our community, and to be in relationship with many different people. God is working in the midst of our congregation, and what a joy it is to be able to work alongside him!!
Now, when someone asks me what I’m going to do for the church, I know what to say. I’m going to do whatever God calls me to do in whatever fashion he wants it done. And I’m going to continue to seek him and to grow in him so that when my race is finished he might say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”