Pastor's Wife's Support Board
The purpose of this page is to support
and encourage pastor's wives. If you are a pastor's wife and have
a question, helpful suggestion, or response to another question or suggestion,
please fill out the form and click submit. Responses will be added
later. Let's help each other!
Page 23 - Current Page
My husband has recently become pastor of a congregation with about 70 active
members. There is a deacon's wife that seems to be intent on spreading
malicious gossip and lies about me. She is in her early 60's and
I am in my late 20's. I thought that I could look to her for advice
and wisdom, yet she seems threatened by everything that I do in the church.
She talks to other people in the church about me and, to make matters worse,
she is a family member by marriage (an in-law). She has much influence
on a certain clique within the church. Together, this clique has
ran many members from the church in the past. Anytime I stand to
speak or sing a song, they scoff and roll their eyes. It is a hurtful
situation. I have taken this for about 6 months now. I am very
self-conscious about everything that I do now in the church. I find
myself declining duties when others ask me to do something that might bring
attention to me, such as directing a choir or singing a solo. I do
not want to be seen as overbearing or trying to take over my husband's
job. I fully understand my purpose in the church. The church
has always been a comfort zone for me, where I could really be myself and
give my best to the Lord. However, my best seems to intimidate others
and cause others to be envious and jealous. It is the first time
that I have truly felt limited in the church. And yes, that hurts
too. I know the pastor's wife role is different than any other and
sometimes undefined. I love my husband very much. He is a great
man of God. I do not want to hurt his ministry in any way.
I can't help but have thoughts that perhaps it might be better if we were
not together - perhaps others can see the God in him and stop focusing
on trivial things like what his wife is doing. I want to take the
low road. However, I feel if I was just a pew member, they would
find something else to say like I didn't clap my hands enough or I didn't
stand up whenever my husband preached. I can't figure out who or
what they want me to be. I love God - and I don't want him to turn
me away. I believe in giving God your best at all times. This
is what I want to do. However, I don't want to cause another to stumble
in the process. Has any pastor's wife felt like this?
Kay 1/10/98 Williams - God has not only called your husband to be a pastor, but He called you to be a pastor's wife. You said you want to give all to God. In our church, my husband and I are a team. We work together. He has areas that he is much better in and I have areas that I am much better in. When I first came to this church, I explained I would be myself. And that's what they got. Not always what they want. When I heard that people were talking about me, I confronted them. When I saw rolled eyes, etc., I confronted them. "I couldn't help noticing that you didn't like what I was doing. Could you explain why?" Often being caught is enough to take the power away. And don't forget to pray. My favorite verse for this situation is, "My defense is with God who saves the upright in heart." He will defend me when I am misunderstood. Don't hold back because you are afraid. Satan will use anything to keep you from doing what God wants. Be all you can be and let God work on them. KAY
Marissa 1/10/98 My heart really goes out to you, Williams. You are definitely in a difficult and painful situation. Fortunately, I have never been in your situation, but my husband, as Pastor has. For several years, when he would preach or speak, a group of people would make faces, scoff, etc. At board meetings, some of these same people would yell at him, tell him what to preach or not to preach, etc. It was a time of anguish and pain for my husband. My first piece of counsel, of course, is to pray and be in close fellowship with the Lord. Do exactly what He wants for you to do, regardless of these people. We are not to fear people, but God. "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (Prov. 29:25) "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." (Matt. 5:11) "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:10) When I mentioned your situation to my husband, he recommended the book People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck. Although the author's books are not all recommendable, this one brought healing to him in recognizing the existence of group evil. These people are treating you in an evil way and gain power through being in a group. They are definitely interested in power and control as has been evidenced by their driving others away. I would also recommend being open with your husband about this situation. He needs to know how you're feeling and being affected. May the Lord bless you and I'll continue to pray for you!
Williams 1/14/98 Thank you so much for your responses. As it turns out, I was to talk with the women who were in so much opposition to me. My husband called us in his office. It was three on one (me and them). They even lied and said that I told them that my husband was dating a woman in another church. It was told in front of my husband as if to turn my household upside down. It was a bold face lie. During the meeting, they never confessed to anything. The rolling of eyes, the looks, grunts, and malicious gossip. The only reason that it was ever brought to their attention was because persons of the congregations asked about the ugly looks and frowns by these women whenever I spoke or led a song. One of the persons was a 13-year-old child, who sees it all from Sunday to Sunday. I really don't care what is said about me, however, if pew members as well as visitors can see the disdain of choir members, then how can we minister through them in song? Instead of focusing on the issue at hand, they focused on all my faults, what I don't do as a minister's wife, etc., etc., and nitpicked petty small things. Sisters, I am very discouraged. I have been a member of two other congregations, but I have never seen one like this. The church has become all of a sudden a hard thing to do or attend. I was told I need to grow up, etc., etc. My husband was the only man in a room of four women. Others in the church have felt just like me concerning these women and their sometimey ways. But rather than deal with it, they just go along to get along or leave the church. The previous pastor watched this congregation fall from 400 to less than a hundred active members. I know making a stand for God is hard, but I've never felt this discouraged. My husband has said that spiritually the church is at a lower level of maturity in Christ and we must be patient with them. But is my silence acceptance? I have prayed earnestly for this situation. Please join me. I am a young woman in my late 20's with a baby boomer church who is more concerned with competing than actually leading and assisting the younger women. I must say though, that I believe God has set a seed. Because of all the things that was said I am hurt, but I don't feel destroyed. Just confused, weak, and tired of it all. I know these are growing pains. But how long does it last? We have been here about eight months now. Please pray for my strength in the Lord.
Bea Kay 1/16/98 Williams: My heart is with you. I have not been attacked as directly as what you are, but my husband certainly has. The indirect remarks, comments, etc. are also extremely hard to deal with. The most painful to me were those in which my children were criticized, or actually I was being criticized for how my children behaved. It is so disheartening to come face-to-face with the lying that goes on within the church, the twisting of words that were said. It has been our experience that when one target is removed, or when the pastor leaves, small groups like these just pick another target. I will pray for you, but I will also plead for God to do business with the trouble-makers within his body.
Morgan 1/16/98 Williams --- I am new to Aol and have been looking for support and fellowship with other pastors' wives. As I read the entries, I was reminded of a story I heard one time. It goes like this: There was a pastor who was broken and seeking the help of the Lord saying, "Lord, I can't go on. This cross is too heavy to bear. I must see a change here or I'm going to quit." The Lord spoke and said, "Okay, come into this room and you can choose another cross to bear." The pastor looked around and saw many different size crosses, some so tall and heavy that he marvelled at the size of them. Then, in a far corner he saw a very small cross and told the Lord, "I'll take that one." And the Lord said, "That's the one you brought in." I came in here feeling exactly as you've expressed that you feel. Very weary and tired of it all. Knowing that other pastors' wives are making it through is encouraging. Many people who profess to be Christians don't leave much evidence. And I think I deal with a lot of the same problems that you do, in that I believe that all that we do should be done to the best of our ability. Sometimes the talents and abilities that God has blessed us with causes others to be intimidated, even though we don't mean to intimidate them. I just won't bother doing anything unless I do my best. I believe that is what God expects of us. I sing solos and teach at our church also. A lady in our church would actually turn her back to me from the pews. I couldn't figure out why she even came. But we finally had to confront her with her actions and her gossip concerning me. She continued to lie when we met with her, too. My husband is very supportive and will not allow people who come against our family to go unchecked. I agree that confrontation breaks the power in bad attitudes and gossiping tongues. But my husband is a lot better at that than I am. I don't like confrontation at all. But it had to be done. She was one of the ones who later left our church. Now, we are seeking God's perfect will in whether we need to relocate. There is little interest in our congregation to grow further spiritually or to help the church to build back. We work a full-time job in addition to the church work and we can't do it all. During the first fourteen months, we baptized 85 people. We were praising the Lord for His goodness, when the first man left with half the church. With God's help, we built it back up and a young man came in to take our youth ministry responsibilities and he told us he was called to preach. After awhile, the church licensed him for ministry and he soon left the church and took half of the church to start a storefront church. Both men took mostly family, but it left us devasted for a while. Then my husband said, "Well, we can let it beat us down and defeat us or we can just say we planted two churches..." I wasn't ready for smiling, but my husband has a way of making people laugh even when they don't want to. He is very funny. Anyway, I will be praying for all the ladies that I have read about and hope that you all will pray for us. We would love to move to the Knoxville, Tenn. area and we are not sure why we feel that way. We have no family there, so we are wondering if God has placed the desire in our hearts. We are pastoring an interdenominational church, so if anyone knows of a church who needs a pastor, please email us about it. [Rock Dove: Just e-mail us and we will pass it on to Morgan.] We are praying for God's perfect will whether its's go or stay where we are. We are an independent church so we don't have the help of a denomination for a change of location, but we know that God knows how to get it done if he desires a change for us. God bless all of you.
Jane 1/18/98 To Williams: I am 28 years-old and have been a pastor's wife for five years. My husband has just been installed as the Pastor of a church with about 40 members. We've been here about seven months now. Because I am younger than most of the ladies here, I find it difficult to communicate to some of the older ladies, plus I sense that some of them do not respect me because I am much younger than them. My husband says he has also experienced this because he is only 32 years old. I am always remembering young Timothy and Jeremiah and also Mary who were all young when God called them to do a task, to carry out His will. Paul tells Timothy in I Timothy 4:12, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in faith and in purity." Concerning those women who are giving you a hard time, I think it is best that you and your husband pray for them and then confront them one by one on different days. Let each of them know that you and your husband are the God-appointed leaders of the church and that they should not be spreading lies about you or any other members of your congregation. Use Scripture as much as possible that talks about being in submission to those in authority. Be firm with them, but also tell them that you love them and that you want this resolved. Remember that we all have flaws and that Satan wants God's church to be divided. Try your best not to be affected by their facial expressions when you minister through singing or speaking. You are not there to please men, but to please God. If they continue to act this way after you and your husband have confronted them (one by one) I suggest that you relieve them of all ministry responsibilities for awhile until you both see real changes in their behavior. Let them know that they are welcome to attend church, but not to be involved in any ministry for the time being. Be in prayer constantly for them and if they do love God, His Spirit will change their spirit and attitude towards you. Be strong and focus on building relationships with other ladies. This intimidation by these women must be rebuked and stopped. It does not edify anyone nor does it give glory to Our Father. Hopefully they will repent to the Lord, to you and your spouse and to others they may have hurt. Praying for you. From: Jane in Naalehu, Hawaii
Marcia 1/20/98 I was touched by your story as I am in my late twenties and my husband and I are heading to our first church where we will be "it." We were in a church of 250 as Youth Pastor and it was a very loving and caring church. Now we are heading to a church where there are many ladies in their "sunset" years and I am praying that I will be able to have good relationships with them. I will be the youngest (I think) married woman and get a little overwhelmed at the prospect of being surrounded and maybe being expected to lead them as well. I believe it is a loving church as well. Enough about me. I don't have any experience to tell you how to deal with your situation, but will be praying for you as you seek His comfort, love, and His abounding acceptance. I am excited to see what God may do through this situation. May God be glorified!!
Sally 3/14/99 We
too are in the cocoon waiting the coming out. It is the pits! It also has
been such a time of speculation by others and many times us, as to
why God is so silent. You know in your heart that no one really has
answers as to why we have been set aside for reshaping. I have thought
I would not be able to do this waiting one more day......many times. Finally
we have a church. And it has had nothing to do with our gifts or or lack
or our mistakes or our worthiness. It has to do with the Father readying
a place for us. This arranged 'marriage' must be of his choosing
and time. And I have hated it, the waiting and the silence.
I only know some coping skills for the wait. I set aside this time
to knit and quilt. I wanted to redeem the time and be able to look back and say the time was not wasted. The wait became easier. The Father may have some creativity to pour out through you separate from ministry and others. OR not. I gathered new friends from the community. I kept my relationship steady with my husband, which is not easy in times of stress. We had to sell our home. We had to
sell some of my favorite things to get by. I know things in the kingdom are worldly some would say . ... but it is still a hard lesson. And I WORKED at being healed emotionally and physically. I want to mother you with the loss of your babies.....to hold you . I want to tell you to go to the health food store and get some good vitamins and build up your health. Be aware of depression and go to the Doctor if needed. If antidepressants are needed, so be it. And wait. Endorse yourself and your husband. Remember who the accusor of the brothern is. And remember God loves you and desires to give you a future and a hope. Silence is not being ignored. it is just a quiet waiting and the Bible is full of mighty men of God who waited on the back side of the mountain. So ...I am hugging you and telling you this
will go on until it is over and you think you will loose your mind. But it is not condemnation and it is not meanon God's part. It is waiting at the footstool of the throne for god's next assignment and trusting. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. this too shall pass. Love you
Williams 1/20/98 Thank you so much for all responses. They have all really helped. Last Sunday, if looks could kill, I would have been dead. The church was so cold. It discouraged my husband so much that he didn't even feel like preaching. Sisters, I have decided to step back for awhile and not participate in things of the church. I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone. There are so many rumors circulating right now. I feel that I need to just step down if my mere presence affects them. This decision really hurts. But I will do it for the sake of Ministry. I hope this will only be for a short time. My husband hasn't given much direction in my decision because he just wants to see me happy. I just want to support his ministry and if it means sitting down and being a pew member, then so be it. Please pray for me and my strength in the Lord. I know that when we humble ourselves, God will exalt us in due time.
Dawn 7/26/98 I am the wife of a youth pastor, and we just began our ministry at the beginning of July. I feel that you should NOT have to give up things that you enjoy doing in your church, because there are a few women who "do not like you." Your husband is the pastor of the church, the pastor of these women! They should respect you as they respect him. I also feel that your husband, being the pastor, and being your partner, should tell these women that this will not be tolerated! They have no right to do this to you! And I think that he is the one who should intervene on your behalf! Obviously, letting time pass has not done anything to help this situation. Saying nothing has DONE nothing. He needs to sit down with these women, and explain that you are his wife, and that this is YOUR church as well as theirs, that you are a leader here as well as he is. I think that not confronting them with an attitude that this MUST change, may have encouraged them. Did he tell them that they needed to accept you, whether or not they "liked" you? I will be praying.
Dory 4/16/99 I
have been where you are at. I too had a woman who lied, slandered
and you name it. The Bible tells us to pray for the peace of our
enemy and in so doing, we will find peace. I prayed for my enemy
and I even went the second, third and umteenth mile. You can't change tares.
Wheat and tares grow together but God knows the difference. Not everyone
that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven."
This woman will sure be surprised when she stands before Jesus.
Christians will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Usually those who give a pastor's wife the most grief are those who once had a call upon their heart and did not follow it in their youth. Pray for her and pray for her followers, that she would act like a Christian or God would remove her out of the church. Your church will never grow with such carnality. She is a tool in the hands of Satan to stop your ministry. I would not stop if I were you. I would ask God for strength to work for Him and keep on going. When you sing, don't look at her. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it as unto the Lord and let God take care of her carnality. When I first got saved my pastor told me to keep my eyes right on Jesus because people would hurt me. Everytime something came up, I would ask myself, "Jesus, what have you done for me?" My answer would be that He loved me, and died for me and my response was that I was always going to love and serve Him no matter what and let Him take care of the people. I have been in the ministry for 38 years. It finally dawned on me, that it wasn't flesh and blood I was having trouble with. It was Satan who tried to buffet my ministry from the start. Don't you let Satan stop you. I'm praying for you.
Funnyface 3/26/00 I realize your comments are older,but you are singing my song! My husband and I just resigned today from our church, his reasons fro his own, and mine for the things that I got myself tangled up in. the congregation dwindled down to a handful, literally. Nobody seemed to care about anything, and frankly, noone was willing to help the pastor-team to get God's work moving. "let's just stay here where it's comfortable and we can run things like we like it..." I suppose even God had enough an led mu husband to leave and use his talents where a people are willing to praise and move. I hope things are better for the both if you are still there and I'm lookign foward to finding what God has in store!
Sheila 3/29/00 My
husband and I pastor in Ca. Married 19 yrs 3 children and we've been at
this location for 6 yrs. I've been through my ups and downs and learning
experiences. I read through the letters and I
found myself, lonely, misunderstood,and all the rest. I've learned a lot since we've been here. With out going into all the stories I'll share what has helped me.
1. People are our business,all kinds,and making life better for them brings fulfillment to me.
2. Helping them to get to Heaven is hard work,and I must think as mature as I can before I speak.
3. The very worst person out there,God loves as much as me ,even people who treat me wrong he loves and died for them,and I must love them too.
4. He loves me as much as the people I look up to and hope that I can somday be like.
5. I must know who I am, I can't tell the devil who he's messing with if I don't know.
6. God has given me gifts apart from my husband and he desires that I use them, whether people look at me funny or talk about me and his word says"the gifts and the callings of God are without repentance" I must obey him if it's singing speaking etc...,I must not quit because of others.
7.Seek the face of God not the face of the people,(There is a passage of scripture that talks about not "looking at their faces"I can't find right now.)take your eyes off the people, don't look at the bad disgruntle looks they can give you, when you are obeying God in your gift.
8. There are times when I must confront. If I don't confront the person hurting me or others I will probably tell someone else, and that is gosip.
9. When I feel the need to confront I check my motive , Do I want to get back at this person, Or do I love this person and want the best for them, and do not want to hurt them. God stands behind the person who will do it for the 2nd reason and people can change.
10. God is love and love is a powerful thing , not mushy like the world would have us to believe.
11. If there is strife between you and your husband take it to God, your husband, a counselor, or a safe person out side the church(another pastor's wife ,or parents maybe) but do not talk about it with your church people, it may come back to hurt you.
12. Even pastors wives are somtimes abused wives , you don't have to take it to prove you love God, and if you don't find help it's like saying it ok and it won't change. Find a safe person and tell.
In all the things I've learned just in the 6 yrs as senior pastor here, It reminds me of an old Dolly Parton song" No amount of money could buy from me the memories that I have of then,No amount of money could pay me to go back and live through it again" These are just some general things not all of them apply to your situation, but some of them do and I've been where you are. Hang in there Chances are, God is preparing you for an even greater work.
Kim 1/9/98 I am a 29-year-old Youth PW who sees herself in so many of the women that I read above. We have been in full-time ministry since one week after we got married 7 yrs ago. I remember being lonely like Mika and having other church members wanting to be my friend just because my husband was "on staff." We have been in both large and small churches. I have worked full-time as a teacher all but one of those 7 years. The one year that I stayed home with our two small children ages 2yrs and 4 month (at that time) was the best time we had, except financially it was devastating. The one book, besides the Bible, was a book edited by Michelle Buckingham entitled Help, I'm a Pastor's Wife. She is the daughter-in-law of the late Jaime Buckingham. Anyway, the book has about 25 articles from other "famous" PWs and how they handled their different situations. Any problem I had, I learned that someone who looked like they had it all together, had been there before me and had gotten through it. The most valuable lesson I have learned recently came from my Senior PW. When all the people are looking into my glass house and giving me their opinions on how I should raise my kids or how I should live my life, I remember Deut. 30:19b "Now CHOOSE LIFE, so that you and your children might live." - When I choose to live my life the way God called me, not the way my church membership has called me, then I am fulfilling my destiny according to His will and He will bring the blessings into our home.
Charlie 1/11/98 Question: My husband and I left a large church, where we were very successful youth pastors, to accept the call as Senior Pastor at a much smaller congregation. We have been here for 15 months and I have many questions about transition, loneliness, and having a career outside of the ministry of the church. I would accept any helpful advice. Blessings, Charlie.
Suzanne 2/23/98 I've got the loneliness thing going on too! In fact, I have recently found a very good friend outside of the church. One thing that has really helped me out is that I have found what started as a hobby has become a source of help, income, self-respect and a goal. I sell Avon. I know that sounds really simple, but with that I am able to have a life outside of the church. It has helped me meet a lot of people in the community and also make some extra spending money. It doesn't take too much time and my kids (4 and 1) like to "help." There are days that I think that if I didn't have my business, I'd go crazy! I'm not saying that Avon is for you, there are a lot of things out there to pick from. Check out the Direct Selling Association's home page in the internet for some ideas.
Brandie My husband and
I have been called to be a part of a church planting team. Going
from Ohio to Utah, 1500 miles away. We will be starting from scratch
in Utah which is going to be a big difference from the church we are now
involved in which has 900 members and is con't growing. I am already
dreading the loneliness of being in a small congregation, not to mention
the loneliness that will come from being apart from my whole entire family.
I do not have any advice for you because I have not yet been there, but
I will be and I sympathize with you entirely. I just want to let
you know that you will be in my heart and in my prayers.
Connie 1/16/98 Question: My husband pastors a church that is not my own belief and I have been visiting my son's church, off and on. Am I doing wrong, do you think? The church my husband pastors does not have any form of worship, and I am very uncomfortable there. What is your opinion? My husband's heart isn't in that church either, but he feels obligated to be there just because they asked him and he thinks it must be God asking him. Thanks for any advice you can give.
Miranda 1/25/98 A few years ago, my husband left his position as associate pastor of our church where I was heavily involved to work at a new church, and I decided to stay at the first church. I was there about a year, and it was REALLY tough - as I'm sure you are aware. What do you do at Christmas, or special events? People often thought my husband and I had split up because they never saw us together. Finally, I quit the first church and started attending with him and to my surprise, I loved it! It was a church VERY different from the one I was used to, but it really spread my perspectives and I was able to work in a lot of really neat areas - we thought of ourselves as "missionaries" in this second church. Maybe if you thought of your husband's church that way, it might help. I think it's probably only damaging for you to both attend different ones.
Say 2/8/98 My question is, "How do you explain to lay people your reasons for not attending your husband's church?" I have tried and they just don't seem to understand it works for us. I just don't feel comfortable there. I used to belong, but haven't been to his church in over five years. I'm very happy and active in the church I now belong to.
Jolene 4/17/99 The
atmosphere of a church is due largely to the Pastor. If you don't
feel comfortable in your husband's church, tell him. He, as the leader,
could change the atmosphere so you do feel comfortable. If you worked
with him, your influence could also make a difference. Why not ask
God to help you be the leader that He wants you to be, and ask Him to give
you the strength to be in positions in your husband's church that will
make a difference, not only to the church but to your community.
My husband and I have been pastors for a good many years. Once when
we were called to pastor a church that I thought was at the end of the
earth, I commented that I didn't want to go there. I told him that
there was nothing there and he said, "We will make something there.
We will make things happen and make the Gospel appealing to those who need
it." We did. We were there a long time and through our ministry,
20 others decided they wanted to be missionaries, ministers, and evangelists.
We made a difference and you can too. It starts with giving yourself
to God - not your will,but His be done."
Diane 1/18/98 My husband was called to plant a church a couple of years ago. We currently have about forty active members. I am writing because I need some advice on how to effectively share new ideas with husband concerning the ministry without sounding like criticism. At times I get very discouraged with the congregation because I feel that they do not evangelize and that they are comfortable with the ministry the way that it is. In addition, I feel that my husband does not keep the vision of the ministry before the congregation nor does he put enough emphasis on evangelism. However, when I offer suggestions, he feels that I am criticizing him. Help! I'm new at this.
Bea Kay 2/5/98 I have been a pastor's wife for 15 years. I have had to come to terms with what you are struggling with. It happens that my husband is gifted in preaching (not writing) sermons and in pastoral care to the elderly, the sick, the grieving, those in crisis. I, on the other hand, have some gifts in writing and in working with small groups, facilitating discussions, chairing meetings, etc. My strengths are his weaknesses and vice versa. For many years I tried to tell him how to do his job. I became very frustrated because he refused to take my advise or follow my directions. I too am more visionary than he; I always felt that if he would just do things the way that I suggested, that vision would come to fruition. To condense many years of frustration, and hurt feelings for both of us, the short story is: I had to let him do what God called him to do in the way that he saw it needed to be done. I cannot tell you how difficult it is for me to step back and let him make what I think are mistakes. But God called him to be the pastor, and called him to a particular church to fulfill a work that God had for him there. I since have spent more time on my knees, asking God to accomplish His will for my husband and for the church, as well as to show me where I can use my gifts. This detachment is so difficult, but I found it to be essential to my happiness and the health of our marriage. Hope this helps!!
Mary 2/21/98 Diane, I agree emphatically with Bea Kay. It is always easier to fix someone else's problems than our own. I have done this to my husband as well. It's not easy for us to improve our own weak areas, so we divert our attention to "improving" our husband's or someone else's weak points. If you keep it up, you will destroy your marriage. I had to learn that, in most cases, improving my husband was the Holy Spirit's job, not mine. Imagine if your husband started criticizing some of your weak areas, or kept giving you ideas on how you could do better at this or that. How would you feel? I hope that I am learning to be a good wife and friend to my husband, by working on doing MY jobs better, and just praying for and loving him. I still say something critical from time to time. Believe me, nothing good comes from it. I'm not saying that you shouldn't discuss problems with your husband, BUT be very careful. A wise woman builds up her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. (Prov., a verse I need to remember).
Teresa 1/22/98 I FOUND YOU! I have been praying for something and/or someone to come to my rescue. My husband has pastored full-time for fifteen years and we have pastored four churches. It seems that the only churches we can pastor are churches that have problems. The one we are in now split a year before we came. We've been here a year (to the day) and it seems there is another group of people stirring up trouble. All I can see ahead is MAJOR CONFLICTS. I have to admit that I'm very tired. Where are the true Christians? Where is a group of people who really want to see God DO what He says He will do if we will but trust HIM? I am in desperate need of support and encouragement. I just want OUT of ministry if this is the way it is. Someone change my mind!
Theresa 1/24/98 Teresa, I think I am looking into a mirror. My husband has been a pastor for almost 30 years. We have been mostly in rural areas with smaller churches and have experienced the same type of conflict. We are very tired, too. In fact, tomorrow my husband has decided to resign. This is a very hurtful decision, but my husband's health is being greatly affected by all the constant stress. We have been at this church for over three years. During the first year we baptized 72 people. Then, a man who convinced us he was called to ministry, lost the "control" he had on the church before we came. He angrily left and took over half the church with him. Shortly after that, another man came who said he was called to ministry, too, and stayed for a few months and took half of what was left and started a storefront church. These men took mostly family members, but it was people we had stayed up all night counseling, sitting in hospitals, or helping with whatever they needed. I know that people say that it's the devil that does all this, but he is NOT omnipresent nor are his cohorts. Some of this is just simply works of the flesh. People make decisions to cause strife. It is selfishness on their part to get their way, usually. Where are the Christians who really realize that we are all in a church to seek what God wants to do with that particular part of His Body and to walk in love together to get it done. Teresa, I know this is not encouragement and I wish I could offer you some, but if you don't mind, I'll just "listen in" on any encouragement that might come to you. I, too, want OUT of ministry if this is all there is. Somebody, please, tell us there's something better than this and how we might find it.... God bless you and your husband, Teresa. I am sure that you both would simply just like to walk in your calling and be free to serve the Lord without all the constant disruptions. Constantly putting out "fires" in a church is one of the fastest ways of burning out. I pray that God will strengthen you and your husband and help you to head off the conflict that you see coming. May He give you His Wisdom in handling everything.
Jane 1/27/98 Theresa and Teresa, My sisters, don't give up, press on, we have a high calling and a high privilege from Our Lord. I know it is difficult what we go through, but look beyond the conflicts and trust in God. He says his yoke is easy, his burden light. He knows we are struggling, but we must release to Him our stress and concerns, leave these problems in the Father's hands, He will give you peace to carry on through the storms that we come face to face with in ministry. As long as we are working with people, there will usually be conflicts because of the flesh. My husband and I have been through hardships too and there was a time when we actually decided to quit ministry and to live a "normal" life. He got a regular working job that pays way lot better than pastoral ministry, but we were not happy. God has given my husband a purpose in this life and that is to be a pastor, so after one year we decided to return to ministry and the Lord has blessed us with a church to pastor. It has not been smooth. Because we are young, there were some church members who were not supportive towards my husband. But after praying about this for 6 months, a few have repented to my husband and just on Sunday we had a great service where our church has pledged to the Lord and us that they will support us. The Holy Spirit has touched their hearts and changed their attitudes. There may be a few who have not truly accepted us, but it's okay. We will be faithful to our congregation and our Lord to the best we can and trust God to do the rest. We are only human and there is only so much we can do. Always set aside a day to not do any work and relax with your family. Let everyone know about your day off. On Mondays, we usually go out and relax with our children. Remember Jesus would even leave the crowds and go away by himself. Plan a 2 to 4 week vacation, a lot of pastors and their families do. Have guest speakers over; have associate pastors preach. Take some time away from all the pressure to refresh yourselves. My husband and I had a 2 week vacation just relaxing, just us and our children. It was very refreshing, my husband said it was great to just get his mind off of ministry/work. And perhaps you and your husbands can meet another pastor and his wife to talk about your concerns and to pray together. Praying for you both, be steadfast on the solid rock we stand.
Teresa 1/28/98 Thank you Theresa and Jane for responding so quickly. The newest development in our "conflict" just happened today. My husband confronted each of the board members individually with what we heard from the grapevine. This involves 6 out of 8 board members. They have all denied that they were planning strategy to get my husband "out." One person made a statement, "Don't quote me as saying this. I'll deny it and ask for forgiveness after." How can you deal with people who believe they can lie when it is convenient? My husband has to chair a board meeting with them Tuesday, Feb. 3. From some of their comments, he feels that they are going to try to confront him about issues they don't agree with. My husband is the best at dealing with confrontation. He truly shows a good attitude, but is also stern when necessary; but he truly is dreading this meeting. To the point of thinking about canceling the board meeting until he can get a mediator to attend. The Bible way of dealing with conflict is the deal one-on-one not six on one. Please pray for him that God will give him wisdom to deal with this situation. I believe this church is on the verge of closing the doors if the members don't learn to work out their differences with pastors. Just to let you know what we're dealing with: this church has had 8 pastors in 8 years. We have never stayed less than 3 years in a church (that was our first full-time pastorate). The last church we were there 5 years. We feel that a pastor cannot be effective moving from church to church. The grass is never greener on the other side of the fence.
Theresa 2/2/98 Teresa - just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and praying for you and your husbandconcerning the meeting Tuesday. I pray for God to give him wisdom in dealing with these board members. I have watched my husband go through this so many times. Please pray for us, too. My husband did resign this past Sunday. I am not as stressed as I was when I first responded to your entry on this page. But, I am definitely ready for a rest from all the things such as what your husband is dealing with this Tuesday. Just remember, the Bible says that if we are persecuted for His Name's sake, wrongfully, great is our reward. Sounds as if you and your husband have a really great one in store. My heart really goes out to you both. May God richly bless you with His favor. Please let us know how it turns out.
Teresa 2/4/98 Theresa, it is Wednesday, Feb. 4th, and God has really helped us. Thank you for your prayers. I felt the prayers of all our friends last night. The board meeting went much better than expected even though the conflict was discussed in an open forum style. Everyone acted Christ-like and listened to my husband give his explanations concerning issues they were concerned about. He also was able to state his concerns concerning the church (his primary concern is that they just want short-term pastors). I believe everyone left with a better understanding of each other's ideas and a willingness to try to work together. I have to say though that that doesn't mean that our eyes are closed. But we want to show the kind of love Christ would in this situation knowing that they are still human and this could start up all over again in about 12 months when my husband's review comes up again. We are going to do everything we can with the Lord's help to love these people and keep on loving them even through the hard times. I am happy for you in one way and sorry in another. I know it was a big decision on your husband's part to resign. Do you have another place to go? When will you have to move? I'm sure the heavy weight from all the problems have lifted. I pray that you will be able to find rest from your labors, as well as a place to minister in God's Will for your life. Thank you for being there for me during a very stressful time. I really believe this: "God's Will will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you." I know we have come through a lot of crucial events in our life and can look back and see that God was there all the time. We have to rely upon Him for every need and decision. God bless you. Keep us informed of your progress.
Theresa 2/6/98 Teresa--Praise the Lord! I am so happy to hear that things went as well as they did at the board meeting. You and your husband were on my mind (and my lips in prayer) all day. I had flashbacks of all the times that my husband and I have had that sinking feeling inside from not knowing what to expect. Of course, the devil wants us to expect the worst. You know, I believe that is one of the devil's favorite tools, but look at this scripture: JER 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." This is one on my favorite scriptures. Many times the Holy Spirit has nudged me and said, "Raise your expectations! Expect what your Father expects." I really believe, based on this scripture, that we have a Heavenly Father who wants us to expect PEACE. That is the "end" He is always working toward in every situation. Our situation has left us in a state of numbness at this point, waiting to see what God is going to do. We don't have another place to go, so please pray for us to find God's perfect will for our lives. We are truly walking by faith; walking by sight would leave us terribly depressed. February 22 is our last Sunday. There is a sense of relief, but also a sense of failure. (Even as I typed that the Holy Spirit is telling me to raise my expectations. So, I'll try...) Somehow, we just feel as if we need to rest. I guess we can just rest while God does what He wants to do. I located a really neat page on the Internet called PastorCare and I am so impressed with their ministry. They minister to hurting pastors and their families. They called me this morning and have informed me that they network with folks that have vacation homes that they make available for pastors who need to just get away. I had left a prayer request and was quite surprised to have them follow up as they did. They are now making arrangements with their ministry partners to set up a weekend, after we leave the church, to get away and recharge. I don't know where we will be called to pastor next, but I hope it doesn't take long. My husband and I love to serve God and will be so lost without pastoral responsibilities. I just want to have patience and wait on God. I stay very involved in ministry with my husband. He and I have always worked well as a team and we don't like quitting anything. So, I pray that it won't be long before we are called somewhere else. Thank you for your prayers and concern. I know that God will see us through. I will continue to pray for you and your husband. I will pray for overwhelming fruit for your labor, so that 12 months from now your church will see undeniable evidence that God's anointing is upon you (Isa. 61:1,2,3). God bless you and keep you from the tongues of judgment. I am asking God and believing that no weapon formed against you will prosper.
Teresa 2/20/98 Theresa, I wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you Sunday (Feb. 22). I know this will not be an easy day for either you or your husband. I never enjoy our last Sunday in a church. I was very happy to hear that you will be going to a place to rest before your next assignment. PastorCare sounds like something we need to check into. My husband keeps saying he wishes he could just take about a month off to get his mind back. God is working all things out for us. I will continue to "wait upon the Lord" for his help and strength. We don't know where we'll be a year from now, but I know God can keep us. I'm sure you won't be able to communicate for awhile now so KEEP LOOKING UP and TRUST GOD. I really appreciate your friendship.
Theresa 2/26/98 Teresa, I, too, truly thank you for your friendship and support. I covet your prayers and God is hearing and answering those prayers. We have been contacted by a church (out of state) that has asked us to come to fellowship and to be presented as a candidate for pastor the weekend of March 29. We are excited and apprehensive. Last Sunday was a difficult day, but the church prepared a nice dinner and gave us a gift. They have also asked my husband to serve as interim pastor until they can find a new pastor or until we receive a call to another church. He won't have all the responsibilities that he has had for the church. He will only be responsible for Sunday services. Of course, if someone needed him (or me), we would be there for them. For three and a half years, though, we have been everything from the janitor to the pastor. Not that the janitor position is unimportant, but it is very difficult to pray and prepare for services knowing no one in the church would take care of things such as that. Maybe in the next church God calls us to, he won't have so much of that. It would be a big decision to leave the area where we have lived for twenty years, but we are always open to whatever and wherever God leads us. Right now, I think we could use a drastic change. We are both so drained. I have not had a chance to contact PastorCare again, but plan to do it tomorrow. Please do contact PastorCare for you and your husband. I'd love to think that you and your dear, sweet husband could take a month off and come back to your congregation refreshed, but even a weekend would help. I know, because the overload gets to the point that you wonder if you are doing any good at all. I think we all need opportunities to just rest our minds and bodies. Thanks again for you prayers. God BLESS you, and I WILL keep looking UP. He is the Lifter of our heads. I am here tonight to testify of that. Love to you and your husband...
Miranda 1/25/98 Hi Everybody - I need a little perspective from others, please!! My question is, how much of ourselves do we need to CHANGE in order to be an effective minister's wife? See, I'm basically an introvert and would much rather stay at home and do my own thing, than hang out at church events, do visitation with my husband, etc. I'm 29, and my husband has pastored 7 churches - some I've been really involved in, others not much, but right now I don't FEEL like doing anything - even meeting with the people of the church. Am I wrong? Do I need to force myself to get out and do church things? Does anyone else relate? THANKS!
Kay 1/29/98 Miranda, I have a few questions? Do you have children? What is "do your own thing?" What kind of things do you attend at church? Are youfeeling a little down right now and if so, why? I don't think we need to change to fit unless God wants us to. It appears that you have been involved in the past, what has changed? How long have you been involved in this church? So many questions before I can reply with wisdom.
Miranda 2/2/98 Thanks, Kay... I'll try to answer your questions! Basically, I was just thinking that pastors get a job description, but their wives don't - even though there are these unwritten rules of what our jobs are to be! I have a one-year-old baby that I'm home with, and do lots of home renovation, freelance artwork, and art projects - that's why I like to stay home. Maybe, since this is our 7th church and we've never been anywhere longer than a year I'm sick of making relationships and then leaving... At church I play the piano and do youth work and at other churches I've done that and pretty much everything else. I guess I wonder if I'm free to be myself and NOT lead the ladies' ministries, (which I hate, but it's expected of me) and leave the visitation up to my husband. Also, is it the "right" thing to do, do you think, to push yourself past your natural limitations and force yourself to do things you do not enjoy, simply because it's expected of the pastor's wife? What is our role, in God's eyes really??? Or are we free to just be our husband's wife? Thanks so much for your input!!
Kay 2/5/98 My husband has been a pastor of the church we are now for 8 years. When we first got here I made the decision to not conform to what everyone else wanted of me and to use the gifts God gave me. At first I felt guilty and at times a little intimidated but eventially people began to see that what I did do was done well and they left me alone. I remember one of the first things that was said was, "The pastor's wife always handles children's church." My gentle response (I've grown much since then) was, "Not this Pastor's wife." God probably chuckled because I have, in those eight years, been responsible at times for children's church, but it was out of necessity not by choice. I've also found that sometimes letting the job go undone will allow God to talk to someone else about doing it. As far as the women's group goes, I was told once - by a wise older lady, that the women's group was a place for the ladies of the church, other than the pastor's wife, to use their gifts in leadership. I have since tried to stay out of officer's positions, etc. That doesn't mean that I don't support it, but I use my gifts where I should. I guess my philosophy is: Even though my husband and I are a team, I am not hired by the church and so no one should expect me to do anything that they wouldn't expect someone else to do. By the way, my children are all grown, (I'm 46) I have grandchildren, and I am a public speaker which takes me away from church functions at times. The congregation I'm in loves me as I am or maybe I should say, in spite of myself. I will pray that you will be able to open your heart to this congregation. I'm sure it's hard to only be in a church for a short time.
Jeannie 1/26/98 Thank you for your service. I have been encouraged. I am a full-time housewife and mom of a baby and young child. Our church runs 100. Its the best church I have ever been in. We have pastored here for five years and are by God's leading leaving the church to pastor another. But nearly everyday for the past three years - many of the ladies wanted me to babysit (this summer I watched eight kids at once all day and with no offer to pay me), pick up their kids from school and keep them or for them themselves to hang out at my house an hour or two to wait for an appointment. Drive them somewhere and wait on them and bring them back. Rarely was it an emergency. They all have family to help them. In what words do I say "no" without offending. I don't want to get this started at our next church.
Morgan 2/2/98 Jeannie, are you sure you need to leave that church? Or has all the imposition of the women in that church convinced your husband to leave? It sounds as though you are being used and are kind of boxed in not knowing how to get out of what is going on. Is it easier to run than to face those people and say, "I can't do that any more?" Saying no is not always easy, but it is simple. Just say "No." Those who are bold enough to take advantage of you will probably have to be told very firmly. This is a major case of being selfish and inconsiderate on their part. You seem to be a very sweet person and there are countless people who will take advantage of a sweet temperament. You should not feel the least bit bad about stopping this kind of behavior from them. By all means, you should not allow this to start at your new church. Please make sure you are not making a mistake leaving a good church. My husband and I are searching for a different church ourselves, but we are in the worst church we have been in. So, think carefully about the change. The devil will trap you if he can. I pray that you and your husband don't get a church full of problems and regret leaving a good church. I wish I could be there with you, I'd have no problem telling them how selfish and inconsiderate they are. God bless you and stengthen you.
Rose 2/2/98 Hi, I would love to communicate with another pastor's wife whose husband is a senior pastor of a church size 3,400 members and multiple staff.
Sarah 10/2/98 This is in response to Rose on 2/2/98. I am pastor's wife of multiple staff and membership of 5,000. Would be very interested in chatting with you.
Renee 2/4/98 My husband has just been called to pastor a small country church. I love the Lord, and trust Him, but I've got to admit this is all more than a little overwhelming. I want to be a good helpmate for him, but sometimes I'm a little intimidated by it all. Anyone got any advice?
Debelaine 3/5/98 Dear Renee, Having been raised in the ministry with a precious mother as the First Lady of the church, she taught me the one most crucial aspect of being a good pastor's wife. Once she told me how another pastor's wife was questioning her about how she could also be a good pastor's wife. Mother said, "I have always loved the people." Now at our third Senior Pastorate, I understand more fully what mother meant. When the people and our husbands know that we geniunely love them and support them, we are a success. Jesus expects us to use our talents and abilities for him, and that is not difficult to do. We will even be stretched at times for our benefit and everyone involved. But, the main thing is that we love the people. I already am assuming that you have a great time praying every day. Because, I know from experience that I can't face all that each day throws my way without first having spent time with our heavenly Father. The Word of God says, "Casting all our cares on Him." If God has called you, He will equip you to see the job done. I will be praying for you.
Lisa 6/30/98 I remember back in July 1990 when my husband took our first church: I felt this was the biggest decision and also I was scared. Prior to this he was Assist. Pastor and then Youth Director. Needless to say..these have been the greatest, the most fullest time in our lives. Yes, the road has not always been smooth...but it has always been lead by Jesus Christ. Sometimes when I feel so tired and alone...I look back and remember those (Suddenlys) as I call them...for at that time suddenly first the storm and maybe days, weeks or months later once again I felt suddenly in just one moment it was over. My prayers are with you and your husband and children on this call. It is the greatest and the highest calling there is. I am so pleased and honored that God call my husband, myself and children to be His servants in this area!!
All-weddinged-out 2/4/98 Hi, just a little survey - when your husband performs a wedding and you are invited too, is it proper etiquette to always bring a gift - even if you don't know the couple? We're finding we have so many weddings like this and can't afford gifts!!!
Kay 2/5/98 I don't take a gift to a wedding that my husband does. If I know the couple and we are going to give a gift, usually he returns the gratuity. If I don't know the couple, I just show up. No one has blocked the door.
Rach 3/20/98 If
you feel that you "must" take something to every wedding that you attend,
take a card. It is an appropriate gift for a couple you don't know
and it is an inexpensive alternative.