Leading A Church * Guest Post *

This is a guest post from an anonymous pastor's wife.

This has not been my favourite year with church people.

I just don't get how people can get up front and praise the church and the pastor at the beginning of the service and email that they've left the church before dinner time rolls around. My kids, especially the oldest two, are beginning to think that people are crazy, fickle and easily offendable. Not an impression I want them to have of church or Christians in general. 

We have given our lives for the church - not only our time and our talent but also our treasure. We've stayed up all night with folks; praying, crying, talking, listening and even cleaned up vomit when called upon.

We've given away cars, vacations, clothes, furniture & money - and then to be called selfish or greedy by some who've left offended because of preaching on bringing tithes, giving offerings, seed time & harvest and that God wants us to prosper - in every area of our lives… makes me sad.

It does make it hard at times to keep doing what we're doing.

I just returned from a near 3 week vacation where I spent my entire time trying to heal from the hurts people caused me this year. Those who left our church offended and have been badmouthing us ever since. Of course these people say that they’re not offended but every action since has said otherwise. BTW… not one left for Biblical reasons. It had more to do with personality conflict and frustrations, trivial criticisms, and personal discontentment.

Thank goodness we know what we're called to do and by Whom we were / are called by. I have to remind myself of that often these days… It also does help that we have an incredible core group of people, who stand by us and are for us but more importantly... they come to us and talk with us if, strike that, WHEN… there are issues and we've blown it. 

That is a big deal!!

What good is it for church members to keep their questions or concerns to themselves or worse... talk about the issues with others and never come to us?!

We don't have ESP you know!

I love and really appreciate those who take the time to invest in this relationship!! Thank you to all those in the church who believe in communication, covenantal relationships, commitment, friendship, true partnership – those who are not just in it for what we can do for them, you are appreciated beyond words. 
I wish more people out there were like these folks... They take into account our feelings in all of this! We’re not unapproachable… really we’re not!! My husband has repented from the pulpit when he’s blown it (don’t worry, nothing immoral or illegal) – he’s not all about his way or the highway. Those who know us… know this!

For those of you who are easily offended and who leave churches quicker than you change your hairstyle... just remember... we are human too!! The constant rejection I have felt as a Pastor's Wife over the past 14 years... has not been fun! The feeling that I need to walk on eggshells so you won't get mad at us and leave... is not fair to us. THANK YOU to those who make leading a church a joy!!! :) I love you guys!!

Hebrews 13:17, “Be responsive to your pastoral leaders [recognize their authority over you]. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God [they’ll render an account of their trust]. [Do your part too] Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudger. [That would not be profitable to you… so…] Why would you want to make things harder for them?” (The Message & Amplified together)

If you’re having issues with something your pastor has preached on – talk to him. Ask him those questions you have. Don’t talk about it with others until you have phoned him up – DON’T EMAIL YOUR ISSUES WITH HIM – talk it out with him in person please! I think email is for cowards. If what he’s preaching on isn’t in the Bible – then bring it before wise counsel and if he doesn’t change… expose the situation and leave the church. Matthew 18:17-19 can apply here too. BUT… if it is in the Bible and it’s just something you don’t agree with because of your past experience or whatever reason you have but it’s clearly in black in white… put aside your flesh and submit to the teachings.

As much as your pastor will give an account before God for how he leads you… you will also give an account for how you followed him.

So… which part are you playing in your church? Are you contributing to your leaders and church so that they enjoy leading, are you helping bring increase / growth to the church and to your pastor or are you causing grief and sorrow with your complaining and groaning?


Great post Tara. I am still amazed how often people (church folk) seem to conviently forget that we have feelings just like they do. Or even more so that they hold Pastors to such a high standard, but don't think that they should be displaying high standards also!
Tanya said…
Amen and Amen!
Connie Walsh said…
Ouch...seriously you are not supposed to email your pastor??
I hate to bother him while he is so busy so I send my questions via email...this is not correct??

I am sorry to whoever wrote this post about how your peeps have treated you. I can tell you are very angry. I hope you feel better treated in the future.
Anonymous said…
Hi Connie,

It's not questions we don't like via email, it's "I've left the church because..." sudden emails that come out of left field that are not good.

We totally understand the busyness of life and in fact, I communicate better via email than by phone. BUT... often times, people tend to find a different kind of courage and say what they would never say to your face - over the computer. That to me is wrong.

I'm not angry at all. I'm hurt, yes. but mostly I'm sad, for them because they're simply repeating the same pattern that lead them to our church in the first place and their children are learning this is the way to do church by their example. That's a cycle that is not healthy for all parties involved. I'm disappointed. I thought we'd helped them. I thought all that we did for them mattered to them in some way.

I just hope others learn what not to do and change the atmosphere that is in most churches today.


~ Author of this post :)
Amanda said…
Amen! As a pw, I know exactly where you're coming from. Ministry hurts sometimes. We were deeply wounded at one church by people we deeply trusted, and though we healed from it, we will carry the scars forever. Hugs from one pw to another.
Christine said…
Tara, I loved this post. I have been through MANY situations as this Pastor's Wife discussed... although I myself am not one. I have seen it from the point of view of friend of one, daughter or elders board member, member of the church. It weighed on my heart very deeply to see people I care about suffer at the hands of those who were supposed to be lifted up by. I hope many people read this and really TRULY think about how they themselves are treating, talking about the Pastors and their families. My prayers go out to this Pastors wife that the Lord continues to uplift her and her husband... as well as to you Tara... you and Doug are very dear friends... its really too bad you can't be down here at the beginning of October... I would have really loved to have you at my wedding.

All my love.
Connie Walsh said…
Thanks for the clarification.
Shash said…
FishBowl living is not for the faint of heart! :)
Patricia Ward said…
Thanks for sharing this post, Tara. It's a peek into the reality of being in the ministry. Blessings on all PW'S everywhere!
Amanda said…
Well stated. I agree with this Pastor wife that one of the Church's problems is the lack of communications. I think if we all just stop pretending to be perfect and stop judging everyone else with this false standing then God could do some great stuff in and through HIS church!
Becky Mayerle said…
I was a pastor's kid growing up and I know the countless times these things happened to my parents and both my brothers were pastor's and got hurt so bad they left and yes they have scars. Leadership certainly gets the focus for tension...but as I have been an elders wife and just a person in the church I as well have been damaged also. I do not minimize that this is your career and income, so much more pressure. But I wonder how much of this pain is just life. I leave this quote I found from Mother Teresa- " People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. IF you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight, build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world your best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway." I am attempting to live this and this is what I teach my children. In the end me and God is all that matters and that I obeyed Him...with tears flowing down my cheeks and me leaning on Him cause I am broken. It sounds from what I read you all seem to be living this too, so I say bless your serving hearts and hide in Jesus' kind heart He will see you through this life.
Anonymous said…
Today seems to be a day for me to read posts that really touch my heart. Having been a minister's wife for 10+ years I know exactly how the writer feels. My ex-husband left ministry 2 years ago and then last year was arrested for allowing sin to get such a stronghold in his life that he lost everything. Having been hurt so many times people that only want what is best for themselves I was so grateful that my ex was not on staff when he was arrested. If he had been I think that I would have been hurt even more by people condemning me for his actions. Instead I have a church family that has walked beside me during this past year and helped me and my kids recover from a really deep hurt. Is my church perfect? No certainly not (we still have the contemporary vs traditional music argument;) But we are a group focused on living life building relationships with one another. We accept each other, warts and all. Thanks Tara for sharing.
Anonymous said…
Becky, I love that! thank you so much.

~ writer of this post

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