Attention: Pastors & Wives: What Are Some Ways You've Been Hurt By Congregations?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by PrivateWoman, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. PrivateWoman

    PrivateWoman
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is for pastors and their wives: I know that church members expect you to be perfect and sometimes treat you differently from others simply because you are a pastor or a pastor's wife. I am sure that you've been hurt at congregations. Can you share some ways you've been hurt at congregations you've served at? How can people in the congregations be more sensitive to your feelings? What was the most hurtful things people said to you? I know sometimes people unintentionally hurt your feelings.
     
  2. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    5,533
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd rather not rehash any old hurts, because they are forgiven and under the blood, and I don't wish to gossip. I will, however, give some general dos and don'ts that may help church members maintain a better relationship with their pastor/pastor's wife.

    Do
    1. Respect their family time. If it is not a dire emergency, don't call them at home for petty, trivial things that can wait until you see them at church time. Don't just "drop by" whenever you feel like it to borrow a church key or whatever. Call first, especially if it's dinnertime, early morning, or bed time.
    2. Let them be themselves. Your pastor, his wife, and their kids are human just like anyone else. Don't try to control them or make them into somebody different than who they are. Love them for who they are and don't try to change them to fit what you perceive they should be.
    3. Let them know if they've been a blessing to you.
    4. If they live in a parsonage, make sure it is kept up to date. Take care of needed repairs without making them wait for an act of Congress or making them feel bad for needing something repaired/replaced.
    5. Do LISTEN to them. So what if your church has done something the same way for the last 100 years. It's okay if they have different ideas that require CHANGE. Let them make some changes. It will not kill you.
    6. Do give your pastor a raise every so often, as well as a Christmas bonus.

    Don't
    1. Criticize their children or their parenting methods. If they want your advice, they will ask for it. Pastor's kids are not perfect and their parents already know this. If there is a problem, quietly bring it to their attention. Do NOT blab it around the church or expect the pastor's kids to be any different from anyone else's children.
    2. If you have a parsonage, let the pastor's wife decide on wall/floor colors. Please DO NOT put carpet in the kitchen, and light colored carpet all throughout the house and expect them to keep it in mint condition. This will cause your pastor's wife much stress and dislike of the parsonage. If at all possible, let them own their own home. I cannot stress this one enough!
    3. Don't expect the pastor's wife to be your personal go-between for you and the preacher. If you have a problem with him, talk to HIM, don't run to his wife complaining and expect her to tell him for you. She probably gets very little time alone with him, and believe me, she doesn't want to spend that time telling him all your gripes.
    4. Don't act like a martyr constantly needing a pat on the back for every single little thing you do at church. Be a good soldier and do your part without whining.
    5. Don't expect the wife to be the unpaid assistant. Her job is to take care of the pastor and her family. Anything beyond that is up to her and should not be expected or "required" simply because she is married to the pastor. You don't expect your local mailman's wife to help him sort and deliver the mail, so don't expect the pastor's wife to "help" him earn his salary.
    6. Don't forget to pray for your pastor and his family every day. Often it is the prayers of the saints that can help give us the strength to make it from day to day.
     
  3. jaigner

    jaigner
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    By the way, I just heard of an evangelical pastor and her husband that were hurt by churches that would rather do things the way they've always done them than actually examining Scripture and allowing themselves to be refined and changed.
     
  4. PrivateWoman

    PrivateWoman
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0

    Thank for sharing the information! You have given some good ideas of how people should treat pastors and their wives. There are some pros and cons of living in a parsonage. I have noticed that pastors of newer churches tend to have their own houses.

    I think that people think that they can drop by the pastor's house anytime, but that is not a good idea because they could be busy doing other things. Most people prefer for people to call first before they drop by their house.

    People do tend to have unrealistic expectations of pastors and their families sometimes.
     
  5. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    You are correct. If that "pastor" would examine Scripture she would quit calling herself a pastor and be refined and changed.
     
  6. jaigner

    jaigner
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    She's examined Scripture far more than I or you, I'm guessing.
     
  7. Batt4Christ

    Batt4Christ
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will add a few things to the list:

    DO's
    -Please let the pastor know your expectations going in - don't expect him to exercise some great psychic ability to know what you want and need (visitation/office hours/other duties around the church).

    -If you feel the pastor has said or done something wrong in any way - follow the Biblical example and go to him privately first to address what you see as an issue. Murmuring around the church to others, or calling and harassing deacons is a form of backbiting and does more harm that good 100% of the time.

    -Despite some people's picture, a pastor is a human being. Please don't expect him to show superhuman stamina, patience, understanding, and abilities. Might he sometimes amaze you- I hope so.
     
  8. Batt4Christ

    Batt4Christ
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    OH - and one more that I have experienced personally:

    When you are interviewing/calling a pastor and give him the opportunity to ask questions - don't lie! If you tell him that the church has no real problems - he is going to suspect you are lying anyway - but to conceal real issues is unfair to him. If your church is seeing falling attendance, finances are coming under stress, and there are members who are constantly threatening to leave - you don't have to mention names, but let him know the kinds of issues that he will face. You don't even have to air out all the church's dirty laundry - but give the guy a fighting chance!

    It's one thing for a pastor to come in knowing he will have to be a Nehemiah - rebuilding a church, maybe from the foundation... but if you tell him that all is well and that you are a healthy and thriving church, and he walks in and finds that the church is bordering on death... you have done him a disservice and set him up for failure.
     
  9. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Apparently not 1 Timothy.
     
  10. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why did you choose this thread to derail and turn into a women in ministry thread? Bad form. If you want to do that, fine. Start a new thread.
     
  11. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    MUCH more than I've been hurt, I have been blessed by God's people that I pastor. They are much more forgiving of my mistakes and short comings than I would be.
     
  12. SBCPreacher

    SBCPreacher
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    What he said!
     
  13. jaigner

    jaigner
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't start the argument. Bring it up with Matty Wade.
     
  14. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    My wife and I have been hurt by congregations and church members on several occasions. Some things come with the turf -- when you deal with people (we're all sinners!) you get to deal with messy stuff -- but some things were very intentional on the part of the church members. In the spirit of abcgrad, I'll not share the nitty-gritty details, but in more general terms lay out a few things that have happened to us.

    We had an auction to sell off the bulk of our possessions when called into ministry and seminary. Members were running up to us overjoyed at being able to buy these "great things" for only $2.00. We ended up flat broke within the first month of arriving in a new city, far from family. No aid of any sort was ever forthcoming from that church.

    I took a church, and one of the things that was said in the pastoral search interview was that "the church really wants to grow and reach the community." That was an outright lie. The last new member was added to that church about 30 years before we arrived, but we were held accountable for their lack of willingness to actually DO the things required to add new members. We were eventually driven from that church for asking the members to actively evangelize. I did have to clean out and repair the baptistery in order to use it -- it had been turned into storage. Six were added through conversion and baptism, but ran out of the church "because they might vote to make changes." The word we heard through the back door was that "Pastor is trying to add new members so he can get his way..."

    In another church, we were called to a "desert fellowship" one evening at a member's home. We were bombarded. Turns out we were the main course... This uprising was led by a new family in the church who, as it turns out, had wrecked several churches before landing at ours. They were very good at what they did -- making their practice sound very biblical -- but God does not bring destruction and death, He brings love, relationship, and life. We were accused of everything from stealing the church's money to child abuse. (One funny story that came from that meeting... One member in particular stated that she always gave in cash, "so the right hand would not know what the left hand was doing..." She accused us of stealing her cash offerings because there was no way to track them. Only problem is that she typed the bulletins and part of what was recorded each week was the offering amount, including the unspecified cash, which was rarely ever more than $10 or so. Her husband also was one of the deacons who counted the money. She implicated herself.) We eventually left this congregation, and the doors of the church closed about 2 years later. Turns out that my wife and I were supporting over 1/3 of the total budget including the entire youth department.

    In another church, we were accused of failure to respond to those members who were sick, in the hospital, etc., especially the daughter of one of the deacons who we believe lived a miracle cure for incurable cancer of the pancreas. One time in 5 years of faithful service, we were on a mission trip, and during that trip one husband of a member (he was not saved, nor a member) got sick and died before we could return. The deacon who headed up the board of inquiry that presented the "vote of confidence" was angered that HE had to go to this man and try to lead him to Christ before he died (he failed). When this same deacon accused us of not visiting his daughter, I was shocked and hurt to my core. I had spent weeks and months sitting by her side, praying with her, and celebrating her victory over what is a 100% fatal form of cancer! Turns out that he and the other prime family of that church had a plan to disburse the members, sell the property, and divide up the proceeds, and that is the real reason we had to go...

    There have been multiple other issues -- most smaller than those and reflect the list given above. We hardly count that sort of stuff... It is part of the job -- often thankless -- but to which we are called.

    We're not currently leading a congregation. Needed some time to heal up so I would not come into a new congregation bitter and shooting from the hip.
     

Share This Page

Loading...