Pastoring family

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Bob House, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Bob House

    Bob House
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    I'm wondering how many of you pastor your family members (i.e. parents, in-laws, etc.). What special challenges have you faced? What joys have you had? How did you approach this dual relationship in the beginning?

    I'm asking this question because I've been contacted by the church that my wife grew up in to candidate for the pastorate there. I'm praying about it, but I want to have a good understanding of what I'd be in for!

    Also, perhaps some of you are pastored by a family member, and could share your perspective.

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    Bob
     
  2. exscentric

    exscentric
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    Jo. 4.44 44 "For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country." is something to keep in mind, I have not been in such a situation, but do know of a couple of men that went back to their home towns and did well. I'm sure it will have its unique problems.

    God's guidance needs to be sought - well duuuuuhhh :laugh: Trust you get more specific help than this before it is over!
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    How long has your wife been gone? How many of her family still there? If her family is there, are you on good terms with them? :laugh:

    It might be easier with it being her family. She might know where the landmines are hidden. Or enable you to minister more effectively with them.

    Pastoring your own family can be a nightmare. Even worse is pastoring in the church you grew up in. I pastored my parents for awhile. My dad was really good about not imposing, but mom was always telling people about how I was as a kid and a teenager, especially when I preached a hard sermon about life styles.

    Dr. Willy Rice went back to the church he grew up in (Calvary Baptist in Clearwater) and has done a great job, even leading them to re-locate. So it can be done.
     
  4. Bob House

    Bob House
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    Yes, I've considered that verse as well! I am seeking God's guidance first and foremost. And yes, I have already sought specific counsel, and am continuing to do so. Posting here is just a bonus - just getting as much info/advice as possible!
     
  5. Bob House

    Bob House
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    Most of her family is in the area. But as far as attending the church: Her parents with one daughter still at home, sister with husband and young child, and brother with his wife. They are all active in the church, singing, playing piano, playing guitar, working with the sound, etc. Yes, we are on good terms. My wife has been gone completely since we were married 7 years ago. We have lived in a separate state since then, and have only been back for brief (1 week) visits.

    This is true - easier for me. I have already established a rapport with them, and I believe that they do have respect for me. Also, my father-in-law was the one who called to request my consideration (on the recommendation of the chairman of the deacons of course).

    This is the one thing that bothers me. Not on my end of course, but for my wife. She was a good child, and not a rebellious teenager, but I want her to be able to lead the ladies, not be studk in the mold of "Oh, she grew up here..."

    I know that it can be done. I'm just praying for God's hand to lead directly as to whether or not it SHOULD be done in this case! Thank you for your response and your prayers.

    Bob
     
    #5 Bob House, Apr 17, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2008
  6. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Personally, I would be very leary of pastoring family in any way, shape, or form.

    But obviously, if you are sure it is the Lord's will, then by all means follow it. But I think the Lord might have to smack me with a 2x4 in such a situation.:saint:
     
  7. chuck2336

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    I declined a church that I grew up in and my mom was still a member. My mom argues with this but I do think she would have a hard time seeing me as her pastor and not her baby boy. I feel the same about others who knew me while I was growing up, to them I will always be 14.

    BUT mainly turned it down because God did not lead me there.
     
  8. dh1948

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    Pastoring Family Members

    I pastor my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (by marriage), and my daughter and her husband (who happens to be my associate pastor/minister to students.

    So far, no problems!

    I have a good family relationship with them all as well as a good pastoral relationship.

    In terms of pastoral ministry, I treat them the same way I do other church members.
     
  9. bapmom

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    My pastor now was saved as a teen in our church, stayed here, married the pastor's daughter, and now he's the pastor of that same church. Both he and his wife essentially grew up (from their early teens on) in this church, and it works great.

    Pastor's mom still attends, his grandma, a couple aunts, his brother and sister, and a cousin. We laugh that it's a family church, but it really does work well. Everyone is respectful, but our pastor is very approachable with everyone, not just his family members. I think that is a big reason it has worked so well. We don't have to be a cousin or nephew or niece in order to have access to our pastor - he treats everyone the same.
     
  10. Ulsterman

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    Pastoring relatives is certainly different from pastoring others. I pastored my mother-in -law and sister-in-law. They were no problem and very supportive, but at times I felt I might have ministered better to them if we were not related. After I left that church my sister-in-law died of breast cancer. In her will she requested that at the funeral service I preach the sermon, with her present pastor doing the eulogy because, in her words, "David knows me too well and might say something I wouldn't want others to know!" :laugh: We couldn't find her will before the funeral so it ended up that I gave the eulogy and the present pastor preached the sermon. Howver, many people commented that they really benefited from hearing something of her life from soeone who really knew her.

    The rest of my family attended a Presbyterian church half a mile away, and I often wondered what it would be like to pastor blood relations other than my wife and kids. But although they attended our church occasionally they never joined, and in part I am glad they didn't, because I think it would have been quite difficult to minister to them effectively on a personal level.

    Next month my daughter and her husband are movng to our area and will be joining our church. They are newly weds, and he is a young believer, so this might be interesting!

    I would say it all depends on how close you are to the relatives in question, as to whjether you can consider this church. If you think they can separate your two hats, that is when you are are being their pastor and when you are being their relative, then that will help.
     
  11. USN2Pulpit

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    Bob House, feel free to contact me via PM. I am in this situation and God is giving success, but it is not without it's challenges. I would be glad to discuss with you by e-mail or by phone if you'd like.
     

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