The Cost of Mean Treatment of Pastor's Wives

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Major B, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. Major B

    Major B
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    A friend and colleague's soul is hurting tonight, because this week he had to say "no" to an interim pastorate (which very likely would have led to a pastorate). It is with a church that knows this man well, and he knows them; he has preached there often, and has been well received by the people and the leadership. The church is theologically and in every other way in tune with where this man and his wife are, as a couple and individually. Furthermore, he has told me that he senses a strong call and a mission to that place. After over six years in the wilderness, he saw himself about to be put on the field again.

    Why did he have to say "no?" Because his precious, loving, caring, ministering, healing, wife was treated with such great meanness at previous churches (and has continued to be so treated by some from one of the churches) that she has put a permanent and absolute kabosh on any such idea--she won't even discuss it. She told him, "I will never be a pastor's wife again, and you will never be a pastor again." She is to the point of disapproving when the man preaches supply, and won't go with him if he is asked to supply in a church that has a vacant pulpit.

    Her husband believes in God's sovereignty, so he knows that God could change her mind, but He has chosen not to. Nonetheless, this man is emotionally and personally devastated. I heard him tell a friend that nothing in his entire life had been so difficult as saying "no" to this opportunity. I heard him say that he fears he has despised his calling and disobeyed God, and he does not know what to do.

    Pray for this brother and his wife--they are dear to my heart.

    However, here is where congregations should tread with fear, that they would so ill treat the wife of a Bible-preaching man that she would be brought to this point.
     
    #1 Major B, Feb 15, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2007
  2. Mexdeaf

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    Have seen the same thing happen to missionary's wives also. It takes a thicker skin, I think, to be a pastor's or missionary's wife than to be a pastor or missionary. Also requires a ton of grace and mercy.

    May God turn the heart of this man's wife back to Himself so she may walk in lockstep with her husband.
     
  3. El_Guero

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    Brothers

    I will be praying that God might change her heart.

    However, I believe in the Sovereignity of Our Lord . . . and I always have to wonder when someone is so badly treated in ministry - were they truly called?

    I believe that a Sovereign God calls the man and the wife (in different ways). And if she did not have what it took to be a pastor's wife, I think she may not have been called . . . not trying to be 'mean' just trying to place what has transpired within the framework of an all-knowing and all-powerful God allowing this to transpire.
     
  4. rbell

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    So it's our fault if a church doesn't act like it should?

    Ludicrous.
     
  5. untangled

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    Agree with RBell

    I have to agree with Rbell on this. A pastor not being called to ministry because a church does not treat him as it should. I believe that God is in control but I also believe that people can be out of control.

    God could change this woman's heart in the future. I will pray for her.

    I thank God my wife had no objections to my being in the pastorate again. She may not have received the treatment that this pastor's wife did though.

    Major, this is truly a heart-breaking situation. I will say a prayer now.
     
    #5 untangled, Feb 16, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2007
  6. Allan

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    Before my wife and I moved up to the Dakotas (South) from Arkansas it was (in a sense) the same for us. She did not want to go, PERIOD. She didn't want to leave her new relationship with her mom, and new found relationship to the Church. It was the first time she ever felt actaully apart of a church.

    I took the lead in our home knowing God was calling us there and believing He knows more than I do, I told my wife to pray about it. Honestly seek the Lord in it and when she has to tell me. She never really did for about a year even with me (occassionally) asking has she REALLY sought God over it. I knew we were to go but I had to let God work in her life and change her mind. SHE had to KNOW it was Gods will before she would willing consent with peace in heart over it. Sure enough a little over a year and one day she comes to me in tears saying...alot...but that she has perfect peace and is ready to follow the Lord where ever He leads us. I learned early in my christianity that just because God shows you what you will do, does not always mean it is what you are to do right now or even soon. We must wait on the Lord, and if we know it is His leading then whatever obsticles are there, God is personally dealing with them so that at just the right moment (on time - His time) everything falls into place that if one moment before would cause it all to crash around our ears. God be praised for His Power, and might but also for His perfect timing, and absolute knowledge of all things.
     
    #6 Allan, Feb 16, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2007
  7. go2church

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    This unfortunately is something that happens far too often. Many churches have the idea that the pastor's wife is a free staff member, to play the piano, to teach the VBS or whatever.

    It doesn't help that most evangelical type churches continue subjugate women when it comes to ministry. The pastor stands up, tells the church that everyone is called to some kind of ministry. Well, expect the ministry of a pastor, that would require you to have the proper genitalia.

    Perhaps this woman would feel more like being in the ministry if she felt like her ideas, thoughts and gifts where actually going to be used and valued rather then stuffed back in the nursery with some bawling deacons kid, or treated like a mushroom (you know kept in the dark and fed fertilizer).

    Perhaps the reason it is so difficult to be a pastor's wife is because we have made it that way!
     
  8. Major B

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    Their first ministry was very fruitful. Many were saved, the church built a gym for the youth, and in the 12 weeks before her husband was asked to leave, the baptistry was in use ten of those weeks. The old guard did not like losing control, and the attack came out of the blue, over the weekend.

    When they were in the pastorate, she was very much the heart of their ministry--she was his partner in every way and was especially effective with the elderly ladies and young girls in the church. After the first painful debacle, she was deeply hurt, but ready to serve. The second, third, fourth, and other debacles were of a particularly heinous nature. Members from the old church dogged his ministerial career, and whenever a church began to look at him, they would contact "lodge brothers" of theirs within the church in question and through them make totally false and slanderous statements about my friend, to destroy the candidacy before it got started.

    The last time my friend candidated for a church (2003) the pulpit committee at the church was prepared to make their unanimous recommendation on his behalf, when the wheels began to move. A "lodge brother" at the church was contacted by a "lodge brother" from the original church, and within one day, it was all over. This case was so egregious that a state convention official urged this brother to sue for slander based on the direct testimony of the pulpit committee--which of course, the brother would not do.

    My friend still has a lot of "preach in him, he has continued to serve the Lord in many other ways, and she has worked with him in those avenues. He had not candidated since 2003, then this offer came without him even asking or seeking.

    I personally cannot understand this situation myself, except that God may be giving some people enough rope.
     
    #8 Major B, Feb 16, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2007
  9. Trotter

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    My heart aches for this couple.

    For her, because of the hurt she has endured.

    For him, because he is being prevented from doing what God has called him to do.

    While I have been called to preach, I have not become a pastor. In God's time and will I will be a pastor one day... but it kills me to be a pew-sitter (I am active in many things, but it just ain't the same). But, to have been there and then be denied the opportunity by others, would be horrendous. To be barred by my own wife...

    I am praying for them. Hard.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    I won't direct any comments towards this particular situation because I do not konw the parties or the situation.

    Generically speaking, I think a lot of pastors allow their wives to be mistreated by not standing up for them, and by not offering effective leadership. They are more concerned about keep people comfortable then they are about leading.

    Pastors are often too unwilling to address the issues head on from Scripture, things like gossip and the like. They are too afraid to make it an issue of church discipline. And everyone loses.
     
  11. Major B

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    There has been a break in this situation. On behalf of my friend, keep praying. His wife has agreed to cooperate in his being long term pulpit supply in the church which issued the call to come and preach. They start Sunday.
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    Good morning Charlie, you're up early.

    I think I'm familiar with this couple, and given the depth of the wounds they have suffered, it seems that the dear wife has been reluctant to expose herself to the possibility of that kind of hurt again. So this is truly a breakthrough... a step of courage and great faith that could have come only by God's grace.

    I have a friend who came out of the Positive Confession movement after becoming convince that it didn't work and wasn't biblical. She was so traumatized that she was afraid to commit to a church for 15 years. And this is one of the most Godly women I've ever met. Returning to a church was scary for her, but God's grace has sustained her and she's now quite involved.

    May God help this church to love on your friends with intensity.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    It seem that every time we turn around, we're hearing of another church in conflict and another pastor in trouble.

    I can't help but believe that this is the fruit of easy believism, man-centered evangelism and church growth obsession, which has populated so many of our churches with unregenerate people. Some of these people wind up being deacons and pastors.

    Conflict will inevitably follow.
     
  14. TomVols

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    I wonder which came first......

    Pastors are told to produce numbers or they're canned. Therefore, they turn to watered-down means to produce the numbers their "bosses" want.

    Either way, this is all a doctrinal crises at its core. We've lost Biblical ecclesiology and a Biblical theology of the pastoral role and function.
     
  15. gb93433

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    Those are not Christian churches but rather Satan's tools. Those kind of churches do not love therefore they cannot claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.
     
  16. gb93433

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    There is over 6 billion people in the world and most of them are not Christians. The majority will never be reached by a pastor but a person just like you.

    Before I pastored I had discipled about 200 people. Today most of them are reaching others the same way I did them. Some are pastors and others are in some kind of full time Christian work. All of us are full time Christians.

    You can deal with antagonists in the church in such a way that would be very difficult for a modern-day pastor. A friend of mine was pastoring a church several years ago when someone in the church was repeatedly giving him trouble. He went to the person and nothing changed. So he communicated that to the deacons and they took care of the problem. He has been there about nine years since that incident.
     
  17. trainbrainmommy

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    Wow, what a broad statement. I don't believe I have ever been in a church that was numbers-driven. In fact, a couple of the churches were very content to stay small.

    I've been in 3 churches where the pastors were "let go". 1st pastor had an affair with the church secretary. Pastor 2s wife refused to attend church so the church felt he did not have his home in order and basically gave him an ultimatum - either his wife starts attending or he needed to "resign". Pastor 3 was caught viewing porn on the church computer.

    I don't see how anyone can assume that the pastor or the congregation is always at fault in every situation.
     
  18. gb93433

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    Was the church secretary let go too?
     
  19. trainbrainmommy

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    Ah, yeah. And the church paid the price.
     
  20. gb93433

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    Wouldn't one have to wonder about the thoroughness of an investigation about a potential pastor. The time to ask questions is up front. When I was in seminary I saw men who had pornography and all kinds of other things not befitting a future pastor. I saw men who had poor relationships with their wives. I saw men who seldom attended church yet wanted to be pastors. Some had already been pastors.

    When I began to look for a pastorate I was disgusted at the questions I was often asked. Having been in business for many years I was shocked at how trivial some questions were and how little importance was placed on integrity and personal relationships with non-believers. They seemed to be most often caught up in the success syndrome. I found that few knew much about discipleship but seemed to feel as though they understood God's plan for discipleship. What I found is that they knew little about much of anything when it came to business and discipleship. They often knew more about what the gurus taught them rather than what Jesus taught.

    Never once was I asked about the men I had discipled. Never once was anyone I discipled ever contacted.

    Even when I applied at SWBTS that among the references I gave them some were from non-Christians in the community. They told me they could not use them. Some of them were my neighbors.

    If a man has never made disciples then he should never be considered for a pastorate. If he cannot or has not made any disciples then how can he be expected to lead a church and lead them in God's work of making disciples?
     
    #20 gb93433, Feb 20, 2007
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