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?