TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

By Thom Rainer

The pastor’s wife in many churches carries heavy burdens.

Sometimes they are impossible expectations.

To be fair, this post could refer to any church staff person, male or female, so it could be called ministers’ spouses. For simplicity, and because I primarily hear from this group of people, I refer to them as pastors’ wives.

So what are some of these unfair expectations? Here are the top ten expectations imposed upon these ladies.

  1. “I am expected to attend every function at the church.” One wife told us that church members resent it when she is seen doing anything outside the church.
  2. “Many church members expect me to know everything that is happening in the church.” In other words, they should know everything their pastor/husband knows.
  3. “We have several church members who feel free to complain to me about my husband.” So her church has several members who are lacking in emotional intelligence.
  4. “Church members utilize me as a de facto assistant to my husband, giving me messages for him.” One wife shared with us that she received eleven messages to give to her husband after a specific worship service.
  5. “I am still amazed how many church members expect me to function as an employee of the church.” Some are expected to lead music or play piano. Others are expected to act in a specific ministry employee role such as student or children’s director.
  6. “Some of the members expect our children to be perfect and act perfect.” One wife explained that she and her husband were new to a church when a church member confronted them about their misbehaving children. Their outlandish sin was running in the church after a worship service.
  7. “I am always supposed to be perfectly made up and dressed when I leave the house.” A church member expressed her dismay to a pastor’s wife who ran into a grocery store without makeup. You can’t make this stuff up.
  8. “I have no freedom at our church to be anything but perfectly emotionally composed.” This story really got to me. A deacon chastised a pastor’s wife for shedding tears at church four days after her dad died.
  9. “I think some of our church members expect my family to take a vow of poverty.”She was specifically referring to the criticism she received for purchasing a six-year-old minivan after her third child was born.
  10. “So many church members expect me to be their best friend.” And obviously a pastor’s wife can’t be the best friend to everyone, so she disappoints or angers others.

These are some of the comments we have received at this blog over the years from pastors’ wives. And it seems as though these trials are more gender biased. For example, the husband of a children’s minister commented that he rarely has the pressure and expectations that he sees imposed upon female spouses.

But more than other staff positions, the pastor is naturally the focus of attention and, often, criticism.

And the pastor’s family, by extension, becomes the focus of unfair and unreasonable expectations.

 

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on September 4, 2017. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

5 comments

  • sharon

    Spot on with these expectations; somedays the pressure is overwhelming.

  • Major Ellis

    If you think these are something you should interview the wife of a Salvation Army officer . Yes, he is a minister / ????Pastor as well.

    I enjoyed this article. I have recently retired as a minister and you would be surprised at the comments that come about you even in retirement.
    God Bless!

  • Brian Scott

    Perhaps another demand is being doing and achieving the exact role responsibility and attitude of the most successful friendly and best spuse who has left the church community. The demands are never clear at the start of a ministry perhaps this is a question that should be asked. Whay is expected of Us? If the responsability is achievable then those whom answer for the church are the ones who should then explain to the community whay is expected and achievable. There seems to be a lot of church life run by a few when all are called to participate.

  • Emma

    As an Evangelist and Pastor’s wife of 39 years, one is expected to serve on the same level and with the same perfection and anointing as in earlier years. Otherwise, one’s worth & value is diminished in the eyes of the people, howbeit that God allows a time when His servant is being tried and tested. God’s faithful servant, Job, was allowed by God to be greatly attacked by the enemy, satin, and suffered devastating loss. Never the less, Job declared, “…but He knoweth the way that I take:when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10 KJV). God has spoken and, like Job, my latter will be greater!

  • Monica Anyango Akoro

    Our expectations of pastor’s wives are very high. We thought they should be our role model

Top Ten Sources of Discouragement of Pastors and Church Staff

Top Ten Sources of Discouragement of Pastors and Church Staff

unhappy-man

By Thom Rainer

I love those men and women who serve local churches. I love their commitment and sacrifice. And I wish I could do more to help them remain energized and encouraged.

In this post, I share the results of an informal Twitter poll where I asked pastors and church staff to share with me those areas of ministry that discouraged them most. My motivation for doing so is primarily my love and concern for these church leaders. It is my prayer that this awareness will encourage church members to be even more supportive of and prayerful for these leaders.

Here are the top ten sources of discouragement of pastors and church staff listed in order of frequency. Admittedly, there is overlap in some of these responses, but those who responded often made their own distinctions. A representative quote follows each category.

  1. Conflicts/complaining/murmuring. “I find myself physically exhausted at the end of the week just from dealing with naysayers. My problem is exacerbated by naysayers using social media as their outlets.”
  2. Lack of fruit and spiritual maturity in church members. “I invested two years of my life in him. But his life today is as carnal as it was two years ago.”
  3. Apathy. “The low level of commitment of so many of our members really discourages me. Sometimes I wonder if my ministry is making any kind of difference.”
  4. Church members who leave the church for seemingly silly or no reasons. “It breaks my heart to lose a church member just because we made a slight change in the times of worship services.”
  5. Expectations by members/lack of time. “It seems like I am expected to be omnipresent. I just can’t keep up with all the expectations of me.”
  6. Performing tasks where the pastor/staff does not have competencies. “I know nothing about finances. I am not a good administrator. But both functions consume my time.”
  7. Meetings/committees. “I would rather get my teeth drilled than go to our monthly business meetings. It’s nothing more than a forum for complainers and whiners.”
  8. Family concerns. “The attacks on my wife for no good reasons have caused me to get my resume out. I can’t stay any longer.”
  9. Staff issues. “Every day at the church is stressful because of staff conflict.”
  10. Lack of volunteers. “So many church members seek their own preferences, but are unwilling to serve others.”

Some of the other sources of discouragement that did not make the list but had multiple votes are: loneliness; communication problems; members who hold tenaciously to tradition; divorce/family problems among church members; low pay; and counseling.

Please pray for your pastor and staff. They are under attack consistently. They not only need your prayers; they need your clear and consistent encouragement.

What do you think of these sources of discouragement? What would you add? Let me hear from you.

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on November 12, 2014. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

2 comments

  • I am in total agreement with this timely article. It seems all ten problems are growing worse each year.

    • The “causes” of discouragement omit one which I think may be the most critical, the absence of strong, creative leadership at the “top” of a denomination and among its administrative officers. When there is weak leadership, you have a flouderning church and hundreds of greatly discouraged local pastors.

Lord’s Supper

Tag Archives: Lord’s Supper

Broken Symbols

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[Feel free to edit and use this Easter/Lenten Season]

Bible_and_Lord's_Cup_and_Bread

Whenever we refer to something as symbolic, we are saying that it is representative of something else – generally of something much greater than the symbol itself. For instance, on my left hand I wear a symbol, a ring that represents the covenant I made with my wife many years ago. In our church auditorium as I stand at the pulpit, to my right and to my left are two other symbols – one a flag representing the Christian faith and the other flag representing the United States of America. On the table in front of the pulpit are more symbols, quite simple ones, really, just some pieces of bread and cups of juice. But these simple elements are representative of something much greater. Most of you are familiar with these symbols, but it is quite probable that many of us have become overly familiar with them.

Paul records for us what Jesus had to say about them:

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:23-25, NKJV).

One item that many overlook in Jesus’ words is one of the most important – it is the word “broken.” The symbols that Jesus used to describe the great reality of His impending crucifixion were symbols that were broken, broken to represent four significant truths that should have a tremendous impact on each one of us reading this today.

1. A BROKEN WORLD

God created this world perfect in every way. The earth itself was devoid of any pollution and any corrosion. In the original created order there were no earthquakes, or hurricanes, or tornadoes. There was only rich soil, clean air and water, flawless vegetation and an absolutely perfect atmosphere. In the human realm there was no disease, no sickness and no death. God created humankind to be perfectly healthy in every respect. Morally, there was no animosity, or rebellion, or racism or division in any way.

But when the first human couple rebelled against God by sinning, God’s perfect creation was broken, every part of it, the natural, human, animal, and moral realms of creation were all affected negatively by sin.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned (Romans 5:12, NLT).

Adam’s sin broke the world. It caused division between the created order and man, man and man, and man and God. God had given Adam dominion over the entire creation; one was connected to the other, so when sin entered into Adam it also entered the natural world. God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you(Genesis 3:17).

It was like the proverbial house of cards that came crashing down. Not only does Genesis record for us the fall of man, but also the fall of the world in every single respect. Jesus’ celebration of the Lord’s Supper was looking forward to the day when God’s broken world would be reconciled with God.

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21, NIV).

Our time of Communion is a time of looking into the future, when God’s new order becomes a present reality, when the shackles that bind the hands of the world are loosed and God’s original design is reinstated.

…we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13, NIV).

The broken symbols that we partake of are a reminder of the broken world in which we live, and which Jesus came to heal. They are a picture of the certain hope of a world that will be fully restored and within which we will dwell for eternity.

2. A BROKEN LIFE

As Jesus broke the bread and distributed it to His disciples, He had in the mind the broken lives of every man, woman, and child that would ever live. He could look at all of us, from Adam down through all of His descendants, and His heart was stirred with a desire for reconciliation and restoration.

God’s deepest desire is that the broken lives of today become the restored lives of tomorrow. When Jesus sees the brokenness of our souls and bodies He is moved to compassion.

As they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to cry (Luke 20:41, NLT).

Why did Jesus weep? Because He was looking out upon a city of people with broken lives that would not accept His offer of reconciliation. Jesus was looking at people just like us and He saw lives broken because of sin; he saw broken bodies, broken marriages, and broken souls in need of redemption. He saw disease that needed to be healed. He saw relationships that needed to be restored. Jesus saw tears that need to be wiped away, and sin that needed forgiven. Concerning His ministry, Jesus stated:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”(Luke 4:18-19, NIV).

            Jesus’ anointing was directed toward the broken lives of his culture and ours. The good news of God’s gifting is for those whose lives are dominated by poverty, for the imprisoned seeking liberation, the afflicted in search of healing, and the oppressed who so badly need their burdens to be lifted.

            A number of years ago I was a member of a church where a man who had been afflicted for many years by polio also attended each week with his mother. This man had full mental faculties but his body had been so ravaged by this dread disease that he could not walk or even speak. Men from the church would drive out to his house early Sunday morning, lift him onto a sheet of plywood, and then place him in the back of a station wagon to drive him and his elderly mother to the worship service. When they arrived at church they would place him on a flat cart and push him to the very front pew. Each week, when the ushers passed out communion, they would go to this man’s side where his mother would take the bread and the cup and place it in his mouth. One day I was asked to assist in passing out the elements for communion. It just so happened that I was the one who would take the cup and bread to this man. As I handed the elements to his mother, I watched as she lovingly placed the bread in his mouth, and then the juice. As he swallowed I looked into his eyes and saw the tears begin to well up. And from the look in his eyes I could tell that he knew a better day was coming!

            As Jesus broke the bread that day so many years ago, He saw the face of this man and He saw your face and mine. Jesus came to restore us and make us whole again. The Lord’s Supper distinctly represents the fullness of a life that has been cleansed and renewed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The elements are a constant reminder that He has come to restore our broken lives and make us whole again.

3. A BROKEN BODY

            Near the Cross, Fanny Crosby wrote, Jesus keep me near the cross, and multiplied thousands have sung it as a prayer. Those near the cross could hear the dripping of His blood and see it form a dirty pool on the ground. They saw it trickle down His naked side and drip off His toes. They saw it oozing from the spikes through His wrists and ankles. They saw it gush in a sacrificial fountain when the spear was thrust into His side. Those near the cross heard the sighs, the groans of the Savior. They saw the agony on His face when God the Father would not listen to Him anymore, but let Him die all alone. They heard His voice when He prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” They saw His lips, feverish and parched, when He begged for water and was given vinegar to drink. They were there to see Jesus’ head drop to His chest as He breathed His last.

            The Lord’s Supper represents the broken body of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It represents the agony and the pain – Yes! But more than that, it represents the length to which God is willing to go to restore the broken world and the broken lives that dwell there. The only way that God could heal the broken world and our broken lives was by coming to earth Himself and taking the punishment for our sins in our place. Because of His great love for us, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to earth to offer Himself as a sacrifice of substitution.

Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Heb. 9:28, NIV).

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Col. 1:19-22, NIV).

            It is through the broken body of God hanging on a Cross that our brokenness is healed, our sorrows diminished, and our souls reconciled to our Creator. Peter wrote, (Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Pet. 2:24, NIV). The broken symbols of the Lord’s Supper are a reminder that our healing was purchased with the price of Christ’s death.

4. A BROKEN HEART

            Does your heart break when you learn what Jesus has done for you, and when you recognize how you have run away from Him? The symbols on the table represent your heart if it is willing to be broken. The old spiritual asks the question, Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord? O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble! Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Why should we tremble at the memory of Jesus’ crucifixion? Because it shocks our system to come to the realization that this God of the Universe, the Creator of the World, would love us so much as to choose not to punish us for our rebellion, but embrace us with His love and an offer of reconciliation.

            When I see my own life, when I consider the times when I have rejected God, when I think of the many sins that I have committed against Him – and to know that He loves me so much that He is willing to die in my place – my heart is broken. It is broken because I have come to the realization that I was there when they crucified my Lord! It was my sin and my rejection of God and my foolish ways that drove the spikes into His wrists and ankles. It was my deliberate “in your face God” kind of attitude that thrust the spear into His side. It was my hate that ignited His love, my complacency that moved Him to action, my cruelty that fueled His compassion, and my sin that brought His grace.

            My heart becomes broken when I fully see that I have broken the heart of God. To have a broken heart, and to see it represented on the communion table, is a good and honorable thing, because it is only when our hearts are broken that they become pliable. It is only when we come in shame for our sin that we are able to see and accept God’s outstretched hand. Martin Luther said, “God creates out of nothing. Therefore until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.” And what does God make of us and our broken hearts? When we come in faith, accepting what Jesus has done for us, He takes our broken heart and replaces it with one that is brand new.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17, NIV)

            Through Jesus’ broken body, the broken world, our broken lives, and our broken hearts are reunited with God for all of eternity. I hope your heart is broken for God today.

            The world is filled with broken things. A child weeps over a broken toy. An archaeologist rejoices over a broken jar. A broken atom powers a city. Before us each Sunday are two broken symbols: let us partake of these symbols, fully aware of what they represent, and let it be a time for both reflection and rejoicing.

In Christ,

Barry L. Davis

 

 

 

Barry

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TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

By Thom Rainer

The pastor’s wife in many churches carries heavy burdens.

Sometimes they are impossible expectations.

To be fair, this post could refer to any church staff person, male or female, so it could be called ministers’ spouses. For simplicity, and because I primarily hear from this group of people, I refer to them as pastors’ wives.

So what are some of these unfair expectations? Here are the top ten expectations imposed upon these ladies.

  1. “I am expected to attend every function at the church.” One wife told us that church members resent it when she is seen doing anything outside the church.
  2. “Many church members expect me to know everything that is happening in the church.” In other words, they should know everything their pastor/husband knows.
  3. “We have several church members who feel free to complain to me about my husband.” So her church has several members who are lacking in emotional intelligence.
  4. “Church members utilize me as a de facto assistant to my husband, giving me messages for him.” One wife shared with us that she received eleven messages to give to her husband after a specific worship service.
  5. “I am still amazed how many church members expect me to function as an employee of the church.” Some are expected to lead music or play piano. Others are expected to act in a specific ministry employee role such as student or children’s director.
  6. “Some of the members expect our children to be perfect and act perfect.” One wife explained that she and her husband were new to a church when a church member confronted them about their misbehaving children. Their outlandish sin was running in the church after a worship service.
  7. “I am always supposed to be perfectly made up and dressed when I leave the house.” A church member expressed her dismay to a pastor’s wife who ran into a grocery store without makeup. You can’t make this stuff up.
  8. “I have no freedom at our church to be anything but perfectly emotionally composed.” This story really got to me. A deacon chastised a pastor’s wife for shedding tears at church four days after her dad died.
  9. “I think some of our church members expect my family to take a vow of poverty.”She was specifically referring to the criticism she received for purchasing a six-year-old minivan after her third child was born.
  10. “So many church members expect me to be their best friend.” And obviously a pastor’s wife can’t be the best friend to everyone, so she disappoints or angers others.

These are some of the comments we have received at this blog over the years from pastors’ wives. And it seems as though these trials are more gender biased. For example, the husband of a children’s minister commented that he rarely has the pressure and expectations that he sees imposed upon female spouses.

But more than other staff positions, the pastor is naturally the focus of attention and, often, criticism.

And the pastor’s family, by extension, becomes the focus of unfair and unreasonable expectations.

 

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on September 4, 2017. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

5 comments

  • sharon

    Spot on with these expectations; somedays the pressure is overwhelming.

  • Major Ellis

    If you think these are something you should interview the wife of a Salvation Army officer . Yes, he is a minister / ????Pastor as well.

    I enjoyed this article. I have recently retired as a minister and you would be surprised at the comments that come about you even in retirement.
    God Bless!

  • Brian Scott

    Perhaps another demand is being doing and achieving the exact role responsibility and attitude of the most successful friendly and best spuse who has left the church community. The demands are never clear at the start of a ministry perhaps this is a question that should be asked. Whay is expected of Us? If the responsability is achievable then those whom answer for the church are the ones who should then explain to the community whay is expected and achievable. There seems to be a lot of church life run by a few when all are called to participate.

  • Emma

    As an Evangelist and Pastor’s wife of 39 years, one is expected to serve on the same level and with the same perfection and anointing as in earlier years. Otherwise, one’s worth & value is diminished in the eyes of the people, howbeit that God allows a time when His servant is being tried and tested. God’s faithful servant, Job, was allowed by God to be greatly attacked by the enemy, satin, and suffered devastating loss. Never the less, Job declared, “…but He knoweth the way that I take:when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10 KJV). God has spoken and, like Job, my latter will be greater!

  • Monica Anyango Akoro

    Our expectations of pastor’s wives are very high. We thought they should be our role model

TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

By Thom Rainer

The pastor’s wife in many churches carries heavy burdens.

Sometimes they are impossible expectations.

To be fair, this post could refer to any church staff person, male or female, so it could be called ministers’ spouses. For simplicity, and because I primarily hear from this group of people, I refer to them as pastors’ wives.

So what are some of these unfair expectations? Here are the top ten expectations imposed upon these ladies.

  1. “I am expected to attend every function at the church.” One wife told us that church members resent it when she is seen doing anything outside the church.
  2. “Many church members expect me to know everything that is happening in the church.” In other words, they should know everything their pastor/husband knows.
  3. “We have several church members who feel free to complain to me about my husband.” So her church has several members who are lacking in emotional intelligence.
  4. “Church members utilize me as a de facto assistant to my husband, giving me messages for him.” One wife shared with us that she received eleven messages to give to her husband after a specific worship service.
  5. “I am still amazed how many church members expect me to function as an employee of the church.” Some are expected to lead music or play piano. Others are expected to act in a specific ministry employee role such as student or children’s director.
  6. “Some of the members expect our children to be perfect and act perfect.” One wife explained that she and her husband were new to a church when a church member confronted them about their misbehaving children. Their outlandish sin was running in the church after a worship service.
  7. “I am always supposed to be perfectly made up and dressed when I leave the house.” A church member expressed her dismay to a pastor’s wife who ran into a grocery store without makeup. You can’t make this stuff up.
  8. “I have no freedom at our church to be anything but perfectly emotionally composed.” This story really got to me. A deacon chastised a pastor’s wife for shedding tears at church four days after her dad died.
  9. “I think some of our church members expect my family to take a vow of poverty.”She was specifically referring to the criticism she received for purchasing a six-year-old minivan after her third child was born.
  10. “So many church members expect me to be their best friend.” And obviously a pastor’s wife can’t be the best friend to everyone, so she disappoints or angers others.

These are some of the comments we have received at this blog over the years from pastors’ wives. And it seems as though these trials are more gender biased. For example, the husband of a children’s minister commented that he rarely has the pressure and expectations that he sees imposed upon female spouses.

But more than other staff positions, the pastor is naturally the focus of attention and, often, criticism.

And the pastor’s family, by extension, becomes the focus of unfair and unreasonable expectations.

 

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on September 4, 2017. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

5 comments

  • sharon

    Spot on with these expectations; somedays the pressure is overwhelming.

  • Major Ellis

    If you think these are something you should interview the wife of a Salvation Army officer . Yes, he is a minister / ????Pastor as well.

    I enjoyed this article. I have recently retired as a minister and you would be surprised at the comments that come about you even in retirement.
    God Bless!

  • Brian Scott

    Perhaps another demand is being doing and achieving the exact role responsibility and attitude of the most successful friendly and best spuse who has left the church community. The demands are never clear at the start of a ministry perhaps this is a question that should be asked. Whay is expected of Us? If the responsability is achievable then those whom answer for the church are the ones who should then explain to the community whay is expected and achievable. There seems to be a lot of church life run by a few when all are called to participate.

  • Emma

    As an Evangelist and Pastor’s wife of 39 years, one is expected to serve on the same level and with the same perfection and anointing as in earlier years. Otherwise, one’s worth & value is diminished in the eyes of the people, howbeit that God allows a time when His servant is being tried and tested. God’s faithful servant, Job, was allowed by God to be greatly attacked by the enemy, satin, and suffered devastating loss. Never the less, Job declared, “…but He knoweth the way that I take:when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10 KJV). God has spoken and, like Job, my latter will be greater!

  • Monica Anyango Akoro

    Our expectations of pastor’s wives are very high. We thought they should be our role model

The Four R’s of Preaching

The Four R’s of Preaching

fourrs

Facing the task of sermon preparation each week can be daunting for any preacher. It can also, over time, become a monotonous burden if we let it. While there are those rare individuals who never lose their fire, and continuously produce God-inspired sermons with never a hiccup, that is not the case with most of us. The sad truth is that some of us fall into a pattern of preaching that might “get the job done,” but somehow lose our purpose in the process.

Some of us need to be reminded of the great calling God has given us and remember the privilege we have to address a group of people each week, no matter the size, who are hungry for a Word from God and are expecting us to deliver it.

Consider the following statement from the great preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“The work of preaching is the highest and greatest and most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called.”

If that declaration is true, and I believe it is, we need to always keep that calling from God at the forefront of our minds and hearts as we prepare to address those under our care each week. To help us do that, I am proposing Four R’s of Preaching that should stand as a reminder and a guide for those of us who are privileged to share God’s Word from the pulpit.

1. Reverence

I have noticed a lack of reverence coming from some of our pulpits. Sometimes a preacher will allow the message to be more about him than it is about God. We need to approach the task of preaching with an understanding that we are mere spokespersons for the Great and Mighty Creator of the Universe.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28 (ESV)

While preparing our messages and while preaching them, we must remember Who it is we are doing this for, and make sure that He features prominently in our message. We are not calling people to follow us, but our God and Savior. We must come to the sacred text and to the pulpit with a sense of awe and wonder, as well as with recognition that God is watching every word that we utter.

2. Responsibility

We are given a great responsibility. God has called us to lead men and women to His Son, Jesus Christ. He has also called us to teach and disciple those who have already accepted His wonderful offer of salvation. This is not something to be taken lightly. When we are preparing our messages we need to always remember to give the time and effort necessary to communicate God’s will clearly.

If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously… – Romans 12:8b (NLT)

The preacher who takes this responsibility seriously will always makes sure to be prepared, to have studied diligently, to have prayed fervently, and to have the needs of the people and God’s solution to those needs at the forefront of every sermon.

3. Respect

If you do not respect the people you are speaking to, not only will they pick up on it, they will turn a deaf ear to everything you have to say. I am well aware that some of the people in the audience might be people who have done you or your family wrong, or given you reasons not to have much respect for them. I get it, I really do!

On the other hand, even if you can’t respect the person, you can respect the message God has given to you and deliver it in a way that is meant to lift people up, rather than bring them down. Consider that those who may have wronged you need this most of all.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:10 (ESV)

When you show honor to those in your congregation by showing respect to them, to God, and to His Word, you will have come a long way toward leading others toward spiritual insight and personal growth.

4. Restraint

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. – Proverbs 17:27 (ESV)

There are at least two ways we can apply this:

1) There is a great temptation for some preachers to deliver personal rebukes from the pulpit. Rather than confront a person in private, during the sermon they will bring up something this person has done wrong and then go on the attack. They normally won’t mention the person by name, but everyone knows who they are talking about. Don’t do this…EVER! There is nothing wrong with confronting sin from the pulpit, and we are called to do just that, but never, ever, do it in a personal way, or in a way meant to embarrass or demean an individual. If you need to deal with a problem, take the person out to coffee or meet in your office and discuss it one-on-one.

2) To use an old term, some ministers “go everywhere preaching the Gospel” from the pulpit. They have trouble sticking with one subject and go from one topic to the other, never really landing on anything solid. Here is something to remember – when you go into the pulpit, have one point. You might have three steps to this or four reasons for that, but there must be an overarching thought or purpose that you want to get across. Don’t stray from that. You don’t need to preach the whole Bible every week.

This week, as you prepare for the weekend, make sure and remember the Four R’s! It will help you more than you can know, and you will become a better preaching in the process.

 

I welcome your comments below.

 

Barry L. Davis

 

Barry L. Davis spent two decades as a Senior Pastor and started the ministry of The Pastor’s Helper in 1996. The Pastor’s Helper strives to provide tools and resources to help pastors succeed in their ministry calling.

 

 

 

12 comments

  • Ron

    Thank you for the gift of the 4 Rs. It has blessed me, as I am in my 2nd year as a minister. Your information is so helpful. I use your sermon outline series as well. Blessings my brother!

  • Thank, I have been blessed by, the reverence to God in preaching responsibility, restraints and respect. My pastor Matthew Ashimolowo always use these sequence.
    I have books God is laying on my heart to write but funding, I do not know where it will come from.

  • Victor Ogbodo

    A great resource and reference point!

  • Thank you very much May God continue to Bless you and your Ministry.

  • Rev Stenneth Davis

    I have found this information so useful, thanks for your continued help.

  • Billy Joe Lockett

    Thank you so very much. The four Rs that you made known to us that read and understand what you I am sure it’s of the Holy Spirit is right on time. This Sunday I willn’t change what God has given me but my heart is at ease with what I am to preach on Sunday.Thank you. May God continue to bless you and give you insight to help us. bjl

  • cynthia

    Thank you so much for the 4 Rs..i have gone through alot in ministry. Closed down the church about 3years ago..and i realised i had fans and not disciples. the four Rs i find helpful as im trusting God to beging my mandate again next year and i need all the help and materials but this time im being led to start with radio ministry. Please keep me in your prayers..thank you and wishing you more grace IJN.

  • Michael

    Thank you very much for the 4 Rs, it really bless me, more grace and more anointing in Jesus name.

  • Pastor Muriel

    Thank you for your continuous support and helpful insights. Good to have confirmation that I’ve been on the right track. God is faithful.

    God Bless you.

  • Pastor Veral Blake

    Thanks for your very insightful counsel on preaching. I have been preaching for 46 years and have been guilty of some of the issues you spoke about

  • Allan

    Thank you Barry, your teachings are spot on . I thank the Lord that He has helped me not to become personal from the pulpit and I’m trying to teach other s pastors the same. The I always try to impliment in order for God to be glorified and that it not be about me. May the Lord continue to bless you.

  • Major Lorne Hiscock – The Salvation Army. Horwood, Newfoundland, Canada

    Hello Barry,
    Thank you for the four R’s of preaching. You have given preachers something to think about. Sometimes the pulpit is used as comedy stage with hardly any respect for God. Every preacher should read and heed the four R’s and put them into practice. Great stuff.
    With every blessing,

    Major Lorne Hiscock

Five Reasons Church Announcements Cause Problems

Five Reasons Church Announcements Cause Problems

5 Reasons

If your church has never experienced problems with church announcements, there is no need for you to read the rest of this post.

If your church is like the 95 percent of congregations that do struggle with announcements, please continue reading.

To be clear, I am speaking of verbal announcements made during a worship service. For this post, I am not concerned specifically about the digital announcements that appear on a church website, a screen before or after worship services, or a church newsletter. This issue is all about those times when someone stands up to speak to the entire congregation.

So what’s the big deal about church announcements? How could something so innocuous cause problems? Here are five reasons:

  1. Someone’s announcement is left out. On more than one occasion, announcements are left out either inadvertently or by design. A person feels slighted because his or her area of ministry or activity is particularly important to them.
  2. Someone’s announcement gets more emphasis than others. The reasons are the same as noted above. I actually heard one woman say she timed each individual announcement to prove the pastor showed favoritism. Sigh.
  3. The announcements take too long. More than one congregant has become frustrated due to the length of the announcements, especially if the issue in number four takes place.
  4. The announcements interrupt the flow of worship. Perhaps the worst time to have verbal announcements is after the worship service has begun. While singing, preaching, and the offertory definitely reflect acts of worship, it’s hard to see how the announcements fit in that category. If you have to make announcements, precede the worship service with them.
  5. Most people forget announcements. Try an experiment. Talk to someone you saw in the worship service one or two days later. See if he or she remembers the announcements. Probably not.

Some of these same issues play out in digital venues as well. People get angry or get their feelings hurt because of the placement or perceived priority of announcements on the church’s website or social media accounts.

The churches that seem to be handling the verbal announcements best are actually doing them on a very limited basis. The leaders make sure the announcements are important to the entire congregation, and that they reflect clearly a major issue for the church. Other announcements go to the newsletter or to the web site.

Unless there is an overriding reason, announcements that pertain to a small portion of the membership really should not be considered church announcements in any form. Usually there is no reason why the leader of that group cannot contact every person individually.

It is sad that announcements can be such sources of contention. It is a reflection of a self-centered “me attitude.”

But unfortunately the issue is very real in many churches.

Let me know what you think.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on April 11, 2016. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

One comment

  • David

    We eliminated all announcements during worship. No one remembered them, they took too long, and annoyed everyone. Only announcements are written.

pastors in digital age

Tag Archives: pastors in digital age

Millennials and the Demise of Print: Five Implications for Churches

Thom Rainer

As the president of an organization that has huge investments in both print and digital assets, I watch the trends related to the two closely. Current discussions focus on a few basic issues. First, digital communication is pervasive and growing. Any metric will affirm that reality. Second, print as a form of communication is suffering in most areas. Third, print will have occasional rebounds that will give print adherents hope that it is not going away. In the past couple of years, for example, print book sales have stabilized.

But a recent article by Henry Blodget in Business Insider shed some fresh perspectives on this issue. He notes the allegiance to print media is highly influenced by the age of the readers. Simply stated, the older you are, the more likely you are to like, or even prefer, print. Of course, that information is really stating the obvious.

The Stark Reality of the Future of Print

But Blodget notes recent research that is almost breathtaking. The research looked at media preferences for different age groups. The stark reality of the future of print is most noticeable in the 16-to-24 age group and the 25-to-34 age group. The Millennials have absolutely no loyalty to or preference for print media. Blodget’s words are worth repeating:

“Media consumers in the 0s, 10s, 20s, and 30s have no such print alliances. To them, the idea of printing on a dead tree and then trucking it to houses and newsstands seems ludicrous, old-fashioned, inconvenient, and wasteful. To these folks, paper-based publications are a pain to carry and search, easy to misplace, and hard to share, and the information in them is outdated the moment it appears. For those who weren’t raised on paper, digital is superior in almost every way.”

Wow. Those words are painful for an old print adherent like me. But facts are our friends, and I would rather deal with reality than deny reality.

Five Implications for the Church

Of course, after I read the article, my mind traversed quickly to implications for local churches. I see at least five at this point.

  1. Churches not fully acclimated to the digital age need to do so quickly. It’s a matter of gospel stewardship. There is no need to compromise biblical truths, but there is a great need to be relevant.
  2. More of our congregants will be turning on their Bibles in the worship services rather than opening them to a print page. Some pastors view this practice as troublesome. One pastor recently commented to me: “How do we know if they aren’t looking at sport scores or something else?” We don’t know. And we don’t know where their minds are wandering if they don’t have a digital device with them.
  3. Church leaders should view this change as an opportunity to be more effective missional leaders. We would not expect international missionaries to go to a place of service without learning the language and the culture. The language and the culture of the Millennials are all digital.
  4. Leaders must keep current with changes in the digital revolution. While old guys like me will never be as conversant with the digital culture as our children and grandchildren, we must do our best to understand this ever-changing world. What is current and relevant today may be dated and irrelevant tomorrow.
  5. Social media is a key communication form for the Millennials; churches and church leaders must also be connected. I recently wrote an article on this issue. For now, a church not involved some way in social media is neglecting a large part of the mission field.

Implications and More Implications

I recently was reading a print magazine article to one of my grandsons who was cuddled in my lap. He saw a photo on the page and tried to swipe it like he would on an iPad. When nothing happened he declared my “picture was broken.”

That is the age and the era that are quickly approaching. The implications are many and staggering. But we in churches cannot be complacent. The very communication of the gospel is at stake.

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 14, 2014. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

The Power of Preaching

The Power of Preaching

POWER

By Barry L. Davis

Approximately 50 times a year I stand up in front of a congregation and preach. I have been preaching for many years, and in my early ministries preached twice each Sunday. In other words, I’ve preached thousands of sermons, and chances are, you have too. For most of us in pastoral ministry, preaching is considered, both by the preacher and the parishioner, to be the most important thing that we do.

I always spend a great deal of time in preparation for that half hour or so that I am privileged to communicate on Sunday morning. In fact, I find it one of the most significant things that I can spend my time on, and that is why I have dedicated my life to doing it. The reason I do what I do in this regard is because I fully believe in the power of preaching to change people’s lives – and if I didn’t believe that, I’d quit doing it.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. – 1 Corinthians 1:21 (ESV)

He isn’t saying here that preaching is foolish, but that it appears foolish to those who seek wisdom through philosophical or other means. It appears foolish to those who are perishing because the main message being preached is one of God being murdered upon a cross. But God makes it very clear that through the preaching of His Word His power is revealed and it is the means by which people will be saved. We see a good example of this in Acts 14:1:

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. (ESV)

Paul and Barnabas were not offering sermonettes, or simply nice sayings to make everyone feel good, but were preaching in the power of God so that people’s lives would be changed. And lives really were changed as a result of the message they gave and the spirit in which they gave it. The exact same can happen when you preach God’s Word in power.

In this article I am using the word “PREACH” as a framework to help us understand how God uses this powerful tool, and hopefully to impress upon you the power that preaching can have over your unchurched friends. What I want us to do is see how God used preaching throughout the history of Acts and elsewhere and how He still uses it today.

PROCLAIMS

When we proclaim something we are making some type of an announcement. In preaching we are proclaiming the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In a nutshell, we are giving the good news of the Gospel of Christ. Let me give you just a few examples from the book of Acts.

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. – Acts 4:1-2 (ESV)

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. – Acts 5:42 (ESV)

Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. – Acts 13:38 (ESV)

In these three examples alone we see the proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah, that Jesus offers us forgiveness of sins, and that Jesus rose from the dead. We will see these same themes proclaimed by the apostles and others throughout the entire New Testament.

I have studied every sermon preached in the book of Acts and the most common theme by far is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the events surrounding it. From this fact we learn that the power of preaching is found in the message that we are proclaiming. And what we are called to proclaim to the multitudes is that God has come in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as our substitute, has risen from the dead, and now sits in glory at the right hand of the Father. Please keep this in mind as you prepare your future sermons. While there is certainly a place for messages on family life, being a good boss/employee, and many other topics, central to everything we preach must be the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

RESTORES

[1]Peter Jenkins began a 5-year, 4,500-mile walk across America in Oct. of 1973. First published as two articles in National Geographic, his memoirs then led to two best-selling books. Two years into the journey, he stumbled into an Alabama revival and ended up accepting Christ. Jenkins says: “I grew up in Connecticut in a very quiet, official, East Coast Presbyterian church. My parents believed, and they made their 6 children go to church and Sunday school. I wanted a religion that had emotion in it – I wanted a religion that had life, action, and the kinds of things I found in the kind of music I loved. When the revival began, this guy from Texas named James Robison came out screaming and preaching and throwing his arms around. There was sweat dripping and everything. He was dressed in a three-piece suit and cowboy boots. The two of us could not have more unalike. I was this young man with sun-bleached reddish hair down to his shoulders and an unshaven beard. But I honestly felt like when he was preaching the gospel, a huge sword was slicing me into a whole bunch of pieces. He was saying, “Joining a church won’t make you a Christian any more than joining a Lion’s Club will make you a lion. From the day you were born, you wanted to do your own thing and you were rebellious against God. If you really want to really know God, you’ve got to repent of this rebellion which the Bible calls sin.”

I could relate to that – I thought I was a pretty good person – I thought I was in search of the truth. The more I heard this stuff, [the more I realized that religion is not the answer; salvation is. You just have something inside of you that knows when you hear the truth. All of the things we think about ourselves, how we define ourselves—all that is insignificant when it comes to what’s going on in our soul. James gave me one of the greatest gifts anybody could have ever given me – He led me to the Lord.

Preaching is not just proclaiming the truths of the Gospel; it is applying those truths of the Gospel to individual’s lives so that those lives are restored. Peter was quoting the prophet Joel in his first sermon and this is what he said:

“Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”Acts 2:21b (ESV)

What was he saying? He was saying “I’m not proclaiming Jesus to you as a theory, but as a reality – not as a God who wants to condemn you, but as a God who wants to save you.” Preaching should bring restoration to those who have never known God as well as to those who once knew Him but have checked out for some reason or other.

EQUIPS

I’ve attended some churches where we never received any teaching beyond the most elementary doctrines of the Christian faith. The members didn’t know how to apply their faith to their everyday life because no one ever showed them how. One of the things that makes preaching powerful is that it can and should be used to equip those who are already believers in how to live their faith, share their faith, and know their faith intimately.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. – Hebrews 6:1 (ESV)

This maturity of understanding spoken of here comes only when the servant of God preaches and teaches the deeper things of God to the Christian community. It is our job as Christian leaders to make sure that our flock is learning, step-by-step, the deeper things of God.

(Paul saying farewell to the elders in Ephesus): …I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house.Acts 20:20 (ESV)

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV)

While we talk a lot about evangelism, we must realize that our job isn’t over until we have fully equipped those who have been won to Christ. If you are staying true to your calling as a minister then your members should walk out of church every week better equipped than they were the week before. If that’s not happening, something is wrong. I certainly wouldn’t limit this equipping to the weekend sermon, as there should be plenty of other opportunities available, but it definitely begins for most churches in the corporate worship time.

ASSURES

There is nothing more comforting than knowing that you are a child of God, that your sins have been forgiven, that you are bound for heaven, and that God loves you. Preaching is powerful, because it takes the comfort of God from the Word of God and brings assurance to His people.

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”Acts 2:38-39 (ESV)

The promise of forgiveness and salvation is given as an assurance to all who turn to the Lord. I’ve been in churches where the minister actually said, “I hope that we’ll be saved…we’ll just have to wait to find out.” That is utter hogwash and goes completely against the mandate that God has given to His preachers. We are given the power to proclaim that God not only makes promises, but that He keeps His promises, and that we can live for Him because we do so with the assurance that we are His children now, and we will always be His children.

CONVICTS

Stephen Kingsley owns a carpet cleaning business and he offers a special service for removing pet urine odors. To show potential customers their need for the service, he darkens the room and then turns on a powerful black light. The black light causes urine crystals to glow brightly. To the horror of the homeowner every drop and dribble can be seen, not only on the carpet, but usually on walls, drapes, furniture, and even on lamp shades. One homeowner begged me to shut off the light: “I can’t bear to see anymore. I don’t care what it costs. Please clean it up!” Another woman said, “I’ll never be comfortable in my home again.” The offense was there all the time, but it was invisible until the right light exposed it. It would have been cruel to show customers the extent of their problem and then say, “Too bad for you” and walk away.  He brought the light so that they might desperately want his cleaning services.

In the same way, God shines the light of his commandments through preaching, not just to make us feel guilty and leave us that way.  He has a cleaning service to offer—salvation through Jesus Christ.

Peter preached: Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”Acts 3:19

The power to preach is found in its ability to convict us of sin, lead us to repent, and to experience the refreshing waters of salvation. I will never forget week after week, coming under the preaching of a powerful spokesman for God and having my sinfulness come to the surface. Did that anger me? No! It helped me to realize that my life was headed down the wrong path and that only Jesus could make me whole again. We must not be afraid to preach to convict those who are away from the Lord, as well as to those who have professed faith in the Lord but, to use an old and almost forgotten term – backslidden – so that they will turn back to Him.

HONORS

[2]Recently, a Kansas City pharmacist was charged with diluting cancer treatment drugs, Gemzar and Taxol, in order to make a larger profit. So far there are 20 felony counts against the pharmacist, Robert Courtney. He admitted to diluting the drugs during a period of time spanning from November 2000 to March 2001. This man held life-saving power in his hands and for the sake of personal gain diluted it to the point where it could not help people.

We can do the same with God’s life-saving truth if we do not respect and honor Him in the message we proclaim. The words said from the podium must always be said in such a way as to bring honor to the God we claim to worship. I don’t have a single verse to give you to illustrate this – to get a sense of the honor and esteem with which these early preachers spoke of God you would need to read through the entire book of Acts, and actually the entire New Testament. We obviously don’t have space for that, but we need to recognize that the real power of preaching is derived from the one whom we are preaching about. If we are going to see results God must be honored by every single word that comes from the stage – and we need to be committed to doing that every week.

[1] “Peter Jenkins Finds Jesus While Walking America,” accessed January 12, 2015, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/januaryweb-only/1-6-22.0.html.

[2] USA Today (8-28-01)

 

Barry L. Davis

 

Barry L. Davis spent two decades as a Senior Pastor and started the ministry of The Pastor’s Helper in 1996. The Pastor’s Helper strives to provide tools and resources to help pastors succeed in their ministry calling. His latest book is God-Driven Leadership: A Call to Seeing, Believing, and Living in Accordance with Scriptural Principles, from which this article is derived.

2 comments

  • Pastor Chakravarthi

    Your message was really good

  • Donald M. Clark

    Your inspiring article is just what I needed to hear relative to the many interpretations and doctrinal influences that I come across each and every. In fact, I remember hearing over and over again ….. The old saying about the Gospel not being complex but that it’s simple if one gets grounded properly. Now, it’s that grounding and how it occurs! And include with that all of the new media technology that has begun to saturate even the Word of God in terms of teaching and preaching. Anyway, I still find a pathway through all of this because, because of what the Holy Spirit gave Dietrich Bonhoeffer relative to “Cheap Grace in contract with Costly Grace..” Here’s the light in all of its
    invincibility. The shining on of the light in revelation of the dirt that still covers us all up because of our ignorance of the real repentant life.

TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

TEN UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS OF PASTORS’ WIVES

By Thom Rainer

The pastor’s wife in many churches carries heavy burdens.

Sometimes they are impossible expectations.

To be fair, this post could refer to any church staff person, male or female, so it could be called ministers’ spouses. For simplicity, and because I primarily hear from this group of people, I refer to them as pastors’ wives.

So what are some of these unfair expectations? Here are the top ten expectations imposed upon these ladies.

  1. “I am expected to attend every function at the church.” One wife told us that church members resent it when she is seen doing anything outside the church.
  2. “Many church members expect me to know everything that is happening in the church.” In other words, they should know everything their pastor/husband knows.
  3. “We have several church members who feel free to complain to me about my husband.” So her church has several members who are lacking in emotional intelligence.
  4. “Church members utilize me as a de facto assistant to my husband, giving me messages for him.” One wife shared with us that she received eleven messages to give to her husband after a specific worship service.
  5. “I am still amazed how many church members expect me to function as an employee of the church.” Some are expected to lead music or play piano. Others are expected to act in a specific ministry employee role such as student or children’s director.
  6. “Some of the members expect our children to be perfect and act perfect.” One wife explained that she and her husband were new to a church when a church member confronted them about their misbehaving children. Their outlandish sin was running in the church after a worship service.
  7. “I am always supposed to be perfectly made up and dressed when I leave the house.” A church member expressed her dismay to a pastor’s wife who ran into a grocery store without makeup. You can’t make this stuff up.
  8. “I have no freedom at our church to be anything but perfectly emotionally composed.” This story really got to me. A deacon chastised a pastor’s wife for shedding tears at church four days after her dad died.
  9. “I think some of our church members expect my family to take a vow of poverty.”She was specifically referring to the criticism she received for purchasing a six-year-old minivan after her third child was born.
  10. “So many church members expect me to be their best friend.” And obviously a pastor’s wife can’t be the best friend to everyone, so she disappoints or angers others.

These are some of the comments we have received at this blog over the years from pastors’ wives. And it seems as though these trials are more gender biased. For example, the husband of a children’s minister commented that he rarely has the pressure and expectations that he sees imposed upon female spouses.

But more than other staff positions, the pastor is naturally the focus of attention and, often, criticism.

And the pastor’s family, by extension, becomes the focus of unfair and unreasonable expectations.

 

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on September 4, 2017. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

5 comments

  • sharon

    Spot on with these expectations; somedays the pressure is overwhelming.

  • Major Ellis

    If you think these are something you should interview the wife of a Salvation Army officer . Yes, he is a minister / ????Pastor as well.

    I enjoyed this article. I have recently retired as a minister and you would be surprised at the comments that come about you even in retirement.
    God Bless!

  • Brian Scott

    Perhaps another demand is being doing and achieving the exact role responsibility and attitude of the most successful friendly and best spuse who has left the church community. The demands are never clear at the start of a ministry perhaps this is a question that should be asked. Whay is expected of Us? If the responsability is achievable then those whom answer for the church are the ones who should then explain to the community whay is expected and achievable. There seems to be a lot of church life run by a few when all are called to participate.

  • Emma

    As an Evangelist and Pastor’s wife of 39 years, one is expected to serve on the same level and with the same perfection and anointing as in earlier years. Otherwise, one’s worth & value is diminished in the eyes of the people, howbeit that God allows a time when His servant is being tried and tested. God’s faithful servant, Job, was allowed by God to be greatly attacked by the enemy, satin, and suffered devastating loss. Never the less, Job declared, “…but He knoweth the way that I take:when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10 KJV). God has spoken and, like Job, my latter will be greater!

  • Monica Anyango Akoro

    Our expectations of pastor’s wives are very high. We thought they should be our role model

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