It was great to gather as a group and to pray for a fellow pastor at this past week’s Rural Church Pastors Network in Ft. MacLeod.
Our topic was “Who’s Up For A Good Fight”, dealing with conflict in the rural church. We encourage a lot of conversation through the day. We talk around our table groups and share with the whole group. In going through the day, one of our brothers opened up about some serious conflict he was facing. It was great to hear fellow pastors share some of their suggestions and encouragements. I don’t know if he will go home and put into practice everything that others said. But I do know that he left feeling encouraged. At the end of the day we all gathered around him, laid our hands on him and prayed for him. One of the other pastors offered to see if they could meet as couples to have his wife encourage our brother’s wife as well.
I love going through the content of our gatherings, but what is most exciting is seeing pastors networking, connecting with other pastors. These pastors may not have known each other before joining us for the day, but can leave having made new friendships with others who are facing similar challenges.
We need each other. I know that I have benefited from connecting with other pastors. To be a pastor in a rural community can be very lonely. It is a gift from God to find someone else who understands us and can relate to things we are facing.
I hope you have someone who understands you and can be a support to you.
It’s pretty hard to be a good small church pastor without the full support and involvement of your wife. My ministry as a pastor would not be what it is except for my wife.
Yes, Lynnette plays the piano, but not all the time. We do have others who play and lead music. No, she doesn’t lead the Women’s Ministry and doesn’t even attend the Ladies Bible Study. Yes, she is involved in teaching the children in Children’s Church just about every Sunday. She also presently leads our Tuesday morning Moms and Tots program. And beyond the programs, she does a lot of ministry by connecting with ladies and by caring for those who need some love. She loves taking meals to people who need some encouragement. And her involvements have changed depending on which church we were in and what was happening there or even on the ages of our kids and what they were involved in. But that’s not even really what is most important to me.
All of the above things contribute to the work of the church, but what I find most valuable is her willingness to listen to me and to give me good input and feedback. I can share my frustrations with her and know she will listen. I work through alot of my thinking and ideas by bouncing them off her before I ever talk with my elders or other leaders about them.
So why am I saying this? Because I think that we need to be very careful not to do what most churches do… fail to recognize how valuable your wife is to your church -and most importantly to you as the pastor.
Take time to appreciate her. Tell her how much you value her support and input. Celebrate things with her. Give her freedom to say “no” when things get to be too much. I know I need to do that more for Lynnette.
Treat her as a partner in ministry. Don’t be scared to talk about what happened in your day and who you talked to. Let her in on the conversations you have been having and the dreams you hold for your church and yourself personally. Take time to listen to her ideas and to her dreams for the church.
I really hope you have a wife who sees how valuable her support is. There are pastors – even good ones, who are no longer serving in a church because of their wife. I hope your experience really is one of mutual partnership in ministry where you both feel called and both are concerned about your community and your church! And as you include your wife, also protect her and her time. Hopefully you will both have a long and joy-filled ministry together!