Celebrate with Cake!~ Way 19

Celebrate with Cake!~ Way 19

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Now we urge you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.

1 Thessalonians 5:12,13

Sometimes all you need is cake to be reminded that you are appreciated.

When you are appreciated all year long in so many different ways, cake is simply the exclamation point!

31 WAYS

Way 19: Celebrate your pastor with cake!

Pursue Friendship With Your Pastor~ Way 18

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Now we urge you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish  you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.

1 Thessalonians 5:12,13

“I feel bad for you that you don’t have any friends.” 

The words fell off her tongue like a steel balloon. My eyes opened wide in shock and I turned to see his response.

I would have been hurt if someone said this about me, but it didn’t bother him at all. He didn’t have anything to prove.

In the first post of this series, “31 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastor”, I shared some statistics about pastors. One was that 78 % of pastors have no close friends. This number surprised me, but it didn’t surprise my husband.

It can be difficult for pastors to pursue friendships because of confidentiality issues, because they don’t want anyone to feel left out or unimportant, or because it’s not their personality. Sometimes pastors won’t pursue friendships within the church, because they have been burned and counseled not to have confidantes in the church. These barriers to friendship can sometimes prove to be insurmountable. It leaves the pastor feeling isolated and unloved.

One of the greatest joys for me as the pastor’s wife is seeing other men pursue friendship with my husband. It thrills me to know that others appreciate him. What I have always known is that my husband is a good friend, he is fun to be with and he doesn’t want those barriers to exist.

A myth that some people seem to believe is that pastors are naturally good at making friends or that it comes easy to them. This IS true for some pastors, but this isn’t always true. For many pastors, it is quite the opposite. They might want to have close friendships with others, but they don’t know how to pursue those relationships.

Don’t be afraid to pursue a friendship with your pastor. If you love Jesus, you already have the most important thing in common with him. Don’t worry that he won’t have time to shoot the breeze with you. He needs those times as much as anyone else. Invite him to go fishing if that’s what you enjoy doing. Or maybe you prefer to go out for coffee and discuss theology (chances are good that your pastor will love that!). If you run and so does he, plan to run a race together. If you play an instrument and so does he, plan to play together. Find ways to get to know him and pursue his friendship.

You won’t regret it and neither will he.

31 WAYS

Way 18: Your pastor will feel appreciated when you pursue friendship with him.

Love Your Pastor’s Wife~ Way 17

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Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.

1 Thessalonians 5:12,13

This is the post that I don’t really want to write. Of all of the ways to appreciate your pastor, talking about loving his wife seems the most awkward for me and to be quite honest with you, I want to run far away from this post and not write it at all.

But I know how crucial it is. I have watched pastor’s families fall apart when the wife has walked away. I have seen hearts break when the wife was not loved. And I have watched pastors leave the ministry, because their wives could not handle the pressure.

Loving the pastor’s wife is incredibly important. And so, I feel compelled to write this post, even though I don’t want to.

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Pastor’s wives are just normal people. For many of us, we didn’t grow up wanting to be a pastor’s wife. And for some (including me!), it was exactly what we didn’t want to be.

But when God calls a man to ministry and you are the woman who loves him, I believe that you are called as well.

Every church that my husband has worked in has been gracious to me as his wife. But this is not always the case. I have heard stories of how the pastor’s wife has been criticized for how she planted flowers, how the congregation was disappointed when she didn’t live up to their expectations, how she was expected to dress well, but not too well, how everyone felt free to comment on her parenting, and how her choices were scrutinized.

It all goes back to this “fishbowl” living and it can leave pastor’s wives feeling disillusioned about the church. I have heard many pastor’s wives say something like I didn’t sign up for this!

What the pastor’s wife did sign up for and commit to is to love her husband in sickness and in health, in prosperity and in adversity, and for better or worse. This role that the wife plays in her pastor husband’s life cannot be downplayed. When the wife is loving her husband well, he is free to love others well. It follows that if the church is loving the pastor’s wife well, they can have a direct impact on how the pastor feels appreciated.

One of the most difficult parts of being the pastor’s wife is when church members have an issue with the pastor and come to the wife to discuss their issues. There will be times when people are disgruntled or frustrated, but hearing negative things about your husband can be heart breaking.

In our experience, we have faced criticisms that were valid and that God used to change us and mold us and make us more into the ministry couple he desired us to be. I am thankful for those criticisms. But I have also had to listen to negative opinions of my husband that were completely unfair. I have heard things that I wish I could unhear.

Loving the pastor’s wife means that you get to know her, not try to fit her into some-perfect-pastor’s-wife-mold (there is no such thing!). Loving her means that you will seek to point her to truth and to Jesus (and then trust God to change her heart where it needs to be changed). Loving her means that you will not be unreasonably critical of her husband (and if you have an issue with the pastor, you will go to him, not to her).

Dave and I in the sunlight

To my Orchard Community Church family,

Thank you for loving me well. I am amazed by how thoughtful you are, how you genuinely love and respect my husband and how you love me for me. One of the things that makes the writing of this post so awkward for me is that I don’t want any of you to think for a moment that you need to improve in this area. In truth, it is quite the opposite. I am overwhelmed by how well you love me! You are all so thoughtful, so gracious, so patient, so loving.

I am blessed beyond words and I am convinced that if all pastor’s wives had congregations like you, our world would be a much better, more God-honoring place.

With love,

Becky

31 WAYS

Way 17: Love Your Pastor’s Wife

 

Letter Writing~ Way 16

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Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.

1 Thessalonians 5:12,13

Dear Pastor,

When I came to church on Sunday, I was greeted by a smiling face. I felt welcome as soon as I stepped in the door. My hands were full and I am sure I looked slightly overwhelmed. What a blessing it was to have so many rush to my aid and to genuinely seek to help me!

You weren’t there.

I took my kids to their Sunday school classes (which were easy to find, because there were signs and volunteers who directed me to the right place) and then I found a spot around a table in Bible study.

I didn’t know if you would be there or not.

I felt welcomed right away in the discussion around the tables. People seemed to really care that I was there. And then the class began. I wondered if you were the teacher, but soon discovered that you were not. The teacher asked you a question specifically and your response surprised me. I noticed that you went immediately to Scripture, but you didn’t try to dominate the conversation. Rather you simply supported the teacher.

It was a breath of fresh air.

It was obvious that you enjoyed being in the class, but surprising to me that you didn’t feel the need to take over. You left before the class ended, so I didn’t get to shake your hand. But it didn’t really matter. There were so many who came to talk to me that I’m not sure I would have had time to meet you anyway!

I felt like I had been a part of the group forever.

I gathered my children and headed to the sanctuary. Again, my family was greeted with smiles and we were directed to seats after my children’s hands had been filled with coloring pages and crayons. It seemed like people not only cared about me, but were equally interested in my children.

This is important to me.

The service surprised me. There was a depth that I have not been accustomed to. The worship leaders were not polished and to be honest, this was a relief. It was obvious that their sole purpose was to bring honor to God. They were not trying to point to themselves.

It was refreshing.

And then you preached and again, I could sense God’s presence in our midst. I especially appreciated how you said It’s all about God, not about me.

Amen.

After the service, you greeted our family. I hope you can forgive me for not talking longer. You see, the family sitting next to us had struck up a conversation and we had so much in common! We were in the middle of planning to have dinner together the next weekend.

I was distracted, but in a good way.

As I left on that morning, I realized something. The church was not about you, yet your influence was felt in every interaction. I have been in churches all my life and so I know the impact a pastor can have. By truly seeking to bring glory to God, the church has followed your lead. Every interaction, every conversation, every discussion pointed to Jesus.

So, thank you, pastor. Thank you for setting an example. Worshiping with your church family was truly about God and that is where I want to be.

Sincerely,

Your Newest Member

This kind of feedback is invaluable to a pastor! Whether good or bad, letters are a way of going beyond the limited interactions that occur on a Sunday morning. If you notice something that your pastor is doing well- especially if it seemingly has nothing to do with him- let him know.

31 WAYS

 

Way 16: Write letters to your pastor.

This post is part of a series on “31 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastor”. You can read all posts here. And if you don’t want to miss the rest of the posts in the series, you can subscribe on the right hand side of the blog.

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