I’ve been a Pastors wife for two years. What some of you may not know is that I was in a ministerial role myself for another two prior to becoming a Pastor's wife. And served in Church leadership roles for years before that.
What you do probably know however, is that often times when you hear the word "Church" you hear the word "hurt."
I’ve been hurt by people. My husband has been hurt by people. People have been hurt by us.
None of which, I can promise you, was on purpose.
I understand your frustrations with the church and maybe even your Pastor, but there is something I have to say;
You have to remember, your Pastor is a person too.
He’s a human. She’s a human. We’re all human.
With being a human, a sinner saved by and redeemed in Christ, means that we will make mistakes, we will fail, and we will be far from perfect.
Now, that doesn’t give anybody a free pass to be and to do as they please, but it gives a pass for grace.
We are quick to offer grace to friends, to coworkers, to the unsaved neighbor, but not our Pastors. Not our church leadership.
They have been given a gifting, personality, skill set, and calling that has led them to the role that they are currently in, but that doesn’t exempt them from making mistakes, asking for forgiveness, or needing grace.
There are some things that happen within the church setting and environment and "in the name of Jesus" that are absolutely unacceptable, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Speaking from my ministerial experience, Pastors and Church staff have a passion to serve, but also have a pressure to appear and preform as something they aren’t. A pressure brought on by expectations.
Expectations which, people may not even know that they have, but do. And those expectations have a tendency to hold Pastors and church staff to an unreal level to be something they aren’t.
We think they should be, do, behave, pray, and lead certain ways. All while meeting their job descriptions too. (Yes, they have job descriptions too.)
Jimmy Dodd wrote a book all about this called: Pastors Are People Too: What They Won't Tell You but You Need to Know
and this is what he said about expectations:
"They’re expected to know every member by name, preach a “home run sermon” every Sunday, condemn sin without hurting anyone’s feelings, and be available to serve others 24/7 while not neglecting their own family. The intensity of these expectations and lack of appreciation can and does bring the majority of pastors to a place of despair and ultimately departure from pastoral ministry."
So with that said, I need your help, they need your help. We need to do them a favor:
1) Pray for your church staff and leadership more.
2) If you have been hurt in some way or made unhappy, have a [calm and thought out] conversation with your Pastor so they can know what happened and help you both understand the situation a little more, because chances are they may not even be aware something hurt you.
3) Please offer them a little more grace, they truly need it.
4) Before you react, please remember that your church, church staff, and Pastor are people and they are all humans. Sinners saved by and redeemed in Christ, so somebody, somewhere, someday will make a mistake or two.
5) Remember that spiritual warfare is real. We may forget that it is there, but it is. We have one common enemy in Satan, and he would love nothing more to see the Church be torn apart by expectations, unjustified harbored hurt and pain, and know he can and will use anybody in his path to make it happen.
1 Peter 5:8-9 says: Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.
6) Remember, you are loved, you are prayed for, and you are appreciated.