Being a Pastor’s Wife: What Role a Pastors Wife Plays in the Church

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Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed them, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your Church and Without Her, You Fall Apart.

The other thing that too many churches do with pastor’s wives is not being sure what to do with them or how they should serve or be involved. Many churches see them as free labor. He’s here, she came with him, why not put her to work, for free. She leads the music, plays the piano, leads the kids ministry and the women’s ministry. Why? Why not.

What makes being a pastor’s wife difficult is that nowhere in scripture is there a job description. The only job description people know of for a pastors’ wife is what they saw their last pastor’s wife do. If she did it, they assume every pastor’s wife does that. The problem is that every pastor’s wife is not musical, many of them do not have upfront personalities, or have a teaching gift or have a passion for children or a women’s ministry.

A pastor’s wife needs to be treated like the rest of the women in the church. She needs to be encouraged to find her spiritual gift and use them. Whatever that may be. And, like every other woman in the church, her first responsibility it to care for her husband and children. That is her first ministry according to Titus 2. This is something churches can get better at as well. We need to encourage and hold up the important role women play when it comes to their role as a wife and a mom. Yes, women are not just that, but we have lowered those roles so much in our culture that it is seen as a step down if that is your role. By fulfilling this role, a woman is making the biggest impact on the world because of the impact she is making on her family (particularly, her kids).

Sorry, that was a tangent.

Once, I had a conversation with a woman at Revolution and she told me all the things her pastor’s wife had done. She had recently moved to Tucson. Her problem was that Katie didn’t do these things. What she failed to recognize was that Katie was 28 and her previous pastor’s wife was 44, with only a high school senior still at home. Katie had 3 kids under 4 at home.

While, this does not give a pastor’s wife an excuse to be lazy and say, “I have 2 young kids at home so I can’t volunteer anywhere in the church.” If someone else said that in a church, we would give pushback because we are all called to serve somewhere in some capacity in the body of Christ. She does need to be selective with her time.

Every family finds themselves in different seasons. Some are busier than others. A pastor’s wife needs to be aware of the season she is in, the season her family is in and the church needs to be okay with that and respect that. As they do with the other women in the church.

Pastors, does your church see your wife as free labor, or do they treat her like other women in the church and encourage her to find a spot to serve? You need to not treat her as an employee, she is a member of your church, just like everybody else who is a member. Have you helped her discover her gifts and what she is passionate about? In case you haven’t figured it out, this might change as she grows older, which makes it fun. You get to discover something new with her, and then discover something else with her as her season in life changes.

Churches, do you treat your pastors wife with respect, but also like other women in the church? She is going through the same things all the women in the church are going through, she just gets to go through it in a more public way.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Hard to believe that Revolution is entering a new chapter this Sunday.
  • We turned 6 yesterday.
  • Jerad Collier joins our team as our new Pastor for Worship & Discipleship.
  • So excited for this.
  • We wrapped up our series Waiting on God yesterday.
  • Such a powerful 5 weeks in the life of our church.
  • If you missed yesterday as we talked about how to walk with God through pain and suffering, you can listen to it here.
  • Each week I was reminded by people in our church how relevant Scripture is through emails and tweets.
  • So much pain and hurt in our world that affects us everyday and so many questions about how to find God in the midst of it.
  • It reminded me why I love preaching but especially why the Old Testament is so relevant.
  • Definitely excited to change gears this week and start a new series called Stand on 2 Timothy.
  • Easily one of my favorite books of the bible.
  • We had another packed newcomer’s lunch yesterday.
  • I am always amazed at how many new people we have and that we have to have a lunch every month for new people.
  • Love their excitement about our church and helping them get connected.
  • Read this book over the weekend and it might be the most helpful, shortest leadership book for pastors.
  • Great self-assessment of how your church is doing and how it can improve.
  • Definitely going to take our team through it.
  • That’s about it. Got a full week ahead!

Why I Love Preaching in the Old Testament

Hebrew Bible Textl - Jewish Related Item

I just wrapped up a five week series on the book of Habakkuk called Waiting on GodWhile I love every series we do at Revolution, I love preaching through books of the Old Testament. I know each communicator is different and there are guys who would preach on the gospels every week if they could (and some do).

So far in 6 years we’ve preached through the Song of Solomon, Jonah, the life of Elijah and Samson, Nehemiah, Joshua, Ecclesiastes and now Habakkuk. We’re thinking of doing Malachi and Ruth next year as well.

Why do I love preaching through the Old Testament books? Here are a few reasons why I love them and why you should consider preaching through them more often:

  1. Your people don’t know them as well. While most people don’t know the Bible very well, most really don’t know the Old Testament. They might think they know the stories of Noah, Moses, Joseph and David, but there is so much in them they don’t know. Most people at my church had never read through Habakkuk when we preached through it. This creates a sense of anticipation and excitement to hear something they have not heard before.
  2. They are filled with great stories. Let’s be honest, the stories of the Old Testament are crazy. Have you read through Judges? This engages people and helps them visualize the bible. It is also a great way to say, “If someone was making up the Bible, this probably wouldn’t get included.” They are filled with people making wrong choices all over the place and God still being gracious.
  3. We see the character of God. Many people say they like the Jesus of the New Testament and not the God of the Old Testament. Honestly, I can see why and relate. Yet, every time I dive into the Old Testament, while I sometimes scratch my head at what seems like a vengeful and wrathful God. I am equally blown away by how patient and gracious He is. He continues to give chance after chance. The Old Testament truly shows how long suffering He is. So, while people need to hear that God hates sin, has wrath and anger towards sin, He also has enormous amounts of grace for sinners who repent.
  4. We need the Old Testament so the New Testament is such good news. Without the Old Testament, the beauty of the New Testament would be dimmed. By the time you get to Malachi, the fact that God still sends a redeemer is mind blowing to me. Honestly, if you read the Old Testament, you should be astounded that God doesn’t repeat the story of Noah. When Jesus comes, the silence is deafening and then…a Redeemer. One to right all the wrongs of the world, to usher in redemption and justice, once and for all.

While pastors need to balance the Old and New Testament, which we do very well I think. More pastors need to dust off some of the books in the Old Testament for their churches.

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How to Have a Crucial Conversation

Conversations move life forward. They can also stop things from moving forward. Relationships end on conversations and begin. Teams are formed and broken apart. Goals are made, expectations laid out, visions happen, all around conversations.

Feelings get hurt in conversations, lies are told, deception, betrayal, all of these can happen in conversations.

Enter the book Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. I heard Joseph Grenny, one of the authors speak on this topic recently at the leadership summit and got a lot out of his session.

But what is a crucial conversation and is that different from a regular conversation? Here’s a simple diagram:

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All of us know the feeling of this kind of conversation and we know that this is where life changes.

Here are 10 things I got from the book that I have found helpful in my life and leadership:

  1. When we face crucial conversations, we can do one of three things:  We can avoid them, We can face them and handle them poorly, or We can face them and handle them well. At the heart of almost all chronic problems in our organizations, our teams, and our relationships lie crucial conversations—ones that we’re either not holding or not holding well. Christians and church staffs are notorious for avoiding crucial conversations. This is why churches often split, people leave hurt and visions never move forward. Instead of doing the hard work in a conversation, they are avoided. When in reality, because of what is at stake (salvation) and because of the calling of Jesus, we should do a better job of having crucial conversations.
  2. Individuals who are the most influential—who can get things done and at the same time build on relationships—are those who master their crucial conversations. We all know this to be true. If you aren’t very good at dialogue, you sit back in wonder at those who are. They are able to gain more influence, get more done and people want to be on their team and a part of what they are doing. This is why raising the value of this skill and getting better at it matters so much. Things move forward or stop around conversations.
  3. The mistake most of us make in our crucial conversations is we believe that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend. Grenny said this at the summit and it grabbed my attention. This is one of, if not the main reason, most conversations stop and things do not move forward. Fear. Fear of a relationship ending, something stopping, getting fired or hurting someone. Yet, if we don’t tell the truth, we often can’t be a friend.
  4. People rarely become defensive simply because of what you’re saying. They only become defensive when they no longer feel safe. The problem is not the content of your message, but the condition of the conversation. If you are a boss and want honest feedback and conversation, people can’t fear for their jobs or that you will yell at them. Recently, there has been a lot of writing online about pastors abusing people, creating a culture of fear, yelling at staff members, elders and volunteers and it blows my mind. If you are known for that as a pastor, you should be embarrassed.
  5. Be careful not to apologize for your views. This can be easy to do and it often happens as a way to soften your opinion or the blow in a conversation, but you shouldn’t apologize for what you think. It is what you think. It might be hard or unpopular to say, but don’t shy away from it. You may be wise to change how you phrase it, but always be willing to share what you think in a conversation.
  6. One of the ironies of dialogue is that, when talking with those holding opposing opinions, the more convinced and forceful you act, the more resistant others become. I done this very easily in the past. Yet, this practice keeps people from buying in and helping to make something happen. When we do this, we don’t understand why people aren’t on board. The reason is the harder we push our way, the harder they push their way.
  7. Speaking in absolute and overstated terms does not increase your influence, it decreases it. The converse is also true—the more tentatively you speak, the more open people become to your opinions. The more harshly we speak or the more we give the impression that there is only one way, the less likely it becomes that people will speak up. Now, on issues like vision, it must be clear and have agreement. But, in conversations, if we give the impression that something has been decided or that we aren’t open to suggestions, we will kill discussion.
  8. When we feel the need to push our ideas on others, it’s generally because we believe we’re right and everyone else is wrong. This is another way the previous one. If you find yourself pushing your ideas, you aren’t having a good dialogue and instead are simply giving out orders. That may be your leadership style, but it won’t accomplish a healthy team environment and in the end, your church or business will never reach its full potential.
  9. The more you care about an issue, the less likely you are to be on your best behavior. As a leader or a person in a relationship, you must learn this well. This was an eye opening insight for me. I get very passionate about things, as most people do, and when I do, I can shut down dialogue and end up hurting people. We do this, often unintentionally because we care about something, because we believe we are right and have the only way forward.
  10. The fuzzier the expectations, the higher the likelihood of disappointment. When a crucial conversation ends, there must be clear expectations and guidance moving forward. It cannot be fuzzy or gray. Otherwise, a conversation has not ended, it is simply on pause.

All in all, this was an incredibly helpful book. Some of it covered things I already knew but showed some helpful insights. I’ve already seen a change in some of my conversations with leaders at my church and in my family through this book. Definitely one I’d recommend.

Being a Pastor’s Wife: Without Her, You Fall Apart

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Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed it, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your Church.

One of the difficulties is that no one knows is what a pastor’s wife does. Everyone sees him preaching, leading worship, talking with people. They are touched by what he does. Words speak to them. He led them to Christ, baptized them, did their wedding, and was there for them when they lost a parent or a child.

What makes a pastor’s wife the most important person to the pastor is what you don’t see her do. For me, I am able to do all that I do only because of what Katie does in the background. The night before preaching is especially stressful for every pastor. They are thinking about their sermon, the people who will be there, the details, the people who are mad at them, any problems that are coming up, the list goes on and on what runs through a pastor’s mind the night before preaching. On Saturday, Katie makes sure that our house is as relaxing as possible. We play with our kids, watch a movie, sit on the back porch listening to music and talking together. We do as little as possible. We don’t have any major discussions (we do that on date night, which is Friday night). The next difficult night is after preaching. A pastor thinks about the conversations, what went right, what went wrong. It is either an incredible high or a low. But the night after preaching is usually the most dramatic mood swing of the week for a pastor. They have poured everything out to help those in their church. Without Katie, I would not make it through a month’s worth of these nights.

Pastors, make sure your wife knows how important she is. It is easy for her to forget because she doesn’t see or hear everything. She just hears the bad stuff. Tell her about how what she does enables you to do what you do. How by creating a relaxing home, you are prepared to do what you do and because you do what you do and God worked someone’s life has been changed. That does not happen without her.

When was the last time you said, “Without you, I would not be able to do ________________?” Do you have a night (a weekly date night) set aside that honors your wife and give your undivided attention to her on this night? That means no phone, email, internet, TV. A night of relating.

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Trust Leads to Joy

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Let me say something that at first blush will sound incorrect, but I believe is true and will change  a lot in your life.

Ready?

Rightly placed trust leads to joy. 

Trusting in God is a hard thing to do. But, when we do, it leads to our joy.

One of the things I often encourage people to do who struggle to trust in God is to ask, why don’t you trust God? What keeps you from that? Is it something you think God should have done? Is it because of a past hurt or a relationship that fell apart?

Often, without realizing it, we don’t trust God not because of God but because of ourselves.

Once we are able to see why we don’t trust God and what keeps us from taking that step, we are able to deal with that.

It isn’t as simple as “just trusting God more.”

The reality though is all of us trust in someone or something in our lives. 

We trust in people everyday.

Yet, the reverse is true and we know it to be true.

Misplaced trust does not lead to joy. 

One of the things that I find most fascinating about Habakkuk chapter 3 is how Habakkuk reminds himself of how God has moved in the past. He recalls how the nation of Israel began, how God brought the nation of Israel out of slavery in the book of Exodus and gave them the 10 commandments.

What Habakkuk is doing is reminding himself of how God has moved in the past. Often, our struggle with trust is if God will show up. Habakkuk is showing us, “God worked in the past, so I can trust He will work now and in the future.”

This doesn’t mean that God will work in the same way as the past. It doesn’t mean He will work on our timetable, but we do know He is at work.

You may be in a place where you need to remind yourself of how God has worked in the past of your life. Maybe you need to journal or make a list of things he’s done, prayers he has answered. Maybe you need to determine why you don’t trust God, what is hold you back and how to move forward in that. What things are you placing your trust in that will ultimately let you down and take away your joy instead of giving you joy.

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Waiting on God: Jason & Sarah

To go with our Waiting on God series we asked someone to make some video stories of people in our church who have waited on God, are waiting on God or are in the midst of a hard season of life.

Below is the story of Jason and Sarah Wood sharing their journey and struggle through pregnancy, a miscarriage and adopting two girls from the Congo, that they are still waiting to bring home.

Waiting on God: Jason & Sarah from Tucson Revolution on Vimeo.

3 Reasons You Won’t Slow Down

Psalm 46:10 is an often quoted verse. It says, Be still and know that I am God. It’s on coffee mugs, posters, greeting cards. It is an invitation to experience God, to rest, slow down.

It is also an invitation that I and many others reject on a daily basis.

Our rejection of this invitation is interesting because of how tired most Americans are, how worn out we are, how run down we are from living life. You would think, the invitation from God for us to be still and know that He is God would be a welcome invitation.

But we reject it.

First off, to be still and know that He is God means I need to admit that I am not God. I have to admit there are things outside of my control. Things I can’t do. Things I can’t handle. There are people and situations I cannot control. This is not a facade many of us are willing to give up any time soon. We know we aren’t in control, but we are content to live with the idea that we might be.

Second, for me to be still means I am going to have to stop. Which means, slowing down, stopping things, resting. The reason most Americans don’t Sabbath and rest isn’t because we don’t know how to or aren’t very good at it. We don’t rest and slow down because we don’t want to. As long as we are busy, we don’t have to think about what is broken in our lives. We don’t have to think about that situation from 10 years ago we are trying to forget that we have never dealt with. Being still often means facing our sin. Being still gives God the opportunity to speak to us. As long as we are moving, we are able to drown Him out and not think about those broken places in our lives.

Third, is the crucial word know. Most of the time, when we talk about faith in God or a lack of faith, it all has to do with our feelings. We talk about not feeling in love as a reason for divorce. We don’t feel God’s love, so it must not be real is a comment I’ve heard countless times. But, Psalm 46 tells us to know that He is God. Not feel. Feelings are fleeting and easy to dismiss. Knowing means I must slow down to ask, “What do I know about God? Looking at the world around me, what does that say about God? How have I seen God be faithful to redeem other things in my life, why not this thing I won’t give up?”

We don’t slow down, not because we can’t or don’t have time. We don’t stop because deep down, we want to be God. We don’t want God to speak to us about those broken places in our lives, we’d like to keep being the victim in that situation instead of facing it and having him redeem it.

But the invitation still stands, by accepting it, we find rest. We find life. We find a place where we can let go of worries, hurt, frustrations and be with God. Exactly what we need.

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Links for Your Weekend Reading

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Every Saturday morning I share some things from around the web that I found helpful, interesting or challenged my thinking and I hope you will too. If you want to see past links, go here. Enjoy your weekend!

Aaron Armstrong on Brothers, abandon the green room.

Brothers, abandon the green room. Do not hide from the congregation; do not perpetuate the leadership is lonely garbage. Worship with the congregation, seeing your place in the body so you might experience the ministry of the body.

Al Mohler on Joel & Victoria Osteen.

America deserves the Osteens. The consumer culture, the cult of the therapeutic, the marketing impulse, and the sheer superficiality of American cultural Christianity probably made the Osteens inevitable. The Osteens are phenomenally successful because they are the exaggerated fulfillment of the self-help movement and the cult of celebrity rolled into one massive mega-church media empire. And, to cap it all off, they give Americans what Americans crave — reassurance delivered with a smile.

Why a leader should never quit.

In my view too many leaders leave too often before critical breakthroughs happen. Most people who become ‘overnight’ successes have put in a decade or more before anything really note-worthy has happened.

Waiting on God: Mike & Alice

To go with our Waiting on God series we asked someone to make some video stories of people in our church who have waited on God, are waiting on God or are in the midst of a hard season of life.

Below is the story of Mike and Alice; the journey of their marriage and Alice starting to follow Jesus before Mike and how that affected their marriage.

Waiting on God: Mike & Alice Rodriguez Story from Tucson Revolution on Vimeo.