Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Calling All Ministry Folks - and Lay People, too!

I am pleading with you all for advice on some things that have really been bothering me lately. I would love to get all the answers that I can on this one from other ministry people......pastor's wives (and husbands, too if there are any out there). So, if you don't mind leading some folks my way to answer these questions, I would appreicate it!

1. How do you deal with lies that are told about your spouse?

For almost two years now, we have been serving the current church we are at. AND for almost that long there has been several things said that my husband said that are completely untrue. Well, last Sunday at a meeting I had had enough. I am so tired of sitting and listening things beings said about my husband that are untrue. SO, the question is how do you deal with it? How should I deal with it? Let it go? Or is it right to stand up for him and say outright that it isn't true? That brings me to my next question......

2. Why is it that I am supposed to just sit by and listen to people talk bad about my husband and then not be affected by it?

It is always amazing to me that people seem to think it is okay to talk about my husband in front of me and then expect me not to defend him.....especially if what is being said is untrue or unfounded. It may just be around here that this happens but I find it very disturbing, very hurtful and I am totally at a loss at to what to do about things.

Those are my questions for you ministry spouses out there.

Here is my question for all you lay folks out there.

1. How would you as a lay person hope (or expect) for your pastor's spouse to respond to things like this? Is there are way to respond to things like this that is open and honest on my part and yet still conveys love?

Please be open and honest with me! I am really seeking what is best in this situation.

Another thing that has occured to me is that it seems that in recent years there is just no respect for the position of pastor. What I mean by this is that it seems that no one really sees the pastor as being called by God to lead the church. Everyone has their opinion and own ways they think that church should be "done" and if it isn't done their way then it is wrong. What ever happened to believing that God is leading this person called pastor? The way I see it, in my own personal case, God called my husband into the ministry and expects him to lead the church to the best of his ability - leaning on God the whole time, of course. God called this man and he then spent 3 years of his life in seminary which prepared him to be the pastor. I just wonder why people don't respect that.

SO, this question is for everyone -- ministry spouses and lay folks.

1. Do you think there is a lack of respect for pastors? If so, do you see it as a problem in the church?

I'm asking if you see this as a problem in the church at large - not necessarily in your specific churches.

THANKS so much for your time. Anyone you can lead my way to comment on this would be appreciated, too! Also, I can't get my spell check to work - so forgive and misspellings, please.


Dimple Queen said...

As for the spell check....I can't get mine to work either!

Now for the more pressing issues....In years past I have had this same feeling and asked the same questions. I got everything from, "Just bite your tongue and pray." to "You shouldn't have to take that, tell 'em how you feel!"

Now for my own personal take... IF I KNOW that what the people/person is saying is a flat out lie that could seriously damage my dear hubby's ministry, I confront that. That is Satan, and we should feel comfortable telling him to "get behind us". We are given that power! How do I do that? Well, I just say, as calm and polite as I can, to that person that what they are saying is not true. Or that what they are saying is far from the truth (depending on the severity of the lie). I do not call them a liar (although that may be what they are) because this attacks their person, but instead I call "it" (the lie) an untruth. I ask them where they got that information from so that I/hubby can go to that person and get it all straight.

Believe me, this has not been easy in the past, and has made for some very uncomfortable moments, but in the long run, it keeps our dear hubby's ministry's from crumbling under the hand of Satan.

Now for the question about whether or not you should just have to "sit and take it." I think sometimes we do. All though our hubby's are in the ministry/church, and we dreamed it would never be this way, they are like many other men who hold jobs in the public eye. I think it was Lisa (The Preacher's Wife) that told me just recently, that the more we lash out, speak up, defend...the more we could possibly damage our hubby's ministry. (I SO paraphased that and put it in my own words) We want/need to talk to him and let him know of these things, but if we just jumped up everytime and lashed out (loving or not) then we are making our man look like a wimp that can't defend himself. And in return WE could damage his ministy.

He is always going to have darts and daggars thrown at him. Satan can't stand him even more than he can't stand us. His calling is SO important to Christ and the furthering of His kingdom that Satan can't stand it!

As for the "lack of respect" hubby is the Minsiter to Students and Families at our church. I see the church (speaking in general here) having a lack of respect for all Ministers. These men are CALLED by GOD to lead His people. You are right, the church in general does not want to allow this man that they call pastor to lead. They say they do, but when he makes a suggestion that he feels the Lord is leading him to make, it more than likely gets shot down. For many reasons....traditionalism, likes and dislikes and flat out disobedience of the layperson. The same is true for the Music Minister, the Youth Minister, the Discipleship Minister.....these men are called by God to lead.

I too am interested to see how some laypeople answer that question.

Sorry this got SO long, just been there myself!

Marsha said...

I most important thing you can do is be a source of encouragement for your husband right now. Make your home a sanctuary, a place for him to come home and find solace. Look for opportunities to speak positively about your husband in public, not in a forced, contrived way, but as a matter of fact conversation.

Unfortunately, this type of thing will happen to those of us in public ministry. But remember, it is THEIR sin and not yours. Don't make it your sin by becoming arguemenative, bitter or angry. You are responsible for how you respond to these things. Pour your heart out to the Lord and allow Him to deal with those who are attacking. I suggest you read and meditate upon 2 Chronicles 20. What an encouraging passage about our response when we're being attacked and don't know what to do.

Hopefully, your church has Biblical leadership at the helm (elders) who will take action and confront those in the flock who are causing the spread of lies and attacks against your husband. That is part of the role of an elder. If this Biblical model is not set up within your church's by-laws for church discipline, then it will be very difficult to squelch this dissention.

Please excuse my mispelled words. My spell check is not working right now.

I'm praying for you, dear one.

The Preacher's Wife said...

Hey Mindy!

I would say it depends on what context you are finding out about these untruths.

If someone has come to you personally and expressed something you know is untrue, I think it is perfectly within your bounds to clarify the facts. Here's where it gets sticky though - If the person doesn't respond or act like they believe you or is hateful in their approach, it's best to walk away rather than be drawn into a heated debate. A great response would be, "It seems you still have questions. I'll let Ken know your concerns and maybe you and he could talk one on one."

My issue with 'defending our hubbies' comes from some pretty rotten experiences. I've seen PW's attack deacons for not treating their husbands well. So embarassing. I've also seen one go to the deacons and demand her husband be given a raise because 'he will never ask you himself.' Luke would kill me in a million different ways if I dishonored him by going outside of his lead in matters like this. It's just degrading in my eyes for a man to have his little missus taking care of his dirty work.

One other example in which I found myself supporting Luke's leadership just this weekend. We are going into a building program and someone said, unmaliciously, 'i don't understand why we need another building. this one seems just fine to me.'

i explained calmly all the reasons why the congregation, not luke, had decided it was time to build on. my first response was to think she was attacking luke's leadership but i soon discovered that she simply had no idea because she'd not been to any of the meetings where it was all laid out to the church.

As for you and Ken, if he is aware of what is being said about him, let him handle it. He may already be dealing with it and yet has chosen to protect you from the gory details. Luke does that for me a lot because he doesn't want me to form opinions about people that are hard to shake.

Don't know if this helped...Just know I'm praying for you girl. I know a lot of these issues are denominational in that you really didn't have the opportunity to choose going into a conflict ridden church. Just remember that God is the perfect Judge and he will vindicate the innocent.

Much love,


Kelli said...

Girl, I could write a book. We have just come through a season of attack on my husband and me and it was hard.

I did learn some lessons. The first lesson was to keep my big mouth shut. My man didn't need me to add to his problems by running my mouth like a crazy woman. What he needed most was my support and prayers.

Does that mean that people should run your husband down verbally in your presence? No. I think it is ok to defend him, but with the right spirit. Not retaliating in anger.

The Lord led me to first to Matthew 5 and then on a literal treasure hunt through scripture for verses that dealt with how to treat people. I will try and eail those to you. They were my "very present help in my time of trouble"!

If I were you, when someone starts to talk about your man, I would say "since he's not here to defend himself, let's go talk to him". The Bible says that if we have a problem with someone, we are to first go to them alone, just between the 2 people. Don't be afraid to remind them that there is a biblical way to handle those things.

Just remember that not only do you have a testimony to protect, but you also have to think about your husband and his ministry. The Lord really taught me that and pierced to my very marrow with scripture in our recent battle. He can give you supernatural strength to stay above reproach.

I am praying for you, sister.

By the way, stop by my blog for the ending to my story!


Valarie said...

Ok girl. I feel your pain. I'm not a minister's wife but I am a (music) minister's daughter. I remember over hearing people talk about my dad and seeing how it affected my mom. I'm 39 so this is NOT a new problem in the church. Unfortunately! (not that you didn't already know that)

I believe in showing people a bit of grace in all circumstances - however, if it's something that could tarnish his reputation or hurt his ministry then it's time to speak the truth in love. ALWAYS stand by your man sister, but also be "slow to speak". Also, when the time comes to speak in love - for your own protection -do it with a witness - who can be unbiased.

I know none of this is new to you, but it's so easy to become victim to the enemy's game and trip you up! Rise above and put on that armor girl!
Love to you and prayers with you!

Valarie said...

One more thing. I don't know if you mentioned this but sometimes when I've caught people (women) ridin the gossip train when they didn't know I was around, simply making my presence known to them shut their traps REAL quick!! Make eye contact so they KNOW you hear every word they're saying and SMILE - that usually helps! ;-)

Bella said...

I am also the daughter of a minister...I have seen my mom in tears a few times because of 'gossip' mom also said her job was our mom, not the mom of the church. You do what you are called to do (as in my mom's words, she was called to raise her children and be a supportive wife). He deals with his 'job'. People do not grasp the fact that being a pastor is his job, difference is he has to be a friend at all times and on call at all times...I do remember a huge criticism from the church when we would go to the beach every year for 2 weeks...duh people, he needed a vacay too! But it didn't stop the talk and that's the year I told my dad no more church for me, hypocrites go, a whole other story about teenagers and church...I totally agree with speaking only when necessary..and God WILL let you know when that is...slow to speak and He will give you the words and a lot of times let it roll off...I KNOW people sometimes go home and realize what they said ...and have to humbly apologize to get it right with God again.

This could be a huge post if I was to go into what a teenager can do to her minister father and the lessons that can be

jenmom said...

These kind of things are truly hurtful and hard to deal with; however, I agree with so many of the comments before that the first line of defense is through prayer for your husband.
My husband and I just left a church about 8 months ago because of some of this stuff. The very people who seemed to support him turned their backs on him and my husband was deeply hurt. I am sad to say that I didn't pray like I should have for him during that time, because I was nursing my own wounds in the middle of the situation. I had two children that were being shuned during all this as well.
Pray Pray Pray and remember that the Lord my use this very situation and how you and your husband handle it to teach this congregation about the Lord's grace!

Joy said...

Oh me; I am tingling with memories!! I am a Pastor's daughter and married to a minister. I watched my parents show wonderful grace during extremely rough times. My Dad always said "God will take care of it". I tend to "let go and let God". I haven't always done this and it seemed to make the matter worse. We are not door mats though and a "I know what you are doing/saying" look and then move on gets many mouths to stop flapping. We have to be careful because these are the people that are the most precious to us on this earth. As I married a minister after coming from a Pastor's home; never did I realize that by me watching my Dad & Mom all these years; the Lord was preparing me for how mean/cruel some church people can be. I tend to fall into the reasoning of "my husband needs a wife; not someone chasing around church folks for hurting him." He is extremely competant to handle situations without me putting my mouth into it!

Cheryl said...

Hey Mindy,
I don't think I could state any better the wonderful advice you've been given so far. I have been married to my man (a pastor) for 2and a half years, so I don't have much experience. But we've had our share of trials in the 2 years that we've been at our church. Just know that I will be praying for you and your husband.

Your sis in Christ and fellow pastor's wife,

Sarah E. said...

Just passing husband's only been a pastor for a couple years, so I don't have much insight :) But I do know that feeling of wanting to tear apart whoever is criticizing, because I know his heart and all that he pours into them. Know tonight, I am praying for you and your husband...and especially for your church. May God show them the damage they are causing, and may he make them more concerned with their own shortcomings, may they become a humble and broken people before him. In Him, Sarah