By Amy Rager
Are you, or have you ever been, a youth minister's wife? I have. What about a rural church pastor's wife? I've been there, too. Or an urban church planter's wife? Count me in, also. So many moments in life, I felt like an outlier. Five times at the hands of the elderly widow’s class I received verbal tongue-lashings. Once, I was the oldest female in our congregation. Four times I’ve relocated my family. I’ve served down old country roads; I’ve also served right off of I-65. I've been in ministry through health, pregnancy and illness. I’ve lived below the poverty line, and I’ve lived in the middle class. And in all things, Lord may call us to move again.
Pastors' wives, can you relate to my personal version of Paul's life (found in 2 Corinthians 11)?
Being a pastor’s wife is definitely not characterized by stability or predictability. We serve a Savior who once said, “The wind blows were it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
That’s the God we serve—One who moves as mysteriously as the wind He created.
We often use the phrases "surrendered my life to the ministry" or "gave my life to Christ." This surrendering is not just a one-time giving of ourselves, is it? No, it’s an everyday mentality of "this life is not my own, I will live as Christ sees fit."
Adaptability is a necessity for pastors' wives and is likely a quality you’ve already had to cultivate. Tom Rainer says the average pastor changes churches every three to four years. This adaptability we’ve instilled over the years can be a powerful tool in our ministries. Check out the definition of adaptability...read more
Amy is the wife of church planter, Barry Rager, and the mother of four young, energetic children. She and her family served in established churches for 8 years before relocating to Indianapolis in 2013 to plant New Circle Church. Amy enjoys discipling women and is passionate about planters' wives.
You can connect with her on Twitter @amylrager More from this author.
my husband. How do you navigate this journey? It is awkward and sometimes I don't know whether to reach out to the wife or just let it go. It is a lot to go through as a family when you realize people that you labored with will no longer be there. And then the congregation questions us as to where these people have gone or why they have left."
I want to address this question in a way that will be beneficial for everyone in the church, whether you are a pastor's wife or a person leaving or considering leaving your church...
Do you have any "if only's" in your thought life? Are they holding you back, keeping you from moving forward? Beth Holmes shares with us the follies of comparison and ways to overcome our tendencies to compare.
“If only our church had a full-time children’s minister …"
“If only our women’s ministry could find its footing …”
“If only our people would volunteer more …”
The expression “if only” is a great temptation in ministry. If only everything and everyone would line up, then we could do what another church is doing. If only we could convince our people to do the right steps, then we could be like another church...read more
.Beth Holmes is a minister's wife and mom living in Owensboro, Kentucky, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2014. After spending a year learning to be brave through cancer treatments, God is teaching her again how to celebrate in 2016. Join her journey at bethholmes.wordpress.com. This blog was posted on June 15, 2017 at Flourish.
When we first started out in pastoral ministry, it seemed most of our decisions were made in reaction to whatever situation we were in. For the most part, that decision-making style served us pretty well. As time went on and we dived deeper into ministry, we found that life ran smoother if we did some proactive thinking and planning, asking ourselves questions like, "What would we do if...? How will our actions affect our children and our home?"
Amy Rager, a church-planter, writes about how she and her husband came to the same conclusions as we did. She gives us some tips on WWWD - What We Will Do - before the situation arises.
A little before midnight, there was a knock at our door. An officer apologized for waking us and asked my husband if he was Justin Smith’s pastor.
‘Pastor’ was probably a bit of a stretch. We met Justin and his wife around a month before at our church plant’s block party. They had attended worship gatherings sporadically. Nevertheless, Barry confirmed he was Justin’s pastor. The officer said there had been a domestic dispute. Justin had been arrested for physically assaulting Karly. He nodded towards the cruiser as he said, "We’re releasing him, but he can’t go home to his wife. You’re the only contact he has in the city. Can we put him in your care for the night?"
Barry and I looked at each other.
How could we tell an officer, "No, he’ll have to go back to holding for the night?" What would it do to his budding faith to watch—from the back of a police car—Christians turn him away? But what about our four sleeping children upstairs? Would we endanger them or expose them to ugly scenes by accepting this ministry opportunity? And how in the world could we make this decision within a matter of seconds? Read more here
Our feelings can affect our physical health, often more than we realize. Here’s how to manage your emotions the way God intended.
We all know health isn’t just a physical thing. God created us as holistic beings with a spirit, body and soul. But how many of us truly connect the dots on a daily basis and realize the direct impact our emotions have on our physical health? When we aren’t feeling well, often our instinct is to relate the problem to a physical illness, what we’ve been eating and drinking, or whether we’ve been exercising and getting enough rest. But sometimes the deeper part of the problem—the root of it all—stems from negative emotions that we permit into our life.
So while you’re reading this article, I’m going to ask you to be honest with yourself about the kinds of thoughts and feelings you permit into your life. God wants you to feel strong and healthy. He also wants you around for the long haul. And for many of us, taking better care of ourselves emotionally needs to be just as important as how we care for our physical needs.
Seeing the Symptoms But Not the Problem...read more
Joyce Meyer is one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. A New York Times best-selling author, her books have helped millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ. Through Joyce Meyer Ministries, she teaches on many topics, with a particular focus on the mind, mouth, moods and attitudes. Joyce has authored nearly 100 books, including her latest, Trusting God Day by Day (FaithWords). For more information, visit joycemeyer.org. This blogpost was written for Charisma Magazine.
"You would think that with all the communications gadgets we have at our disposal, we’d be better at, well, communicating," says Anita Bruzzese, contributing author for Quickbase.com Blog.
Then why is it that colleagues show up at the wrong time for a meeting? Or we become increasingly frustrated when an exchange of a dozen emails with a teammate leaves us more confused than ever?
Although this blog post is written for the workplace, it could easily have been written for the church. We all need a little help sometimes in getting our point across, making ourselves heard, and/or being more confident when we speak.
Do you have room for improvement in your communication style? How could using some of the pointers below improve your communication with your family? People in your church? People you work with? What other areas of your life could improving your communication affect?
Last week we were asked, "Where are you going in 2017?" In keeping with this new year's theme, we have asked Jerry Harris to help us find our way. Rev. Harris, a big proponent of setting goals, gives us sound reasons why we should set goals, and practical, reasonable action steps to get those goals accomplished. It's with pleasure we welcome Rev. Harris to Refresh.
guest post by Jerry Harris
“He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.”
(Proverbs 12:11) NIV
This scripture tells us to “work our land.” What is our land? The writer was referring to the plowing and sowing of their land so they would have plenty to eat. They didn’t have a local grocery store to stop by and pick up some milk on the way home. They had to plant and plan so they would have food to live on. This was vital to their well-being and existence. If you didn’t plan ahead, you would be begging in harvest time.
“A sluggard does not plow in season; so, at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.”
(Proverbs 20:4) NIV
If we want to get ahead and stay ahead of the game of life, we must develop a “working our land” attitude. Since we are not farmers, what is “our land?” Remember that the land was vital to the farmer’s well-being and existence. What is vital to our well-being and existence?
If these things are vital to me then how do I prepare or “work” my land? There must be an intentional attempt to make my land better. Just hoping for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but desperation. Just praying for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but frustration...God won’t answer my prayer! He doesn’t care about me!
“Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12) KJV
The “number” means to weigh out, to allot, and to prepare. How do we do this? By examining each area of our life and setting goals for the future.
1. Why must we have goals?
Because it is just as difficult to reach a destination you do not have, as it is to come back from a place to which you have never been. In other words, you can’t hit a target you don’t have. A person without a goal is a ship without a rudder. He will drift and float. He will likely end up on the beach of despair, discouragement, frustration and defeat.
A goal is a faith statement! I can’t see it but I believe it!
2. Why don’t more people have goals?
a. Most people have never been convinced they are important.
b. They don’t know how to establish them.
c. They fear they won’t reach their goals and consequently, are embarrassed.
d. They don’t take time to set them.
I would rather attempt to do something great and fall short, than attempt to do nothing and succeed.
3. What are the characteristics of a good goal?
a. Will I be able to know when I’ve reached my goal?
b. With God’s help and a lot of effort on my part, is it within reach and within the time period I’ve set?
c. When I achieve this goal what will be the benefit to me or to others?
Our problem is not the lack of time, but the lack of direction (focus). Our problem is not the lack of time, but our failure to effectively use the time we have.
We must not confuse activity with accomplishment, and we must stop counting our hours and start making our hours count. Consider how Jesus lived His life.
He knew what he had to do and he did it!
“My food (well-being and existence) said Jesus,
is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work.”
(John 4:34) NIV
He knew He only had so much time to do it, so he did it!
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me.
Night is coming, when no one can work.”
(John 9:4) NIV
You’ve got to start sometime to give direction to your life.
Use the Adjust My Daily Life, Lord worksheet. Now is the time!
Rev. Jerry Harris is Director of Church Planting for the AG Southern MO District Council, and President of Inner City Ministries of St. Louis and Reach Missouri Network. He and his wife, Lisa, have 35 years of pastoral experience, leading churches in rural, metropolitan and city environments.
Yes, it’s already mid-January, but how exciting to think that God has some amazing possibilities lined up for each of us - yes, even for you. Do you believe that? You should, because God says so in His Word. Consider the words of Paul:
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:12-13)
Could it be that part of ‘working out your salvation’ includes setting goals to accomplish what the Spirit may already be speaking to your heart?
I've not always been good at writing down my goals. I've had to learn why I should set goals, how to set them, and how to reach them. More importantly, I've had to learn how to reset goals I may not have met and how to not let discouragement keep me from reaching the purpose God has designed for my life. Yes, that has happened more times than I would like to admit!
There's a lot of information to be found in books and online about goal-setting. Here is what I've found helpful in setting goals:
Yes, January is nearly over, but it’s never too late to seek God’s purposes for your life. Whether we are wives, mothers, teachers, bus drivers, or youth pastors, God has given to us purpose: unique, special, life-changing purpose. As you determine your purpose, consider your gifts and strengths. Ask yourself these questions:
What will accomplish good for the kingdom?
What areas do I need to adjust in my life - spiritually, relationally, physically, and socially?
I encourage you to give it a try. You might be surprised to see what happens!
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov. 27: 17).
In reflection on our many years in ministry, I am drawn to the truth of this proverb. I have seen it play out in my own life more times than I can remember.
We usually think of ministry as investing our lives through serving others, as we hopefully "sharpen" them through discipleship, worship and community. However, I have recently given some thought as to how often others have sharpened me in the past, when I didn't even realize it.
What does this proverb mean, exactly? Most commentators see it as a statement of how people affect, or influence, one another. The essential picture is this: two things of the same nature fashion each other in a way that benefits them both. The word "sharpen" is used...read more
Susie lives in Dallas, TX with her husband OS Hawkins. She is the author of From One Ministry Wife to Another: Honest Conversations on Connections in Ministry. She has 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren, keeping her life full of craziness and joy.
In the middle of a busy day, I found myself having a mental “conversation” in which I was telling off a member of our congregation. Can you relate? I was angry, defensive and offended over a comment he made. This member was bothered that our pastors were allowed to wolf down a meal at our Wednesday night fellowship supper without paying (before running on to complete a 16-hour day of ministry). He even tried to “Jesus” up his criticism by equating our pastors to the sons of Eli the Bible says cheated God’s people. It was eating me up. A situation that did not even concern me was rattling around in my brain, creating all kinds of unwholesome emotions and distracting me from what was my actual responsibility.
Imagine how costly a lifetime of allowing this kind of mess to accumulate and take root could be.
Over the course of a life devoted to ministry, there are bound to be more than a few perceived offenses. But I’ve learned that allowing them to build up in our hearts can render us bitter, paranoid and ineffective. In the middle of this moment of growing resentment, I was reminded of a proverb that spoke directly to my heart.
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
The inner part of us—not our eternal spirit, but our inner individuality of mind, will and emotions—can have a huge impact on both our physical and spiritual well being. Emotions are powerful. They are not sinful in and of themselves. They are merely a response to stimuli. But it’s never good to just let them run wild. This proverb reminds us that this three-fold inner world (mind, will and emotions) can be regulated. This allows us to be able to use our will to rule our emotions and not the other way around. It’s done by surrendering our will to the truth.
The problem is that we don’t always have the truth in file folder number one in our minds. Instead, we keep this relative, subjective, emotional information in the top drawer ready to be perused and mulled over all day, every day. These patterns of dwelling on the negative can become ingrained. The result is weakness, instability and loss of self-control. In other words, it either consumes us from within or propels us into an outburst. Both are counterproductive to our calling.
What is called for is a daily renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We need to recognize these mental patterns and immediately take them captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). We need to reload file folder number one with information that is true and worthy of our meditations (Philippians 4:8). In other words, take your mental focus off that one knuckle-headed remark, and set it firmly on the truth of God’s Word and what He is doing all around us.
This proverb speaks of “taking a city.” Plowing over a city or a person, even if it is just in your mind, is far inferior to ruling your spirit so that you remain Spirit-filled and accomplish what God has for you. Let’s be reminded of the spiritual discipline of ruling our spirits through renewal of our minds. It will make you more mighty than an army!
How do you fight to become slow to anger?
Where do you go to learn about being a minister's wife?
It is our desire here at Refresh to see that each woman has a positive experience in partnership with their husband in ministry.
Bloom wants to provide guidance, support, connection, and encouragement to wives new to ministry through a connection with a seasoned and trained minister's wife using a Connect group created specifically for you. We'll use books to guide us in our conversations about the challenges, issues, benefits, and rewards of being a minister's wife.
We believe when women are strengthen, our families and churches are strengthened, and the ministry of the gospel is strengthened.
Interested in joining a Bloom Group?
Let us hear from you. Next group starting April 2018.