Is It So Wrong to Want Rewards?
In December, a dear woman in our church handed me a tin of Christmas treats she'd made for our family, and as I received them, I felt tears immediately welling up in my eyes.
She didn't know and couldn't have known, but I had been in need of encouragement--even something as simple as a tin of cookies, something that expressed I'd been thought of and that I was appreciated
I'd actually been fighting against this desire for weeks, fighting against it because I felt it had crossed a line into craving approval and validation. Craving reward. Maybe even a little self-glory. The craving was strong in its temptation; my faith felt fragile and weak.
Is it so wrong to want reward? Sometimes I just want to know from God that what I'm doing for Him matters. Sometimes I want to see the fruit of my labor and get to rejoice at how the Lord is moving in and around me. But then sometimes a desire for reward is more sinister. I feel in my bones the lure of applause, money, worldly success, comfort, ease, and self-glory. All temporary, all things that might provide immediate gratification.
So in regard to encouragement, which is it: right or wrong?
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...
The Reality of Comparison
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.
The phrase, “Don’t let the disappointment in a few keep you from loving the many,” comes from a chapter in my book, 10 Things Every Minister’s Wife Needs to Know. In recent days, I’ve gone through a season of disappointment, and I’ve had to remind myself of my own words. And unfortunately, I am pretty sure I will find myself there again in the future. You may say, well, that’s just ministry life. But it’s not. It’s everyone’s life, regardless of the occupation of your husband.
As minister’s wives, we can be tempted to withdraw or retreat, become bitter, give up or be resentful of hurts. But when we do that, we end up lonely and isolated, and we miss the blessings of the “many” God has called us to serve and serve with. We sometimes determine in our hearts we will never allow ourselves to be put in that position again—we determine not to be vulnerable or transparent ever again. We tell ourselves it’s not worth the effort or the hurt. Unfortunately, that gets us nowhere in the eyes of others, or most importantly, with the Lord.
So how are we to respond when we feel that keen disappointment in others? In my recent season, I deliberately decided to respond exactly opposite of how I felt on the inside. Rather than choosing to withdraw (my natural inclination) and retreat, I chose to take advantage of an opportunity to honor and commend others.
Rather than focusing on my personal disappointment,..read more
Jeana Floyd is the author of An Uninvited Guest: One Woman’s Journey from Cancer to Hope and 10 Things Every Minister's Wife Needs to Know. She and her husband, Ronnie W. Floyd, have been married for 39 years. They have two sons and seven grandchildren. Jeana celebrated 26 years as a cancer survivor on January 15, 2016. She has ministered to countless cancer patients and their families these past 26 years. More from this author
Is Ministry Killing Your Marriage?
In our discussion this month about marriage in ministry, this week's blog post is one I'm suggesting that you share with your husband and have a discussion, just the two of you. The article says, "Ministry couples need to confront the tension between church and family by negotiating the specific challenges in the ministry environment." How do you as husband/wife and family respond to this strain of ministry? It's worth having a conversation about this subject now...better yet, make it an ongoing conversation, kind of like a health check up for your marriage in ministry.
A pastor once told us, "I was at a board meeting where we were examining potential elders. One candidate was asked, 'Are you willing to make sacrifices with your family for the sake of the church?' And it was a weird moment because I asked myself, What's the right answer to that question?"
Over the past seven years, we've gathered pastors and their spouses into peer cohorts, which met repeatedly in multiday retreats called Pastors Summits where we facilitated heartfelt discussions about the challenges of vocational ministry. During one of our summits, a participant shared the following story:
A few years ago, I asked my wife what it felt like to be married to me, after 20 years of marriage and 18 years of ministry together. I was optimistic of her positive response. She said, "I know that I would never divorce you. And I certainly would never kill you. However, I can't help but think the boys and I would be better off if you were not alive."
My response? I was ready to leave the ministry in order to save my marriage I went to my elders and told them what my wife had said. After some quiet moments, one of the elders finally said, "Now is not the time for you to leave the ministry. Now is the time for you to learn what the ministry is all about." With their support, my wife and I began extended counseling together. This has resulted in some pretty dramatic changes in the way I live life and do ministry.
The effects of ministry on marriage—and marriage on ministry—are rarely discussed, yet intimately connected. From the summit discussion with ministry couples, we identified two primary challenges facing marriage and family for those in the ministry. We will explore these two stressors and describe the most helpful responses and actions identified by the summit couples.
Stressor one: ministry as a lifestyle
Pastors can only dream of a nine-to-five job in which the whistle blows and the work stays behind as they head for home. One pastor stated emphatically, "Ministry is not a job; it's a lifestyle. Even when I'm home, I'm subject to the telephone and my inability to turn some of the church emotions off. I feel like I'm faking it with the kids much of the time."
Pastors rarely feel like they can step away from their ministry responsibilities...read more
"Is Ministry Killing Your Marriage? Pastors reflect on building a harmonious relationship between their ministries and families, " by Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman, and Donald C. Guthrie, Christianity Today: CT Pastors, April 2013.
The Help...Part 1
In Genesis 2, God says “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.” Were truer words ever spoken? Man desperately needs a helper, a woman who has the innate skills to create and manage their home, family and life. This is especially true in ministry.
I have a friend whose husband was in music ministry, serving with a pastor who was single. She told me once, rather wistfully, that while the pastor was a gifted communicator and leader, with a great heart, there was something missing – a wife! She noted how much a “helper” brought to a church family, how influential and enriching that role can be. One of my interests is researching the stories of women in church history, especially pastors wives. While there isn’t a plethora of information on these women, there is enough to get a true sense of their marriages, ministry and personal journeys. Catherine Boothe was the wife of William Boothe, founders of the Salvation Army. The Boothes were contemporaries of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon, he being the famous pastor of the Metropolitan Tablernacle in London. Other colleagues during that time were Hudson Taylor, George Muller and David Livingstone – powerful voices reflecting the missions heart of English Christians in the 19th century. There is quite a contrast between how Susannah and Catherine lived out their “helper” roles.
Catherine and William were committed to social work and evangelism with the impoverished working class in London’s East End. Catherine’s powerful speaking and leadership skills energized hundreds of Christians to take the gospel to the poor, working to establish stable families and communities. The woman had unbelievable drive and stamina, and the Boothes left one of Christianity’s most enduring legacies. On the other side of town was Susannah Spurgeon. Susannah was a quiet woman, with literary interests and skills. She was bedridden most of her adult life from problems resulting from the birth of twins. She established the Book Fund to purchase Spurgeon’s commentaries for rural pastors who could barely afford food for their families, much less study materials. Her compassion for these pastors led to this quiet but vital ministry.
One ministry was very public, the other was “off the radar screen”, but both were of inestimable value. Their stories illustrate the synergy of a couple, fully committed to God’s call, whose ministries were empowered by each one finding their unique path. Their voices still impact all of Christendom! This leads me to the obvious question: as a “helper”, do I embrace my own strengths and even weaknesses, determined to see opportunities for service? Or, do I excuse myself due to less than perfect circumstances? As a “helper” to our husbands, we not only strengthen our ministry, marriage and families, but our own voice to the generations of believers that come after us. In part 2 of this post we will look at the mystery and power of” synergy”!
Susie Hawkins 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. This blog was posted on November 13, 2014 for NAMB Flourish.
Let's Keep It Spicy!
I have now been married more than half of my life. I was married very young - too young. In fact, we told both of our children that they could not get married as young as we did. Let me just say, our marriage has not been perfect, but, rest assured, it has been an adventure - sometimes more adventure than what I signed up for.
Jim and I decided a long time ago that we were going to have fun in this life of marriage and ministry. We were going to protect our marriage, be friends, keep it spicy and still love each after the kids had moved out of the house.
I like to be practical, so I want to give you some practical things that will protect your marriage, keep the fun in your marriage, but best of all keep the spice in your marriage. Spice? You know what I mean. Keep the fun and sex in your marriage!
So here are some tried and true practices to keep your relationship fiery fresh!
1. Love and Respect
Wives submit to/honor your husbands, as you do to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:22, 25)
Men want and need respect.
Women want and need love.
Why is it in the Bible that men are commanded to love their wives but wives are never commanded to love their husbands
SanctuaryMinistryWives.com: "Let's Keep It Spicy" is ENTRY FOUR of our Marriage + Ministry series. To start at ENTRY ONE, click here.
Pam King is a lover of God, her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and her life's work in ministry. Alongside her husband, Jim, Pam has been in full-time ministry for more than 36 years, with 26 years spent in missionary evangelism to Ukraine and Israel. Pam's "no-nonsense" approach to life and ministry has made her a viable resource in teaching and speaking on a myriad of subjects, including a personal favorite of "Marriage and Family". The Kings are the founders of Awaking Hope and most recently added the task of lead pastors to their ministry plate as they currently pastor Victory in Austin, TX.
The Healthy Marriage Check Up
How's your marriage going? If you're like my husband and me, sometimes we get on a crazy cycle, a merry-go-round of good times, bad times, and just blah times...you get the picture, a very living organism. Being pastor and wife is a very unique dynamic in married life. It's almost like adding an extra dimension to being married and extending the atmosphere of that marriage into the church. All the more reason for us to take extra care in working to keep our ministry marriages healthy. For the next few weeks we're going to discuss marriage in ministry with the intent of encouraging you.
Here we go!
Marriage… what a wonderful, complicated thing. First, let me say I’m not a marriage expert but I’ve survived marriage and even thrived in marriage through seasons of amazing blessings and seasons of devastation. As wonderful as marriage is, it’s not always easy. I’ve learned some lessons the hard way and other lessons were just sweet love notes from heaven.
No matter where your marriage is today, it can flourish and be an example to others with God’s help. I didn’t say perfection. It may be as simple as changing your perspective! Growing up, I always admired couples that showed affection. Couples who held hands or men who opened car doors for their wives. This became my example of a healthy marriage. It was the romantic's view on marriage. I soon learned, after becoming an adult, that the people I deemed as healthy were some of the most unhealthy. Although holding hands was and is sweet, it doesn’t sustain you.
Ashley Simmons has been married to her wonderful husband, Tim, for 18 years. They have served in ministry together since the day they were married. Tim and Ashley have 2 beautiful children, Cole 14 and Kennedy 13. Tim serves as Executive Pastor at Life Fellowship Church in Olive Branch, MS and Ashley serves on staff at the Guest Services Director. Her hobbies include "having two teenagers! It is quite time consuming." Ashley loves to write, share her story and minister to women. Before coming to Life Fellowship, Tim and Ashley traveled and spoke on the restoration of marriages. The tour was called, For Love For Life. The enemy wants to destroy the family but they have seen God turn ashes in beauty! Read more from Ashley at www.ashleylsimmons.com. This post appeared on Bridgette Tomlin's Sanctuary Ministry Wives blog on 02/13/17.
We can get ourselves into a terrible shape if we don't watch it. It took a supportive husband, small steps of buying, encouragement from friends, and asking the Lord for help.
Liz Sarno recently wrote a blog post on this subject for Leading It and Loving It. She said, "I’ve gone on quite a few shopping expeditions, where instead of buying anything for myself I’ve spent my money on gifts for my family. I realized that I would pick out some things I liked, then systematically put them all back and replace them with things for my husband and kids. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but after a few trips where I went home with nothing for myself I realized something. For a few months I had decided that I didn’t need anything and it was more important to be a blessing to my family, so I talked myself out of doing something for me. It is better to give than to receive, this is true, but it’s also ok to take care of ourselves. While being a blessing to my family is actually a good thing, I had to remember that it’s important to treat myself every once in awhile, too...It’s a common trap for women in general to put everyone and everything above ourselves, especially for us mommas, let alone women in ministry who have the added pressure we put on ourselves to take care of everyone in our lives first."
I know I'm never going to get that Gal Friday, so what about self-management? You mean it's not enough to manage my kids, my husband, my home, the church? I need to manage myself, too? Yes, ma'am. Tammy also says that focusing on self-management leads to better management of all other areas in our lives. She has some ideas to help us get a grip and bring some order to our lives...read more
Tammy and her husband, Jason, are senior pastors at The Salvation Army Hope Community Church located just east of Toronto, ON in Canada. We have served in pastoral and non-profit leadership roles for 15 years. We have two children, Bria and Blaise.
She is passionate about encouraging women in leadership. Nothing makes me happier than a good thrift shop and a DIY project. I also enjoy connecting with others through social media and I have the privilege of being part of the Leading and Loving It team by managing our Pinterest and Twitter accounts.
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.