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The Advocate Newsletter
Spring 2014

Loving Your Pastor's Family 

 

The Pastors Advocate is a program organized by the ERA to provide encouragement, prayer, and support for our Pastors from inside the congregation.  Many of our Pastors 

have had good things to say about the program and how it has made some of their members aware of the issues and demands facing ministers today.  Many outside our ranks, like Gordon MacDonald, have heard about it and have said that it is a great idea and incredibly needed today.  If you are a pastor receiving this and you have not approached someone in your congregation to serve as an advocate for you, please consider doing that today.

 

In this quarter's Newsletter we are exploring the issue of the health of the Pastor's Family. Many statistics indicate that the Pastor's family struggles as much as Pastors do.   This

is unfortunate and we hope that our churches will do all they can to love on  the Pastoral Family that God has supplied them with.


Advocating for the Pastor's  Family 
By Greg Twitchell

 

"I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from  God, one of one kind to one of another.  To the unmarried and the widows, I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.  But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn with passion."  I Cor. 7:7-9

 

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 that he wishes that every minister of the gospel could be 

single as he is, but he recognizes that it is better for those who do not have the

gift of abstinence to marry. Once married, this family should be cared for and loved by the church just as the Pastor is.

 

Quite often, the Pastor is the one who gets the attention. He deserves attention and recognition for the work he does, but the role of a Pastors wife can be challenging as well. Some feel that they live in a glass bubble where everyone in the church and community are constantly watching them. They have to always be happy and concerned about everyone else.  They need to look a certain way, act a certain way, and raise model children.   These may be misperceptions, but whether stated or not, they can create pressure on a family that others don't necessarily have to deal with.

 

Have you ever thought about what expectations, stated or not, are placed on your Pastors' wife?  To be on time, looking her best every Sunday, sitting down front, or at the piano, or in a Sunday School classroom? Does she have to be  at  her  husbands  side  every  time  the church doors are open, always with a smile? Is she expected to be a super mom, or can she have bad days, personal struggles, and prayer requests just like everyone else?

 

What about the Pastors' children? How come PK's get such a bad rap? Is it because they deserve it, or is it because they are constantly being held to a higher standard?  Kids  are kids. They will cry, misbehave, go through rebellious phases and may or may not choose to walk with the Lord into adult hood. I know many Pastors who grieve and struggle and experience incredible heart ache over the choices of their grown children.   Much of it is a natural desire to see their kids in a right relationship with Jesus.  But I  am  guessing that some small part of it may also be the concern that they have failed and they are the Pastor. What will this mean for my ministry? What will people think of our parenting, and here we have been giving parenting  advice and messages for all these years. And what about the passage that says,  "He  must manage  his  own  household  well,  with  all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?" 1 Tim. 3:4-5 How much of this emotional and spiritual weight affects your Pastor's life and ministry? Does it cause them to think twice before preaching the whole word of God?

 

Family is an incredible blessing. Having a companion to share life with, to be a help meet to you and to have the joys of family time. Family can also be a huge responsibility as Paul understood.  Paul was free to go wherever the Holy Spirit directed him.  He could preach all night if he wanted to without worrying about grumpy children. But for most of us in ministry, our first and greatest ministry is to our family. This often means balancing ministry and family obligations. It also means that the church, who will be greatly blessed by the Pastors family, also has a responsibility to them. What can your church do to ensure that they can be real, honest, fallible, tired, and human at times. Assure them that you will love them no matter what. Show them appreciation on a regular basis for all their sacrifice, service, and extra ministry. When a Pastor feels that his family is loved and appreciated by his congregation it is encouraging and it makes those times when extra demands are placed on him, less of a sacrifice. Ensuring that your Pastor has a happy home and family will be a blessing that is returned many times over!

 

 

 

 


twitchell family
A Pastor's Wife Perspective
By Missie Twitchell


When Greg and I started talking about getting married, he was thinking he would take over the Pittston Farm for his father. As it got closer to our wedding, we found out there was a youth pastor position open where Greg grew up. We felt the Lord calling us to apply for that position.

 

For seven years, I was the youth pastors' wife. I didn't feel like a pastors' wife because my husband was just the youth pastor, not a "real" pastor. I'm not sure where that attitude or notion came from, but it was what I felt.

 

When the Lord called us into a different ministry, where Greg would be the sole pastor of a church, I got nervous. I couldn't play the piano or organ, I didn't have enough Bible knowledge, I wasn't a sweet gentle spirit, and I had children that were human and not angels. What would the church's expectations of me be?

 

Thankfully, the Lord called us to a church that just wanted me to be me. I participated in the programs that I felt called to, not everything that someone else wouldn't do. I didn't know what being a pastors' wife would entail, but it was a blessing to me.

 

There were still times when I felt lonely. No matter how understanding the church is, there is still things about your life you can't reveal to others. Having a close friend is hard because you have to let them in and see that you are human. A pastors' wife can't complain about situations with her husband because it will affect his reputation with the church, even though every wife goes through those same situations. My children were not perfect, and they still aren't, but I felt they had to be. They were role models for the other children in the church, so they had to make sure they behaved accordingly.

 

There is no greater blessing than being where the Lord wants you to be. Being able to participate in the good works the Lord is doing is beyond compare. However, it is a completely different experience for the pastors' wife and her family. 







Clergy - Family Care (1)

The role of the congregation in encouraging and supporting a healthy family life.

Committed to reflecting the love of Christ for all people, including the pastor and pastor's family and knowing that pastors are most effective when family life is strong and wholesome, your congregation will be eager to encourage and support a healthy family life for the pastor. The following is offered in the hope that awareness and sensitivity to clergy family issues will be enhanced and that you will prayerfully seek ways to support your pastor as she or he attends to life at home.

 

"As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience...Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony...Whatever you do, in work or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him." Colossians 3:12, 14, 17

 

"Contribute to the needs of the saints..." Romans 12:13a

  • Encourage your pastor to plan and take vacation time as well as weekly days off.
  • Provide occasional three-day mid-week "weekends."
  • Plan for a Sabbatical
  • Establish a trained Pastoral Relations Committee that meets regularly to encourage good     communication about compensation and fringe benefits.
  • Be sensitive to the dynamics of parsonage living (establish mutually agreed-upon          responsibilities and boundaries).
  • Respect the privacy of the pastor's family and home.
  • Provide time and possibly money for the pastor for special outings or retreats for family times.
  • Recognize birthdays and anniversaries and allow your pastor to miss meetings for these occasions.
  • Pay attention and show hospitality to family members from out of town.
  • Pay expenses for spouse to attend region events and attend to the needs of children.
  • Provide family membership in a health club.
  • Give a certificate for 12 family movies per year.
  • Look carefully at expectations placed on the family.
  • Encourage individuals to express appreciation to the family.
  • Write cards and notes.
  • Keep scrapbook of activities of pastor and family's tenure.
  • Provide meals and necessities in times of grief, sickness and special need.
  • Show respect for pastor's family time.
  • Be aware of the grief experienced by the pastor and family in times of death of close church member (the church grieves and so does the pastor, but the pastor is often busy counseling others in times of grief).
  • Be aware of the family dynamics and needs of single pastors, blended families, pastors caring for family   members   with   special   needs,   such   as   elder   parents, mentally/physically challenged children.

No two families are alike. Your pastor's family is unique and your sensitivity will both reflect the love of Christ for all and enhance his or her ability to serve our Lord through your congregation.

 

1 American Baptist Conference Article found at: www.abc--dakotas.org



Vacation Spots

Recommended vacation spots for Pastors  (Contact the Eastern Regional Office for details and availability)

  • Somerville Suite at Meetinghouse Village, Kittery, ME
  • Oasis Cottage at Alton Bay, NH
  • Ministers House at Dowling Park, FL
  • The Primrose Inn, Bar Harbor, ME


Recommended Reading

NEW BOOK BY Rev. Dr. David Alves

 

Have you noticed the toll modern ministry is taking on our pastors? Pastoral fatigue and burnout  cost  the  church  more than just money; it costs lives, drying up the pastoral pool. More pastors and church leaders leave ministry today than in the history of the Christian Church. And I almost became a statistic.

 

Pastors are in big trouble but have few resources to help. More and more has been written about sabbaticals, yet few comprehensive, but simple, guidebooks are available to assist a pastor to initiate and maximize the gift of his or her pastoral sabbatical. This primer is designed to take a pastor through the sabbatical from conception to conclusion. This book contains more than was available to me when I  took  both  my  first  and second sabbaticals. Though not exhaustive, the contents should accomplish the purpose of a primer on spiritual sabbaticals.

 

"What a wise and winsome invitation to the spiritual practice of sabbatical! But there's more-once you've said yes to the invitation, you will also find a road map for planning and then taking the journey into this oft-unexplored terrain. This is a most helpful offering!"

 

--Dr. Ruth Haley Barton, Founder, Transforming Center,

author of Invitation to Solitude and Silence and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

 

"If every beginning minister were given a  start-up  kit  when  they  began, David Alves' book, would be an essential. It contains the indispensable fundamentals for a long and  fruitful  ministry.  Providing  step-by-step guidance, this book could save many  from  premature  erosion  that  takes place beneath the surface in ministry. I highly recommend this primer for every new and veteran minister who cares about his or her future vitality!"

 

--Dr. Wayne Cordeiro, author of Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion and Senior Pastor of New Hope, Oahu


The Advocate Newsletter is published as a ministry of the Eastern Regional Association of the Advent Christian General Conference.

 

Gregory Twitchell, Superintendent,   gtwitchell@aceasternregion.org

Carolyn Schaeffner, Administrative Secretary, cschaeffner@aceasternregion.org

 

www.aceasternregion.org 

 

 

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