When you think about your pastor and his/her family, do images of the perfect television family come to mind? Do you imagine each morning begins with joyful praise and family devotions before mom serves up a nutritious breakfast around the farm-style table? The perfectly groomed kids then happily pile into the minivan carrying their lunches (GMO-free, of course) and backpacks neatly filled with completed homework assignments. Dad drives off in his own car after kissing each child on the cheek and saying a prayer over them.
Now imagine your crazy mornings. Imagine conversations around your dinner table. Imagine how you feel when your husband has a busy week with few nights home before the kids are in bed. Imagine days when the laundry is piled up to the ceiling, the washing machine is broken, and Bank of America just let you know your account is overdrawn.
Yeah, the pastor’s family is more like that. Truth.
One of the best ways to bless your pastor and his/her family is to take them off the pedestal. They are human. He may have differing political views. She may post something on Facebook that is funny to her, but offensive to you. He may have made the tragic mistake of ordering the garlic lovers pizza before prayer meeting. She may be unaware that the baby spit up down her back and the toddler wiped his nose on her sleeve. Their kids are not role models, they’re just kids.
Don’t get me wrong, answering the call to ministry is a serious thing and there is every expectation of leading as an example. There is every expectation of integrity, honesty, godly character, and self-control. Ministry couples, however, aren’t the only ones expected to live lives worthy of the name of Christ. There is no imaginary line where ministry families live on one side and laymen live on the other. Sorry to break the news to you.
Your pastor will inspire you, challenge you, and occasionally offend you. That’s reality. Your pastor’s spouse may meet all of your expectations or none of them. If the latter is true, then you may have unrealistic expectations and need to readjust your thinking. Your pastor’s kids will be sweet and funny and naughty and nice and rude and naughty, oh, I already said that (sorry, just thinking about my own son). In short, the pastor and his/her family will be just like your family. Regular people just trying their best to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind and to love their neighbor (meaning you and me) as themselves. And, let me tell you from experience, that’s not always an easy task.
*I recognize that there are many women pastors and that all posts don’t apply equally to men and women in ministry. I try to be gender neutral and when the use of he/she or him/her is too cumbersome we default to the masculine pronoun. The reverse is true for referring to the pastor’s spouse. I hope that you can read past these masculine and feminine pronouns to the spirit behind each post —- creative ways to be a blessing to those who serve us…..and their spouses.