WHAT TO SAY WEDNESDAY – ON TUESDAY

(I usually do first drafts of my posts at the beginning of the week. When I went to put Tuesday’s post up – I found it had disappeared. So, I’m putting Wednesday’s post on Tuesday and I’ll do another Wednesday one for Wednesday – tomorrow night – on Tuesday. ¬†ūüôā ¬†)

 

Sometimes things get said to you simply BECAUSE you’re the pastor’s wife.

Young church lady is upset because her daughter got picked on in Sunday school and instead of going to the teacher about it – she decides to complain to you.

“I don’t know WHY you have that lady teaching! She doesn’t have control of the class and my daughter would much rather be home watching cartoons that being in that chaos.” (As if you somehow, personally picked out ALL the Sunday school teachers and particularly chose this one to annoy the young church lady’s daughter.)

Again – smile that innocent pastor’s wife smile – and sweetly say, “Have you talked to the teacher about what happened? I’m sure you could work it out.”

Unless the problem is SERIOUSLY serious, don’t get involved – and don’t bother your husband about it either.

Gently direct the complainer back to the teacher and encourage her to KINDLY mediate. (Like maybe SHE could be co-teacher and help get control.)

Defending either the teacher or the mother won’t get you anywhere and will require you to take sides – so do what you can to refrain from comment. Of course, if something can’t be worked out, someone may need to step in. Is there a Children’s Ministry Director or SS superintendent? Can they help?

In other words, when there’s a conflict between two people (and the situation has nothing to do with you), don’t get involved, but lead them to the people who can help them with a solution.

MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATOR – MAKE IT COUNT

I don’t know where you are in your church situation, but sometimes as pastors and pastor’s wives, we have a tendency to think that things will be better at some future date …

… when we move to our new church

… when the educational wing gets done

… when so and so finally quits and leaves to annoy another church

… when we get all the holiday stuff out of the way¬†

 

The truth is – we need to enjoy and take advantage of the now. Time speeds by and soon all those “in the future” dreams are no longer possible.

The Psalmist wrote: As for man, his days are like grass, 

       he flourishes like a flower of the field.

Recently I heard someone say that the best advice he had ever been given was, “This ain’t gonna last forever, how can you make it count NOW.” OK, so he had a grammar problem – but the point is valuable.

Look around at the ministry situation you’re in RIGHT NOW. ¬†Ask the Lord to give you the wisdom to use every opportunity that comes your way.

FUN FRIDAY FOR FAMOUS PEOPLE

What do you do if someone famous comes to your church? (I figured with all the Cub excitement this week – it would be a good time to talk about this.)

I don’t mean – comes to your church to speak, but really COMES to your church, as in attends the services. Sometimes this happens because there ARE many famous Christians out there.

P. Regan was a Chicago Cub pitcher back in the late 60s and since our church was in the Chicago suburbs, he, his wife and two children regularly attended during the summer months. When Cubs had afternoon games, he would come to church and leave before the closing song – to get down to Chicago on time. Some of the other Cubs also attended, but none so regularly as Phil. (He had been raised in a Bible-believing church in Michigan.)

Dad (pastor) made a rule that no one could treat him any differently from anyone else (a difficult thing to do in a church full of Cub fans). No one could ask for tickets to a game or autographs. Dad promised that there would be a special Sunday night when he interviewed Phil and people could ask for autographs – otherwise – they were just another family.

Here is my Dad interviewing Phil on that special Sunday night.

CRITICISM – UNFAIR CRITICISM

Usually I randomly post a picture I’ve taken – after all, I need to have somewhere to display them. Most of the time, however, the pictures have nothing to do with the post. However, I think this picture is appropriate when talking about the subject of criticism. Everything is going smoothly — and then someone “stings” with nasty words.

Sometimes people criticize SO much and about such SILLY things – no one pays any attention to them. (Kind of like “crying wolf.”)¬†

I had a man tell me how upset he was (as if I couldn’t tell), because some people in the church weren’t sitting in their usual spot. Because they moved to the fourth row, someone else moved to the fifth – and eventually he couldn’t sit in the seat he preferred.

Sometimes people are so evil-spirited, that everything gets out of hand. While I was down in Nashville last week, I heard about a church (and looked it up on the Web to verify) that was actually going to court about the pastor’s daughter’s wedding. ¬†Yes, seriously. This has become a major issue that has hit the front page of the local newspaper.

As closely as I can tell, the story goes like that. The pastor’s daughter was getting married. They invited everyone to the ceremony and then planned on having a smaller family/friend reception. The board said everyone would like to be involved and they asked that there also be a church reception which everyone could attend. Because we’re talking a mega church here, the pastor kind of hesitated, thinking about the expense.

“No problem,” said the board. “The church would pay for the food.”

“OK, fine.”

So the daughter got married and everyone was invited to a church reception and then they went off to their personal family/friend reception.

And they lived happily ever after.

Until 80 members of the church decided to sue the pastor/church for stealing church money “because we would like to invite everyone to our child’s reception, too.” ¬†One deacon felt so bad about it all, that he paid for it out of his own pocket – but the suit continues.

Now, THERE’S a good testimony.

And think about the good start they’ve given these kids on their marriage? Would this not bring back happy memories?

Just like the verse in the Monday Morning Motivator – we need to focus on the message of Christ and get off each other’s case.

Yes, you will deal with unreasonable people …

(And now, that I think about it. I know my parents paid for the cake and some other stuff, but I think the church also took care of some of the reception expenses for our wedding. I think the ladies made sandwiches and salads and stuff.  So, thanks church for being willing to do that for us and NOT involving the law.)

 

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WHAT TO SAY WEDNESDAY – CRITICISM

Question: What do you say when you’re there and someone criticizes your husband?¬†

If the answer was something tangible; something I could easily prove, I would quickly come to his defense. And usually these were the kind of criticisms I would hear. People usually (I know, I know, there are exceptions) don’t tear down a husband in front of his wife – at least, fortunately, not the people I knew.

For instance, if I heard a person say, “Pastor never preaches out of the gospels.” I would say, “He just finished a 12-week series on Luke and last spring he did one on John.”

Or, if someone said, “I was visiting elderly Mrs. ¬†Smith yesterday and she said Pastor hasn’t been over there for months.” I would say, “Well, actually he was there on Monday and he was there last Monday, too. Ask Bob Smith. He was with him both times.”

But if someone truly doesn’t like your husband and uses you as a sounding board, I would suggest you simply say, “I don’t want to be part of this conversation,” and walk away.

Yes, the person might get upset at you for not hearing her out, but supporting your husband is more important than listening to the person’s anger. Besides, the person is already upset at your husband, so she’s probably upset at you, too. If she isn’t, her motive is probably to get you to take sides against your husband – so that’s a double-important reason to get out of there.¬†

Why not tell her what you really think about her and what she’s saying? Don’t take the chance of getting into an argument. You won’t accomplish anything.¬†¬†I was very defensive of my husband (as I think most wives are) and know that anything I said in such a situation wouldn’t be rational. ¬†Because the other person is already making irrational statements, right? ūüôā Just leave it alone. As hard as it.

If I could see whatever the person is upset about could boil over into the mindsets of others, I would pass it along to my husband. I wouldn’t go into detail, but I would give a general summary of the conversation such as “Mrs. Jones certainly doesn’t like the music we’ve been having lately.” ¬†Usually, the pastors I was related to – would set up a time to talk with the person and discuss the problem.

These are tough situations and no one likes to be in them. Remember Paul’s words that it’s a small thing if other men judge him. Our focus should be on the Lord. Is this what He would want us to do? That’s our ultimate goal.

Easier said than done, right?

A SMALL THING …

QUESTION: What should I say when someone criticizes my husband? Do I have a right to “speak my piece”?

Well, no.

I’ve never quite been able to figure out why people feel they can say things to pastors in a way that they wouldn’t dare talk to anyone else. Never, ever would I have the courage to go up to someone and tell them I didn’t like what they’re wearing, doing or saying. Seriously.

Do people think pastors have no feelings? Do they think pastors are immune from being hurt? Do they think pastors have an extra shield that protects them from cruel criticisms?

I don’t get it.¬†

However, this is the way people think (or DON’T think) and if you’re in the ministry, you’ve already found this out for yourself.¬†

Let’s talk about different types of criticism.¬†

Paul wrote in Corinthians: I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

We might know that, but it’s difficult to live it.

One type of criticism pastors get is simply mind-boggling and there’s really no response.

Take for instance the CTL. She liked it hot in the auditorium and if it wasn’t hot enough for her, she let everyone else know about it. Didn’t matter that others had sweat pouring down their faces and were peeling off layers of clothes during the sermon – she wanted it HOT!

Hot auditoriums are particularly hard on pastors because speaking uses up a lot of energy and so pastors are usually warmer than anyone else. 

So, one very-warm-auditorium Sunday, Ken said something about being so hot and asked if the air could be turned up (or down, depending on your perspective) to get it cooler.

Afterwards CTL came up and explained to him that he would be a lot more comfortable if he’d quit wearing undershirts. (This was said in a mean-spirited way.)

This statement has puzzled my PW brain for a long time. Where does some lady get the audacity necessary to tell my husband what to wear under his clothes? Seriously? I wouldn’t have thought or dared to go up to her husband and say it. (Nor would I even want to.)

Ken didn’t quit wearing undershirts and sometimes the church was hot and sometimes the church was cold.

The point is, you just shake your head and move on. Arguing with the CTL about undershirts was not a debate that would accomplish anything.

(More on criticism tomorrow.)

MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATOR – LOOKING UP

Colossians 3:1 РSet your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 

The thing about being a pastor’s wife is you’re always busy – and sometimes you’re busiest when everyone else is relaxing – like holidays or weekends. ¬†

Four-thirty on a December Sunday afternoon in Racine, we were sitting around the kitchen table at church РKen, me, our kids and some friends/church people Рeating sandwiches and leftover cookies from the afternoon preschool Christmas program. All the three and four-year olds had looked appropriately cute and sang their songs in adorable voices.  Now, after stuffing themselves with cookies and punch the children were on their way home with their camera-toting parents.

But we still had work to do. We had one and a half hours to rearrange the platform and get ready for the regular Sunday School Christmas program.

As we were eating, a couple of the men went to get the bags of treats which we planned to give to the kids AFTER the program. The youth group had packed the bags a couple weeks before and we were relieved that at least THAT job was done. 

Well, actually – not so much done.

Someone had made the mistake of putting the smaller packed bags in large garbage bags and tightly tying them shut. Did I say that they put an orange in each child’s bag? Did I remind you that fruit wrapped in a plastic bag and put in an airless closet rots? Did I tell you that rotten fruit leaks all over everything else in the bag? ¬†

The ladies dumped all the bags out on the table – rescuing every last piece of candy we could possibly rescue. The men went to “borrow” every last edible item from the Awana share store. ¬†Someone found some bags in a cupboard and quickly we repacked as best we could.

Our own two teens were to be Joseph and Mary in the program that night. (OK, here’s a Christmas program hint – have siblings or cousins be Joseph and Mary to eliminate any teasing – just works out better.) ¬†A mom had volunteered her baby.

Halfway through the program, they were to go up front, but said baby decided he did NOT want to participate. He screamed and kicked and would have nothing to do with our daughter. So, I did the next best thing, I grabbed a baby from a visiting couple, put him in my daughter’s arms and sent her down the asile.¬†¬†¬†(Well, they WERE visiting, but we did KNOW them – it’s not like we grabbed a STRANGER’S baby. They were fine with us taking their child.) ¬†Talk about collapsing when we got home.

I know you all have had similar experiences. 

Unfortunately, sometimes days like that get to us, don’t they?

That’s why Paul reminds us to look up and not focus on earthly things. Sure we’re in the middle of all the annoying, time-taking life things and we need to deal with them – but in the process, we can’t forget why we’re in the ministry in the first place. The point is not that the bags were packed in perfect order, but that we were able to share the gospel message with our visitors.

Keeping our eyes on the Lord is a continual challenge, but keeping our eyes on the Lord is the wise thing to do.

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And this week – When your husband is criticized …

Debi, thanks for the recipe. I plan to use it on a Fun Friday.