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Pastors' Wives Retreat

Pastors' Wives Resource site provided by the Sunday School Discipleship Ministries International, a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene. We want to hear about your experiences, the lessons you’ve learned and how God’s Word and prayer supported and sustained you in the joys and challenges of parsonage life.

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Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit. Ps 147:5

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We want to hear about your experiences, the lessons you’ve learned and how God’s Word and prayer supported and sustained you in the joys and challenges of parsonage life.

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 Subject :Betrayal.. 28-07-2009 14:01:15 
Joined: 18-05-2009 10:48:51
Posts: 4
My wife and I have been full-time in Church of the Nazarene pastoral ministry since 1990. We are in only our third pastorate and have every good reason from the Lord to expect that we shall stay another 10-15 years, and retire here.
We bring to our church openness, willingness, and a practice of befriending the persons of our church; especially those lay leaders who serve on the Church Board and those whose labors clearly show their love for Jesus and His Church.  And we do things together, e.g., go out to eat, have folks to our parsonage, send e-mails and TXT msgs regularly, remember their birthdays with notes and small gifts, and stuff like that.
It has been nice. But just recently, some of those very persons whom we have loved and befriended turned on us, something like Judas Iscariot turned on Jesus! And it has been difficult in recent days to survive the emotional hurt.
What we decided is that we are going to have to do something different, and we wonder what you think about this.
1. Yes, we are still going to be friends with the lay persons at church, and very friendly indeed; BUT, but, but,
2. No, we are not going to take them into "our confidences" as intimate friends do; AND, and, and,
3. We are going to seek out other pastor-couples, (and probably NOT Nazarene parsonage couples), to share our time, and meals, and lives with…instead of fellowshipping 100% with our church folk.
Have you, (i.e., other pastor-couples), discovered that you must seek the friendship-fellowship of others outside of your church?
A Pastor and Wife
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 Subject :Re:Betrayal.. 28-07-2009 14:02:18 
Joined: 18-05-2009 10:48:51
Posts: 4

Dear Pastor and Wife,

Betrayal is one of the most devastating offenses that can be experienced by a person in ministry.  It is probably the reason we remember so vividly the name of Judas, to whom you refer.  It seems so hurtful an issue that often it marks the point at which a ministerial family begins to withdraw from its congregation and lives aloof.  I am glad to see that you have not chosen that path.
 Here are some of my thoughts.
 1. It is commendable that you are going to remain as friends with the members of your congregation.  It would be wise to be as friendly to your betrayers as you have always been, but as you mention refrain from confidences.  Your congregation is probably full of wonderful people, the vast majority of whom are loving and very rarely capable of such betrayals. Keep them in your heart.  Cherish them even though they may not be on your list of intimates.
 2. I am certain that very few ministry families have escaped an experience much like yours and have learned, like you, that many things are best unspoken in the company of congregants even the most caring ones.  There is a “… time to be silent and a time to speak.” Eccles. 3:7.  It seems that confidential information from the pastor carries an elevated value and makes the recipient of such information especially vulnerable to the temptation to share it or use it and thereby appear to achieve some increased status.
 3. Your desire to seek fellowship with clergy couples of other churches and denominations is very common.  In the survey I conducted recently, many, many of the respondents had located dear friends in other pastoring couples; several indicated that those couples were from other denominations.  My husband and I share a close bond with a retired pastor and his wife in our town.  They happen to be Nazarene, but in another town that friendship was held by an Episcopal minister and his wife.   Maybe you could begin a support group for local pastors and wives.  My most trusted confidant is my godly sister who lives a thousand miles from me, knows virtually no one in my church and is a good listener.

Dr. Diane Langberg, licensed psychologist in her book Counsel for Pastors’ Wives suggests three guidelines for deciding whether openness is appropriate.  These may be relevant to your situation, but if not they will be helpful to others.
1. “First ask whether your openness will help others to see that God never allows us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear.”  This can be a source of encouragement to struggling Christians who feel that other Christians do not experience what they are going through.  The purpose of such openness is not to make us feel better or to satisfy someone’s curiosity, but to help us grow in grace.
2. Second let Eph. 4:29 guide your conversation.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Does this sharing of my struggle act as a catalyst for growth?
3. Ask, “Will what I say glorify God?”  Transparency is good only if it elevates Christ as Lord.

Some helpful scripture:
Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall make your paths straight (show you when to zip your lip).
Col. 4:6 Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer people.
Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 

Blessing to you both,

Mrs. Breese

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