Final M2M Survey

I can hardly believe I’m about to type these next few words:

I am officially working on the final chapter of the Married to the Ministry book!

In honor of my friend Missy, imagine me doing the Cabbage Patch dance.

Or don’t. It may be best if you don’t.

Because really I want you to save your mental imagery for when I’m doing Beyonce’s Booty Shake after the entire manuscript is turned in.

Alright, enough with all the dancin‘. Baptists aren’t supposed to shimmy and shake and above all, I want to preserve the reputation of the SBC.

You’re welcome, Dr. Hunt. (I adore you by the way. Excellent choice we made this year.)

Okay, okay, okay. Where was I?

Oh yes! Before I ask the very last question I have for you in this series of surveys, I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart who have taken the time to share your insights with me. I know when you are blog-hopping that it takes effort to linger a while to type out answers to comprehensive questions so the fact that you have honored me with your responses means more than I can ever convey to you. Many of your statements have been used as quotes in a “Round Table” feature in each chapter because I felt it was important for ministry wives to know how women just like them felt about the different topics. The M2M Blogroll will also be listed in the resource section of the book so readers will be able to connect with all of you as a source of friendship and encouragement.

The chapter I am working on is the final one of the book and is purposed to speak to the love relationship between minister’s and their parishioners. I’m convinced ministers and churches today are much too quick to severe the bond between pastor and flock when there is a hint of fatigue or conflict. 1 Peter 4:8 tells us, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” It’s amazing what we can work through together if we first remember our common bond of Christian, brotherly (and sisterly) love.

So, for the last question I am asking for EVERY READER TO ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.

Ministry Wives:

1. Do you genuinely feel loved by your congregation? Speak one thing to lay people about how they already do or can moreso demonstrate their love towards you.

Lay People:

1. Do you genuinely feel loved by your ministers and their wives? Speak one thing to their families on how they already do or can moreso demonstrate love towards you.

Come on, y’all. I need an enormous response here! Thank you again for all your help. Please pray I’ll get this thing put to rest before the Fiesta next week!

Blessings on You!

Survey: When It’s Time To Say Goodbye

Hello, my sistahs!

As of today, August 1st, I officially have *deep breath* ONE MONTH to complete the Married to the Ministry book manuscript. I have two chapters left to write and if I work day and night, I might just get this thing finished. This would be one of the reasons I’ve not been writing here regularly. I hope you are forgiving me in advance. I just want you to know how I sincerely appreciate your visits and to apologize for not coming to see you like I so desperately want. The problem is, YOU GIRLS SUCK ME IN with your funny, your wisdom, your teaching, your links..You name it. Once I get started, I just can’t stop and that’s not a good thing when the deadline gun is cocked and loaded. Also, I have several requests to be added to the M2M Blogroll. I’ll be updating that this week in case you are wondering why your name is not yet appearing. I’m just behind, people! :)

If you are looking for a reason to pray a little longer and harder for the month of August, I’d be delighted if you’d call my name out to God. That he would give me focus and clarity of thought. That He’d tell me what He wants you girls to know and that it would be straight from His heart to yours. That’s my only desire – to see Him glorified and you encouraged as you pour your lives out to serve Him.

Okay, let’s talk about our next Survey. Today I’d love to know your thoughts on moving.

Ministry Wives:

1. How often have you moved in your ministry? Does your denomination ask you to move involuntarily at times?

2. Have you had any very difficult ministry moves?

3. How do you prepare your children (if applicable)?

4. Do you have tips for ministry wives in getting settled in a new place or saying goodbye to an old one?

5. Does is bother you if you are compared, positively or negatively, to previous pastor’s wives?

Laypeople:

1. What is the typical reason pastors leave your church?

2. Do you find yourself working harder within the Body during his ‘honeymoon’ period?

3. Do you maintain a relationship with ex-minister families?

As always, these questions are just discussion starters. Feel free to jump in with any of your thoughts on the topic.

Again, I thank you for your insight. You’ve no idea how much your comments have helped shaped the content of this book and helped me to make certain the issues you are facing are addressed. I love you dearly!

Okay to Say No? Part Deux

Thank you so much for your insight in Part One of this discussion. You’ve all confirmed a lot of my ideas and brought up some interesting new ones. By all means, keep them coming!

Let me share a couple of my own thoughts on this topic.

The point of the chapter I’m writing will be focused on keeping ourselves from having to make these hard decisions in the first place. Personally, there have been many ‘jobs’ within the church I’ve taken on because I felt, wrongly, that a failed ministry would reflect on our effectiveness as leaders. I’ve also started new activities that were true needs but I – wrongly again – considered myself a ‘ministry planter’ and assumed someone else would catch the vision and come take it over once I got it established. (I loved the quote by Adrian Rogers, “A need does not constitute a call.” Good one, Smelling Coffee!) Any number of motivations can leave us in the complicated predicament of laying aside something good to make room to operate within our true giftedness.
Unfortunately, many of us are not in the position for a do-over so we are left wondering how to deal with the the mess we are in.

As a woman in servant leadership, in many ways I agree with Sarah (Life in the Parsonage). In my opinion when the life of a ministry is at stake we should ask: “What purpose does it serve?” If the ministry that will be lost is one that regularly proclaims the name of Jesus and sees people born again as a result, then as bond servants of that Gospel, we have to suck it up and do what’s needed. I have a much easier time stepping down from a role that only serves the Body than one which spreads the news of Christ to unbelievers – even if I like the one that serves the Body best. I personally do not believe, either personally or corporately, that we should ever shrink back from proclaiming the name of Jesus. When I find myself in this position, I claim the words of Galatians 6:8-9: “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I have no doubt the Lord will reward one who soldiers through weariness to spread His Fame.

Now. I hope I’ve not lost any of you yet. If you are still here, let me present one more twist.

Many of you expressed how aggravating it is for people to hide behind the mask of calling when in fact, they just don’t want to work. This can be true for laypeople and ministers. Often, we wear ourselves out in the world so that there’s no energy left for the church. This is a constant struggle for me considering I have four children – three of whom are involved in every sport offered. One of my frequent prayers is for God to place a zeal for His House back in the hearts of men and women. That we would LOOK FORWARD to being there instead of thinking of meeting times as an interruption to our weeks. That we would never equate HARD with NOT MY CALLING. We are all called to make disciples so isn’t it natural that Satan would attack those desires and fatigue us with the thoughts of pouring it out week after week? Yes, our first calling is to our families. But does our vision for our family align with our purpose as believers? Are we teaching our children the importance of Christian service or of play date and ball game attendance?

OUCH. OUCH. OUCH. My feet hurt.

I’m still wrestling back and forth on this one. For now, I’m reading through your comments and praying diligently on how to address this important issue. Obviously, the answer greatly depends upon the situation.

With that said, here’s my not-so-short list of considerations for laying down a specific job or ministry within the church:

1. What steps have been taken to find a replacement? Sometimes general pleas are not enough. Ask God to reveal a candidate and ask them personally.

2. Is the ministry inward or outwardly focused? Be very hesitant to discontinue a true, soul-winning ministry.

3. Consider the pros and cons. Which outweighs the other?

4. If this is a gospel-proclaiming ministry to unbelievers, is “I just don’t want to do this anymore” a good enough reason?

5. Pray, pray, pray. If no one steps up and we’ve determined this ministry can not be let go for the Kingdom’s sake – ask God to renew personal zeal for it. You may not look forward to it now, but often joy is reserved for the morning. I’ve experienced this many times.

6. If this is a ministry that is not an outreach, ask God for the boldness of Apollos. In 1 Corinthians 16:12, Paul said of him, “I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity. “

This verse always makes me cheer (in my best Toby Mac holla), “Yeah, Boy!”. Can you imagine saying no to strong-willed Paul? And yet we are told Apollos was ‘quite unwilling’. I would love to have heard the conversation that Paul would describe this way. Bravo to Apollos for refusing ‘strong urgings’, no matter how imposing the person making the request.

Okay, Round Two of your thoughts…. Just be gentle, okay? :)

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