When Is It Okay To Say No?

Okay, put on your church hats. I have a few questions as a follow up to the Ministry Survey on Saying No.

As I’ve been working on this book chapter, it occurs to me that no isn’t always possible – or is it?

For example, ministry wives, what would you do?

Let’s just say your church has a very important ministry that is vital in your community. Currently, you and your husband lead that ministry but as your schedules have become increasingly busy, you realize you aren’t giving it your all and it’s time for someone else to take over.

Suppose you make an appeal many times over and no one steps forward. Do you let this Very Important Ministry go or do you suck it up and do it anyway because to drop it would be a great detriment to the testimony of your church? Have you ever been in this situation?

Lay People:

Has a Very Important Ministry of your church ever been discontinued for this purpose? Honestly, did you blame your pastor?

I really need some input here girls. I have to be honest and say I’m a little stuck on this one….

Survey: Knowing When to Say No

Hello, girls! I hope this Monday morning is as beautiful where you are as it is here in my town. As I type I am in my favorite porch swing listening to the tunes from my wind chimes. It is a balmy 75 degrees and a breeze is blowing just enough to keep my bangs out of my eyes while I work. Have you ever heard the Fernando Ortega song, This Good Day? Well, girlfriends, it is one and I intend on rejoicing in it!

So, as is the routine when I’m preparing for Chapter Next in the Married to the Ministry Book – it’s question time! I hope if you didn’t have the opportunity to chime in on the ‘Effects of Ministry Life on Marriage’ Survey that you’ll visit that link in my sidebar. There wasn’t a great deal of feedback on that one in comparison to the other topics so if you somehow think the questions weren’t relevant or if you have more to add, the post remains open.

Today’s topic deals with boundaries, or more specifically, knowing when to say no. When Luke and I were first called to service in the church, I don’t think I comprehended it was within my rights to say no to any request made of me – whether it was keeping nursery or directing VBS or hosting a holiday gathering in our home. I just assumed if I were the pastor’s wife and the church wanted me to take something on that it was my responsibility as Luke’s wife to get it done.

It was literally years before I began to get a true grasp on Romans 12 and what it means to have an individual gift that could be manifested however God led and I chose. Luke has also made it clear to me and our churches that my physical health and happiness come first and he doesn’t want me taking on one single project if it means I’ll be burdened instead of blessed by doing it.

That doesn’t mean I’ve always listened to him. There have been seasons of extreme burnout and downright depression. Times when studying Scripture has become a chore instead of a pipeline into the presence of Almighty God. Periods when I just wanted to stay home because I dreaded all the work that had to be done when I got to the church house. Am I talking to anyone out there?

Enough about me….Let’s talk about your experience.

For Ministry Wives:

*Do you ever find yourself taking on way too many responsibilities? Do you have any thoughts on why you do it to yourself?

*Has your emotional and spiritual health ever suffered because of lack of boundaries?

*Do you have a sense of a personal ministry calling? How do you manage what you believe God would have you do as an individual in contrast with your calling to support your husband in his ministry?

*Give me some examples of new ministries you’ve begun within your churches that have been ‘your babies’ so to speak.

For Lay People:

* Do your ministry wives ever seem tired? Do you feel they are trying to take on too much?

* Are there areas of ministry you’ve been interested in serving but you feel there is no opportunity because the MW always jumps to fill the spot?

* Do your MW’s possess personal gifts that have enhanced your pastor’s?

As always, these are just a few questions to get you started. Feel free to elaborate to your heart’s content.

Thank you again for sharing your wisdom with me!

Survey: The Effect of Ministry on Its Marriages

**UPDATE: I’ve reposted this survey today because I’m afraid it may have gotten buried by the Garden Tour. This is good stuff…..Keep it coming!

Also, I have a really cool something I’ll be announcing later, so check back!
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It’s time for another Married to the Ministry Survey! In case you haven’t noticed, there is now a tab on my navigation bar that holds the archives for all the previous surveys we’ve done. Whether you are a ministry wife or layperson, I hope you’ll use all the great insight there as a resource for building stronger relationships between the leadership and members of the Body of Christ.

Our topic today relates to ministry marriages.

We have already talked about how every wife is first and foremost called to support her husband no matter what his vocation. However, we agree that a different dynamic is in place for ministry families considering hubby is on call 24/7. It’s a gracious wife who gives her husband the freedom he needs to perform his duties without fear of her becoming bitter. However, even the most forgiving woman can finally get a belly full.

So let’s talk for a bit about the how ministry may sometimes adversely affect a marriage.

* Ministry Wives

1. How has the ministry negatively affected your marriage, if ever? In what ways has it strengthened it?

2. Do you and your husband ever experience strife that is directly tied to his vocation? Is there something your hubby does that makes you steaming mad? Does he ever take advantage of your graciousness? (We are not husband-bashing here so remember that when leaving comments :)

3. Have you ever argued with your hubby immediately before he was supposed to preach/teach/lead music and felt guilty later?

4. What part has the limited income of ministry played in your families’ stress?

5. I ask this with much compassion and sensitivity, but have the pressures of ministry been the root of any moral breakdown in your marriage? Please answer anonymously.

* Lay People

1. Do you perceive that any of your ministers’ wives make their husband’s job difficult?

2. Is she overall supportive or does she begrudge what is required of him?

3. Do you think your church demands have ever contributed to marital stress for your ministry families?

4. Have any of your ministry marriages ever been in serious distress? If so, what steps, if any did your church take to help?

As always, these questions are a sampling of many I’m sure could be asked. Don’t feel you have to answer every question, simply comment on what you’ve experienced. If you have a different perspective not presented here, please feel free to share it.

Thank you for all your input!

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