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3rd of 5 Secrets of Stress Resistance

July 18, 2016

This is the third of five “secrets of stress resistant pastors” that I believe will benefit any follower of Christ Jesus.

This list is from Managing Stress in Ministry by David & Lisa Frisbie.

I want to get two disclaimers on the table: I certainly don’t think everyone needs to be married to be what these two authors call “stress resistant,” and this Core Quality will not make some people happy.

With those two things said (i.e., 1. you can be single and be “stress resistant” and 2. this is gonna upset somebodies in some churches), here we go —

 

3. A Core Priority for a Quality Marriage 

“My husband has a mistress,” a pastor’s wife confided to the two authors.

“And it’s not another woman.

“It’s the church.”

“Those who serve in ministry are often indeed ‘on call’ for emergency and crisis situations,” write the authors. “It may seem that the crisis network is fairly limited: one person, the pastor, handles almost everything.

“This mind-set that every emergency requires the pastor’s attention and that every need is the pastor’s responsibility should be addressed by another book in another time. For now, it’s enough to note that building the marriage relationship is more important than attending yet another meeting, or leading the work day or mission trip.

“Churches who fail to understand  the wisdom of this perspective may not deserve having a pastor to care for them.

“As with whiny children, their manipulative and unhelpful selfishness might best be ignored.

“A church that wants to have first place in their pastor’s heart may be fundamentally unsound and spiritually unsafe and should perhaps be left to its own devices and beliefs.

“There is no reason to sacrifice a pastor’s marriage on the altar of misguided priorities.”

 

— And there we are.

So: what say ye?

And is your perspective that of a spouse of a pastor, or are you a church member, or are you a pastor?

And thank you for being brave enough to even say anything about this. For real.

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3 Comments
  1. Janet permalink

    One of the first conversations I had with a member of PPRC at on of my appointments went something like this: PPRC member- you being a single parent and helping with your father we are concerned that you won’t be able to put us first. Me to new to know what to say didn’t say much I think it was something about learning how to prioritize. Should have been a clue…..
    I was a pastor for 10 yrs. before recently quitting

  2. This has become an essay and I will finish it and send it to you sometime if you like. There was a pastor, one I loved from sermons to the care of the congregation. Even with a diagnosis of cancer and taking chemo-therapy, he would respond to any need or call as well as putting time in at the office and doing hospital calls. I witnessed his response one night to someone in stressful condition (not me, in the essay part). He had had a treatment that day along with other duties. He was ashen gray and looked so thin. Already having courses in Death & Dying under my belt, I was familiar with the stress of a cancer diagnosis, the treatments, the wear on the family and the self, and in that moment I worried about the congregation who wanted to be put first and the pastor’s family recognized it as “part of the job”! There is more.

    Mine is Lay Ministry and yet, when I added Assistant Chaplaincy, the training strongly suggested we choose a pastor willing to be a mentor for decompression if needed. I often wish the chaplaincy program had not been dissolved, I miss being able to “decompress” with one of my favorite pastors!

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