Monthly Archives: October 2012

First Interview

Dear DW, 

Any advice for a newbie going on their first interview?  I don’t know what to expect and, truthfully, I don’t understand why I am going on the interview as the spouse.  I get the point of traveling to see the area we might live in and meeting the people from the church but I’m a bit confused as to the reason I need to be in the interview meeting. 

Nervous in North Carolina

 

Dear Nervous, 

Congratulations and look out below…you are entering the adventure zone!   Yes, most churches want to meet the spouse of their ministerial candidate because they understand that the spouse can affect every aspect of the ministry that happens at their church.  They also want you to see if you can live in their community and if you will fit in with their people.  But as you climb into the interview car, I do have two pieces of advice for you: Step carefully and enjoy the ride.   

Step carefully– Be cautious of how much you interject into the conversation.  This church is interviewing your spouse, not you.  Your role should be fly-on-the-wall.  Observe everyone and take in all that your spouse will be missing as they go through the inquisition.  Be your spouse’s sixth sense.   

Also, beware of the “twofer”.  (That’s two-for-one if you don’t speak country.)  If you start hearing questions like, “Do you play an instrument?” and “Do you have any interest in ______ ministry?” you know that they have already started shopping in the BOGO section.  Make a plan with your spouse as to how this will be handled if it comes up in the interview. 

Enjoy the ride– Consider the interview as the dating portion of your relationship with this church.  You are both trying to figure out if this will be a good match.  Most churches are kind and generous when interviewing prospective pastors.  This is your opportunity to learn about them and be treated in ways that you might not experience once you are hired.  Enjoy the dinners, town tours, and gracious introductions while you are still infatuated with each other. 

Approach this interview like God has a purpose in it even if you do not end up finding your perfect match.  Pray that you and your spouse will be a blessing to these people even if it’s not the place for you.  Will something you say or do help them as they search for the right pastor?  There’s no guilt in saying “no” if you approach every interview as an opportunity for ministry…even if it’s only a one-meeting relationship.

 So don’t be Nervous.  Have fun on your first step toward the adventure zone!  Churches don’t usually bite in the interview process.  (That comes later.)  🙂

Love,

DW

 

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My Wife and the Green Monster

Dear DW, 

I am a youth pastor, married to my amazing wife for 10 years now (just celebrated it!) and have 2 amazing kids.   

Over the years we have been married, there have been times that my wife has been jealous of the women I work with in the churches where I have served.  Recently, she is more apprehensive than ever about the women I communicate with at church, whether it is a high school girl, a mom, or the reason I am writing today, an intern.   

I am proud to announce that I have never been unfaithful, physically or mentally, with any woman.  I don’t know what motivates her jealously.  I do know that over the years I have had an issue with being on my phone too often at home or falling asleep early during our time together in the evenings.  I also know I need to speak her love language more clearly.   

I know that she believes me when I tell her that I have stayed faithful, but she still doubts that I will remain that way because I may be tempted in the future by a woman.  Luckily, that has never been a struggle for me.  I know my wife comes first and I will never betray that.

 So what do I do?  Any help would be great. 

Thanks, 

Steady Eddie

 

 

Dear Steady Eddie, 

Each time I read your letter, whistles and sirens go off in my head that won’t stop screaming “WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!”  I feel nervous just writing back to you because I see your family walking through some danger zones that could be ministry-enders, maybe even marriage-enders, if not addressed very soon.   

I can see that you have done some serious soul searching in trying to figure out why your wife might feel jealous.  A good starting place for you would be to aggressively address the issues that you already know are a problem in your marriage.  Make a concerted effort to turn off the phone when you are at home.  Set some solid boundaries between family time and ministry time.  Organize your ministry schedule so that your wife gets you when you are most alert and fresh, not when you are struggling to stay awake at night.  And, yes, if you know her love language, speak it loud and clear.  She is definitely having trouble hearing you right now. 

Steady Eddie, instead of wondering what is making her feel so insecure; ask what it would take for her to feel more comfortable when you are interacting with other women.  Let her determine the “rules” for your interactions with women.  She may be seeing some things that you are innocent about when she is around these ladies.  Whether founded or not, it’s always a wise thing to not dismiss the insecurities of your wife.  You may be doing everything right, but it isn’t in a way that she can see it or you wouldn’t be having this issue.  My guess is that you may also be having some communication problems.  I would urge you to get some professional counseling to help navigate your way through this shaky time. 

Finally, I want to caution you that no one is above temptation.  Your wife might be ultra sensitive, but she’s right in telling you that there’s always an opportunity for a fall.  Satan loves to surprise us by turning our strength into a weakness through sin.  Remember, Peter?  It only took hours for him to go from Jesus’ greatest defender to acting as if he didn’t know him.  Take heed of her warnings.  Guard your heart and always look for that way of escape from temptation (I Corinthians 10:13).  Your wife’s apprehensions may actually be providing you with an escape that you never knew you needed. 

You’re a good guy, Steady Eddie.  It’s obvious you love your wife and kids.  It’s time to do whatever it takes to stabilize your marriage.  Make this your priority right now.  You will never do any greater ministry than the one you do for your family. 

Love,

DW

I Lost My Mentor

Dear DW,

 I am heartbroken.  I have moved to a new church and I have lost my mentor.  When we entered ministry seven years ago, the pastor’s wife at our church took me under her wing and helped me assimilate into the ministry lifestyle.  All of the pastor’s wives at our church were really close.  In our new church, the pastor’s wife has barely spoken to me.  I don’t understand why she is not reaching out to me as the new person.  I am really lonely and I desperately miss my mentor.  I guess I’m just looking for some encouragement.

Friend-less in Friendswood

 

Dear Friend-less in Friendswood,

It sounds like you had the joy of being in a very unique situation in your last church.  I wish that all spouses had a warm and welcoming ministry spouse to assimilate them into ministry.  The reality is that most churches are more like the one you are in now.  (Sorry to break the bad news!)

 My greatest encouragement to you is that you don’t let the legacy that your mentor gave you go to waste by waiting for someone to reach out to you.  Even though you are the new person on the block, be the one to make the first move.  You obviously know more about being inclusive and hospitable than the other spouses at your church.  Set the example.  Be the change you want to see in others.

I have this vision of Pedro talking to Napoleon Dynamite about how he is going to ask the most popular girl at school to a dance.  “I’ll build her a cake or something…”  Of course, you think that there is no way that this tactic is going to work and… it doesn’t.  But, it’s obvious that somewhere in Summer’s heart, she has found a soft place for Pedro.  Reaching out to other ministry spouses may be something like that scene from Napoleon Dynamite.  It will be awkward and uncomfortable.  You might feel like a dork.  You may not get the response you want.   But if you keep baking enough cakes, eventually, someone is going to respond.  (Deb went to the dance with Pedro!) 

 A lot of spouses are lonely in ministry.  We need more Pedro’s who have the courage to reach out to others even though they are the new kid.  Pedro affected a lot of change at his school in his own gawky way.  You can too.

 Love,
DW~

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