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Job Security

In every job there is an element of uncertainty. You get called into the boss' office and your heart sinks. And any employer can, pretty much, fire you at will for a poor performance.

But there's something inherently different about the job of pastor because in addition to it being the way your husband earns a living, the church is also your spiritual support group, your family, so that when they decide they don't want you anymore it's more than just losing a job. And if you live in the parsonage, then you lose your house, too, all in one fell swoop: you're unemployed, homeless, and without a church family. This is staggering.

I say all this not because it's happening to us, but being the pastor's family makes you think about things and try to brace yourself for if it ever really happened. If someone calls you up and says they need to talk to you about something, until you actually meet you wonder, you worry, you replay conversations in your head and how they might have been mistakenly taken...as the pastor's wife you wonder if YOU said something to make people mad and now they want to fire your husband because of it.

These are things that don't happen in other run of the mill professions. If you flip burgers and your wife comes in and says something obnoxious to a coworker, you probably won't get fired (maybe embarrassed, but not let go).

So again, I'm pleading with all you out there who AREN'T pastors' wives: be patient with us. Please be gracious. You don't know the thoughts that swirl around in our heads.

5 comments:

"all in one fell swoop: you're unemployed, homeless, and without a church family. This is staggering"

Been there. This happened at our last church and it was heartbreaking. The Lord brought us through it (Praise HIM!), and after a sixth month break (His timing) hubby is now back in a church. It left (emotional) scars, however what we have learned, including relying on Him, has been challenging but overall, dare I say, "good."

July 31, 2007 at 8:05 AM  

This must be a terrible burden to feel like the "ax could fall" at any moment. Thankfully, in our church body, a pastor is issued a call to a congregation, from which he cannot be fired or quit, unless another call is issued from another church. I never have this fear. If there are issues that arise, they must be worked out in Christian love. Of course, that's not always pleasant either. Relax! I'm sure everyone love you and your family.

August 1, 2007 at 4:38 PM  

Hello there. I have had a growing sense of that feeling since my husband became a deacon- and now we face the possibility of eldership and assistant pastorship-and I am glad that I am not the only one whose thoughts stray that way- and I am wondering if, being from a smaller, slightly rural church myself these things seem emphasised because everyone is so close?

August 2, 2007 at 7:32 AM  

Yes, Susanna, I think it's definitely more difficult in a smaller church. Everything is affected there more drastically. Having a few families gone one Sunday makes a huge impact on numbers. That wouldn't happen in a large church. You also have fewer people you could tick off in a smaller church, but those few people can often have a lot of power.

I hope things go OK for you!

August 2, 2007 at 7:35 AM  

A great thought! No kidding.

August 3, 2007 at 8:02 PM  

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