Ministry is hard. Ministry with a strained marriage can be harder still. Eugene Peterson says, “Pastoral work is unremittingly personal and relational. Much of it takes place behind the scenes, yet all of it intersects in one way or another with the pastor’s marriage.” As a ministry couple, what do you need? Last week I shared three needs I believe we all have. Here are my next three…
- We need financial security. When we first began in ministry, there were days we were pennies away from bouncing checks. We borrowed from our kids’ savings account to just make it through the month. (We did pay them back – eventually). It’s important that the church board evaluate staff salary annually. Vacations and time to attend seminars and conferences is a way that churches show support to a pastor.
“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.'” (I Timothy 5:17-18)
- We need margins.
Cynicism, burnout, a loss of joy can be signs that we don’t have margins in our personal, professional, and family life. When I was coached, I learned to schedule my devotions, exercise, time with my family, vacations, and study time. I always say, “If it’s not on the calendar, it’s just wishful thinking.” I found if it wasn’t scheduled, it was easy to let balance in my life slide.
One tip: If you are out more than two nights a week, you are too busy!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
- We need forgiveness.
We hurt others and they hurt us, mostly unintentionally and sometimes even intentionally. We don’t always get it right – we blow it! We need to ask for and give forgiveness. One of the best things we can say to others is, “I was wrong, please, forgive me…”
Also, we need to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes, instead of beating ourselves up. Too often we show kindness and compassion to everyone but ourselves. We should recognize that we’ll make mistakes: forgive ourselves and move forward.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
BEFORE YOU GO…
I’d love to hear from you! Any comments on these six needs? What would you add? What resources have you found to help with your marriage and ministry?