From an Anonymous Pastor’s Wife

Today’s post is a guest writer. She’s a pastor’s wife (not my wife) but wishes to remain anonymous. So have at it, my friend!

All I learned about people, I’ve learned at my first church as a pastor’s wife. And I’m still at my first church! It’s a mid-sized church with a wide spectrum of different types of people. Families with small kids, families with older kids, single parents, elderly widows and widowers are just a few of them. I love that about our church. Actually, the thing I love most about our current church is its people.

But it’s also the thing I dislike the most. With the good church members, comes a small number of not-so-good ones. And when I say, “not-so-good,” I’m not talking about their salvation. That’s between them and God. Below is a list of the types of church members I’ve come across at my first church as a pastor’s wife.

The Bum Kisser – This person thinks that the more they schmooze the pastor, the more rewards they get in heaven. It’s not true, so please stop giving my husband Elvis figurines.

The Power Player – This is the person who knows everything, but not only that, wants to be in charge. They spend a lot of time behind the scenes planning and “leading” things before the pastor is even made aware. And when The Power Player’s influence is in jeopardy, they will immediately be the cause of conflict. Warning: This will be the first person to befriend you when you start at your church and will be the first to want you to leave.

The Hero – This is a very manipulative person. This person loves subtly (or not so subtly) influencing others to believe what they believe about everything going on, attacks the staff behind the scenes, delights in the destruction and then swoops in to fix everything. This is the most dangerous person in the church. My only (unfunny) advice about this person is to keep them close. You can’t change them, but you should be aware of what they are doing at all times.

Old Sweetie – This person is usually a woman, but I’ve come across a few men like this too. They are always sweet and always encouraging. They’ve been in the church for a long time. Just make sure you give her a hug EVERY Sunday, or you’ll hear about it for the next 6 months.

The Checker Upper – This person has no life. Their happiness depends on calling to make sure the secretary is answering the phones and that the pastor is in his office at precisely 8 am. I would suggest calling him at 5 am on a Saturday just to make sure he’s in his bed sleeping.

Money Bags – This person (or couple) gives a lot of money to the church. There are actually sub-types of these. One of them gives willingly (there’s no problem with these types) and the other uses it to get what they want out of the church. For example, the second type won’t allow the pastor to change out the medieval lighting fixtures because they’ve always been there. Maybe we should eat giant turkey legs at the next potluck?

Repeat Ricky – This guy tells you the same jokes every Sunday. Just laugh at them. It makes him happy.

Helpless Harry – This guy (or gal) sees a problem that needs to be fixed. Doorknob isn’t working properly? No problem for Helpless Harry. He’s happy to call the pastor 3x a day until the pastor fixes it.

Miserable Mary – She is miserable. She thrives on it. Don’t try to cheer her up. She’ll get more miserable. And she’ll like it.

Not all of these people are “bad” of course, and we have many members, including the above, who we love dearly. My husband jokes with me that in all of his 20 years of pastoring, he’s never come across so many difficult personalities at one church. I just tell myself that it’s God’s way of preparing us for our future in ministry together.

If there is anything I could ask our current church it would be, “If you knew your Pastor’s Wife was learning how to be a church member from watching you, would you still do things the same way?” Truth is, I hadn’t been to church for 14 years prior to marrying my husband. So not only was I new to the PW thing, I was new to the church thing, too. My advice if you’re a church member is to love your pastor and his family. Even when you don’t agree with him on some of his decisions. That’s what God has called us to do as followers of Jesus Christ. (Mark 12:30-31)

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