Some of the responses from current wives of pastors were, “your husband will never be home,” “you are the last of his priorities. Everyone else comes before you and the kids,” “church boards are cruel, selfish and demanding,” and “a pastor’s wife is never allowed to have friends. I’m so lonely.” To his dismay not one wife of a pastor commented on the good parts of being married to a pastor. McKeever added some thoughts in his blog. He says a woman should not marry a pastor if “you expect church people to act like Christians” or “you cannot live with people scrutinizing everything you do.”
These things point to some issues with both pastors and churches. When wives report that their husbands are never home and that their wives and kids come last in their priorities, that says more about their husbands than it does about their churches. No doubt it suggests that the churches tend to put pressure on pastors to do more than they should. One would wish that a church would demand that a pastor have his priorities straight and take care of business at home. But the bigger issue, to me, is that those men have, at best, some seriously mixed motivations for their ministry. What drives that kind of all-consuming workaholism usually is either a “success” mentality that produces a driven man, or an insecurity that fears disappointing people. In either case those are spiritual issues that seriously need to be resolved. Unfortunately it is precisely that kind of warped priority system that leads to the cliché of the pastor’s kids being rebellious. Why wouldn’t they be when they’ve known all their lives they’ve taken a distant back seat to the “needs of the church”?
Having said that, my reaction to McKeever’s blog was one of gratitude. My gratitude is not for the message of the blog, but for my church. Laurie and I have been given such incredible grace by our little church. Far from being “mean, demanding and selfish” our church board has been unfailingly kind and supportive. The people of our church have not been demanding, but have supported and encouraged me to invest the time in my marriage that is necessary to build not just a good one, but a great one. And Laurie and I both feel like we have wonderful friends in our church. Loneliness just is not a part of the equation for us. I cannot begin to express how thankful we are for the beautiful people of our church. It saddens me to think of so many men and women who are trying to serve Christ in places where it is foolish to think the people of the church will act like Christians. How blessed we are to be a part of a church of people who don’t just act like Christians, they live like Christians.