28 July 2014

6 Ways To Care For Pastor's Spouses

I found this refreshingly helpful article that I thought was worth sharing! While it is based on caring for the wives of pastors, I think gender does not necessarily mean these points become invalid. It also helpfully gives churches a practical insight and suggestions to care for them in sensitive ways. Written by Ryan Huguley, I've included the direct link for more details on his 6 top tips:
  1. Remember that Sundays are a work day 
  2. Pray for them personally 
  3. Have realistic expectations of them as a clergy spouse 
  4. Encourage them 
  5. Go talk to them after the service 
  6. Don't forget they have normal kids!
"Sadly this isn't true for everyone. Regardless of who you are, or where you go to church, we can all do a better job of loving and serving the women married to those God has called to lead our churches. So how will you more intentionally serve your pastor's wife this Sunday?"

Is there anything you would add to this list?

Clergy Families & The Bible

Most Christian circles agree that church and life practises needs to be based on biblical teachings. While this applies to Christians in general, there is very little guidance that comes specifically for clergy families. I've come across 3 key verses in the bible that researchers state are influential to how churches and individuals view the role and presence of a clergy family. I thought it might be worthwhile exploring these verses a bit further and opening them up for discussion.

24 July 2014

Australian Clergy Wives' Resources

Bit of a noteworthy day today in my research; I found some Australian resources for clergy wives! I thought they'd be worth sharing with you:
  1. The Lutheran church of Queensland is running a Clergy Spouse Retreat in September! Details at https://register.eventarc.com/24624/2014-pastors-wives-retreat

23 July 2014

Clergy Family Project Details

Firstly, thank you to everyone who is participating and showing an interest in this research! With your help, we can gain a better understanding of ministry and clergy families. I've written a few posts on this project but thought it might be worth having all the important ones in the same place for easy reference.

20 July 2014

All 16 Church Denominations

I'm spending the next few weeks leading up to the survey being available contacting church denominations to see if they can help me spread the word about this research. It's been quite the eye opener for me personally finding out the names of different church bodies, specifically those who can marry and have children. So far I've contacted:

7th Day Adventists

16 July 2014

Within In A Crowd, Without Losing Your Voice.

Few people who give their personal story also give their personal name. They often write in fear that their experiences of ministry will be read by church communities and jeopardise their parent and/or spouse's job. Stories I'm reading include: "a person at my dad's church" or "this one lady at my husband's church...". The need for this anonymity is completely understandable, very saddening, and quite unique.

I was speaking to someone the other day about the complexities of the clergy household and job and they were quite surprised at the concept of a 'family package': you get the minister, you get the family. This began a half hour discussion trying to find a similar situation in the secular work environment. Long story short, we couldn't find one.

14 July 2014

Does the Clergy Work/Life Balance Exist?

I have been researching burnout and the desire for a work/life balance amongst clergy workers recently and came across this great study. The results were, for me, very eye-opening. A researcher in America (Koehler) asked the spouses of paid clergy workers to keep a log book of their husband or wives' paid ministry hours. The results were quite startling:

11 July 2014

"The Problem With Being A Preacher's Kid Is That You Can't Be A Normal Christian" (Kari)

I have found many stories in my research so far, many are incredibly honest, and beautifully written. This particular article really caught my attention. This extremely honest piece is written by an American preacher's kid named Kari Morris. Her personal story gels with many I've read but few have been this straight-forward and heart-achingly written. I've included an excerpt here relating to church being different for clergy kids. The full article is well worth a read so I've included the link (original blog contains explicit language).

The Problem With Bein' A Preacher's Kid 
-a monologue by Kari Morris-

The problem with being a preacher’s kid is that you can’t be a normal Christian.

10 July 2014

Clergy Appreciation Month

In my research travels I've come across many interesting concepts that other countries are using to care for clergy and their families. This one in particular caught my eye as quite unusual...the first I heard of it I had visions of elaborately staged events with formal wear and glittering trophies..."and the most sermons preached in 2014 goes to....".

8 July 2014

Seven Things Pastor's Wives Wish They Had Been Told

In my hunt for articles and research, I was sent the link to this great article by Thom S. Rainer, an American writer who writes for Christian Post. He titled this article: Seven Things Pastors' Wives Wish They Had Been Told Before They Became Pastors' Wivesand it's fabulous! The delicacy and depth he goes into with the interviews is inspiring. I'm so grateful there are writers out there really listening to what these people have to say. He goes on to talk about seven common experiences which I thought were worth sharing (read the full paper here.):
  1.  I wish someone had told me just to be myself (it's surprising and sad how often these women feel they aren't able to be who they are or say what they think or believe). 

2 July 2014

How Many Clergy Families Are There In Australia?

I got to thinking 'how many pastor's families there are in Australia?' There is little, collective data available to the public, short of National Surveys by the ABS, So using the methodology of an article I read recently (Preacher's Kids are the Worst: Results of a survey among Dutch clergy children) and relevant Australian Beauru of Statistics data from 1994 (click here to see the article), I've done some rough maths (as a snapshot in time):

As 1994 was the most recent data I could find relating to clergy I have used their details. In 1994, there were a total of 12,283 ministers of Christian religion. Subtracting religions that have celibate ministers (Catholic and Orthodox) that leaves us with 10,118.