30 September 2014

Clergy Families - An Australian Psychologist's Perspective

I was speaking to an Australian psychologist who has 30 years experience caring for clergy and their families. They had some very honest insights which they have kindly put in this article. It is insights like this that encourage open discussion about the hard seasons or experiences of ministry. If you would like to share your story anonymously (encouraging or hard), please contact me at clergyfamiliesau@gmail.com.
What’s it like?
  • To have the phone ring and your heart starts racing
  • To be asked to do something, yet again, and you feel like screaming
  • To have to give an encouraging talk and have no ideas
  • To give your best effort talk and get criticised

26 September 2014

15 Ways Churches Can Support Us (Suggestions From Clergy Families)

Churches have a huge range of influence, skills and ability to care for and love clergy families, helping them to thrive under the pressures of ministry rather than crumble and become disheartened. So how can churches help? Of the research and articles I've read, one major request comes up over and over:

Let them be human.

It seems simple enough but in light of biblical passages such as 1 Timothy 4:13 which talks about 'keeping your family in order' and people naturally seeking an example in their church leaders, it can be difficult to remember that clergy families struggle in everyday life just as much as the person sitting next to them in the pews.

So what does this look like? Here are 15 suggestions from clergy families themselves:

1. Encourage them: Clergy families need to know that their efforts are noticed and making a difference. A note, a friendly email, a thank-you, even a hug is more loving and supportive than you can imagine.

20 September 2014

The Fishbowl Experience

I've been reading Barnabas Piper's new book lately and came across a great section, in fact an entire chapter devoted to the topic, which seems to match a lot of other papers that I'd been reading about the 'Fishbowl Experience':

"I can remember my mother telling me at a very young age that we were always being watched. That still stays with me until today." (Barnabas Piper's book 'The Pastor's Kid'). The basic concept behind the 'Fishbowl Experience' is much like its name; you can be watched from all angles.

13 September 2014

7 Benefits of Being in a Clergy Family

The purpose of Catalyst is to tell both sides of the story. While there are many negative elements (as we've seen), I wanted to also send a thank you to Anton, an adult clergy kid (PK) who wrote down a list of the great opportunities that come with being in a clergy family. If you'd like to see the full article, have a peek here.
  1. You are exposed to the bible and Christianity frequently (this includes being able to have access to a trained minister whenever you have a question!) 
  2. You end up knowing more about the bible, doctrine and ethics than many other people in the church. 

10 September 2014

'Why I'm Not A Pastor's Wife' and Other Humourous Tales.

I've been reading lots of research filled with sad statistics and personal stories, but they got me thinking that sometimes the most poignant messages speak through humour. So I googled 'Christian Humour Pastor's Wives', and while it came up with a few funny tidbits, a number of book titles surprised me, such as: 'Why I'm not a Pastor's Wife', '10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me' or (my favourite) 'Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots'.
It surprised me how few Christian comics relating to pastor's families came up. Maybe it shouldn't? While hunting, I found a great article by Embracing Grace entitled: "20 Things Every Pastor's Wife Wants You To Know About Her." A fabulous list, including some of the following:
  • She is not perfect…in any way.
  • Because she needs to minister to many ladies and keep many confidences, it may seem at times like she doesn’t want to be as close to you as you want to be to her. But like you, she desires to have close friends.
  • She often changes plans and gives up personal time with her husband because one of the flock needs the pastor.