22 November 2008

"Mamma Don't Let your Babies Grow Up to Be Pastors" — discuss

by Dan Phillips

Some really good folks are really loving this:

I'm having a set of differing reactions.

A lot of you are pastors and pastors' wives.

What's your response, and why?

Dan Phillips's signature


92 comments:

DJP said...

BTW, the discussion is wide-open to anyone who'll watch the video first, not just pastors and their wives.

But I am particularly interested in their response.

Ed said...

i thought the whole thing was both funny and sad. i hope when my pastor goes home he is able to balance his family time with his pastor time.
but the part where the little girl baptized the doll in the tub and the boy was hiding his bible under a comic book was hysterical!!!

Matt said...

Well it was goofy enough to not take seriously, but if we must, consider the words of Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, (Total Church):

"Many of my minister friends speak of the church as something from which they must seek solace. They protect their day off and guard the privacy of their home.

They feel the lonliness of ministry looking outside the local church for people whol will pastor them and events that will refresh them.

For us the church is where we find solace. The Christian community pastors and refreshes me through the word of God.

Someone put it to us like this: 'If I were to say I needed a weekly day off from my wife and children, people would say I had a dysfunctional marriage.

So why if I say I need a day off from my church, do people not ask whether I have a dysfunctional church family.'"

I'm with them. My wife and I find solace in our church, not something we must seek solace from. My church nurtures me.

DJP said...

Very interesting, Matt. Thank you. How long have you been a pastor overall, and how long at your current church?

Stan McCullars said...

Dan,
I agree with Ed: funny and sad.

BTW, any plans on moving to Orlando to start up a church?

Al said...

I think this video was done by pastor's wives, who feel neglected. They were the ones responsible for the "think twice before you speak" video about using your family in illustrations. That video I liked.

This one not so much. While there is some truth there, I think it degrades the office of Pastor. We have turned the Pastor into a professional (hat tip to John Piper) and forgotten that he is a shepherd of people. He needs to be in their lives (in their homes as opposed to on their phones would be better).

It also ridicules the pastor's wife, stirring up discontent in her calling to be a helper to her husband in his calling. How callous does that woman look when she is waiting on her pastor/husband to leave the church? It is better to live in the corner of the roof than with that woman I'll wager.

I must admit though, I did chuckle at the picture of the man wearing his Baptist Clerical garb (suit and tie) into bed. We really should put away the concordance before snuggling with our wives.

al sends
Al Stout Pastor, Providence Church Pensacola, FL

DJP said...

I'll experiment with a special rule for this meta.

If you're a pastor or pastor's wife who doesn't want your candid thoughts traceable to you, let's try this: email to me, with permission to publish anonymously, and I'll consider passing it along ("A pastor wrote"; "A pastor's wife wrote").

filops@yahoo.com

donsands said...

Pastor's are called to the Word and prayer, and to feed the sheep. Their wives are one with that calling, and the wife needs to understand that from the beginning.

The pastors I know are fine pastors, and wonderful husband as well. Not that everything is perfect, but there surely can be a decent balance achieved if your momma let's you grow up to be a pastor.

There's a song by a pastor, Glen Kaiser, "Queen of my heart", and it says, "He is the King of my life,
And she is the queen of my heart".

DJP said...

StanBTW, any plans on moving to Orlando to start up a church?

You have — what would it take? — ten well-employed families who'd commit to giving at least 10% of their income, to stick it out, and to bring gifts of organization and outreach, and a place to meet?

Then it'd be sane for me to consider it gratefully.

Matt said...

Been in minitry 18+ years, here for 2 and a half.
Grew up in a pastor's home, saw my dad with more of the attitude in the video. Determined not to live like that.

Annemarie said...

Sad. Sad. Sad.

This is exactly what "preachers wives" around where I live are told to expect. Thank the Lord that I am married to a man that knows the bible better than that.

This is such a huge reflection on why the church is in the state that it is in and why the term "pk" came into existence.

Yuck. I briefly scanned the other comments and I see that there are many that take this to be a comical video...if you live in the south and go to any small church, this a pastoral documentary. :( On how it should be done.

~Annemarie

Rileysowner said...

As a pastor I saw this a funny as it is a parody meant to show the ways many pastors neglect everything else but their ministry.

Did I find it sad, not really.

Did I think I need to be reminded of this, yes, and humor does much to do so in a memorable way.

Finally, does it degrade the position of pastor, not really. For those who think it does, you are reading, at least in part, your understanding of pastor into this, instead of looking at the caricature of a pastor (which BTW I have seen enough pastors who are like that to know it has at least some basis in reality.) This is poking fun at pastors who are like this, and well they deserve it as they are but a hollow shell of what a pastor should be thinking busyness is ministry. I know it is all to easy to fall into that type of thinking. BTDT. Beyond that, you are thinking out of a setting where you see various organizations that call themselves churches demeaning the position of pastor to utter insignificants.

As for me I come out of a setting where it seems the exact opposite is happening. When I preach of Christ's commands in Matthew 23 that call for brotherly mutuality among believers, I have people who say that I couldn't possibly mean I don't want them to honor me. That is exactly what I mean because I don't think the position of pastor is to be set up on a pedestal as the master of the congregation. I do want them to respect the office for what it is, but to realize at the same time I am a fellow believer, a brother in Christ, a fellow sinner saved by grace.

Finally, as to pastors needing a break from their congregation. If a congregations realizes that the pastor is not the (one and only) minister, and realizes that all of them are to minister, that goes a long way to solving that problem. Beyond that, I am, at least to some point, a pastor in that situation. I need, very much, a day off. Yes, that means the congregation is not as it should be, and I am likely not as I should be yet we work slowly (especially with an elderly congregation since there is no other way to change) toward change. Having said that, being a pastor is tiring work. It is draining emotionally, spiritually, and physically. A day off is a way to recharge. I don't know about all other pastors, but for me after leading two worship services on Sunday I am completely exhausted as are many other pastors I know. Following that, the last thing I need is people coming to be on Monday, my day off, wanting me to do more. As I said, if the congregation ministers one to another, that goes a long way to solving that as then they don't only go to the pastor.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head.

Annette said...

as a pastor's wife I found this video funny. Did I dislike some of the 'attitude' shown by the pastor's wife in this video...yes. But it was made to parody the work-aholic pastor more than it was made to show the wife and the talents she brings.

Are pastor's wives sometimes long suffering? Yes!
Is it hard sometimes for a pastor to balance family time with church life time? Yes!
Can pastors choose the church more than their own families? Indeed.

There are times in a week that I'm blessed if I see my hubby more than an hour out of day...for the entirely of a week.

Now in today's business world with men and women needing to take work trips and so forth...is that highly uncommon? Perhaps not.

But this video was made to poke fun at a specific type of pastor and that I thought was just funny. :)

Jeremy Weaver said...

I thought it was funny, because one Pastor I know fit this description perfectly...except for the Greek and books part.
I think we should take the video as a warning and hopefully see a little bit of our tendencies in it. Which one of us wouldn't want to have a ministry with the scope of Billy Graham? I might say I don't with my mouth...but I do with my heart in some ways.
End of confessional.

wordsmith said...

Not a pw (yet - DH has his M.Div. but hasn't gone through ordination yet), but here's my two cents. I think the video is just one caricature after another. I hope that no one would accept the premise that this is an ideal situation, or this is the way "church" is supposed to be done. Do some pastors have such an attitude? Probably. Do all? Thankfully, no. Regardless, it's a good reminder of things to bear in mind whenever you lift up your pastor in prayer.

I'm afraid that the more the church adopts a worldly attitude, the more we'll see this kind of stuff. Unfortunately, some people do expect their pastor to be chief cook and bottle washer, and have no clue that the pastor and his family need some space.

To be fair, there are plenty of workaholic family men who fall into this trap, regardless of profession. Some of it is culture-driven (e.g. in Japan and Korea there is a tremendous amount of pressure to put company first, with the result that many Asian fathers hardly ever see their kids - the dads come home at midnight and are out the door the next morning by 6 or 7). Doesn't make it right - and it emphasizes yet another reason why the church needs to be different from the world.

Blake Shaw said...

Sadly, I see myself in elements of this. I can only trust that it is because of my love for Jesus and His people that I spend time studying, teaching, interacting with God's people and thoroughly enjoy being with them. I am certain that at times there is an imbalance in my life. At the same time, I concur that the portayal of the wife seemed "hard" for me to handle because, while I could see a pastor's wife as being like that, there is something unsettling about how she is portrayed. Perhaps she being in the marriage to the said pastor is also about God revealing something in her own heart about Christ, His Word, His Work, and His people.
There was humor, mixed with a sobering reminder of the challenge of being caught between two worlds. Most of all, it was a reminder of my own personal need for the grace and wisdom of God to be about His business, which would include my family.

JOYce ♥ said...

That video very sadly reminded me of my own family life growing up with a game law enforcement officer back in the day when it was a 24/7/365 job and only landlines with no answering machines and no cells or voicemail or text messages or email. When he retired, they gave my mother accolades for him being all that he was and for her going without so much.

Shouldn't grace be a bit different for and concerning all involved around pastors? Around believers? Can there be balance in Christ for pastors and their families and any family rather than as some that are pushed or willingly take on more than need be that go for respite in the on/off switch? IOW the video doesn't only portray pastors and their families though it is sad the video is a reality more than not. Maybe if there were more men with shepherd's hearts in homes and more wives with helper hearts meet for their own spouses and more children etc.... Similar to the questioning how many ministers are there in the church, how many sheep are there(the pastor is one, too)? Do too many pastors think they are THE Shepherd and too many sheep neglect their own responsibilities?

The shoes my dad once filled now has the main office filtering calls ~ maybe if urgent yet not always urgent bleats of sheep were first filtered through the Holy Spirit to THE Shepherd? And if more sheep were there for other sheep to encourage the pastor that Truth he preaches finds application where the rubber meets the road?

Peanut gallery thoughts ~

heath lloyd said...

Who knows the motives of the people who wrote this song and produced the video? I do not.
However, I do have something re-iterated here - never think that movement means action, or think that "busyness" is the same as doing Kingdom work. I see many brother pastors caught in this trap - they stay very, very busy and like it that way, I guess. But are they doing that good and excellent thing that shall never be taken away? Sitting at the feet of Jesus. I see too many "professionals" - whether they wear tight suits or jeans and untucked shirts with goatees. I wouldn't want my boys to grow up to be carictures either, but genuine men of God, followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. I also observe many hollow, sad PWs whose husbands love the "ministry" more than their families. All of us should re-read Piper's "Brothers we are not professionals" Thanks for the discussion.

donsands said...

My wife noriced the Magazine the wife is reading, "More", is a liberal mag for women over 40.

I don't know, I've never read it, but that's what my wife noticed. And I never heard of a church named 'hospital church' before?

Over all we both liked the video.

I'd love to know what the Apostle Peter's wife would think of this video.
Peter told the Lord he left all to follow Him, even his wife. Was this a good statement?
I think it was. He was putting Christ first. And that's the main thing. But our wives need to be a close second.
We need to love them as Christ loves them.

Trevbot said...

As far as the video itself, it was most likely done in jest. Even so, every joke has a piece of truth, and I think the idea of an overworked pastor who is a bit estranged from his family is an all too familiar concept.

Some thoughts on the application(?) of the video:
In some sense this video is a good depiction of what happens if a pastor tries to do the ministry by himself, and in that way it shows the necessity of a plurality of elders.
It also illustrates the point that a pastor's first business is his family and then the body of believers he ministers to outside his home. I think many pastors have in their minds a dichotomy between family and ministry.
Last thought: The church has apparently come along way from "If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do." (1 Tim 3:1)

Brian said...

This is why I beleive you should not get paid to help others. Each person should be a pastor from their heart in the circle of influence God has put them in.... and smack dab in the middle of that circle is your own family.

If they were not getting paid, how often would a lot of them not answer the phone?

Kim said...

I think it was definitely a pardody, and if it's true, it's sad. However, it has always been my understanding that being a pastor's wife is a role in itself. Our pastor's wife is never waiting for him in the foyer; she is always visiting and ministering right alongside him or apart from him.

I think the "workaholic" idea where the guy is on the phone a lot, arriving home late and wearing a suit to bed is not restricted to pastors.

trogdor said...

So Brian, you believe in muzzling the ox while it's treading the grain?

As to the video itself, I know there are demands on pastors that those of us in secular vocations don't face. But it still speaks to the increasing demands that all decent jobs place on us, and how sad it is when we allow work to overwhelm our families. One of our primary roles as husband/father is to provide, but it's easy to pass from provision to greed, and substitute stuff for our presence.

Back to ministry, because even those of us in non-vocational ministry roles are vulnerable to time creep. A good church will emphasize caring for family before ministry. Some churches and ministries I know require staff to take family days, basically sabbaths where they're not allowed to do any church business. A lot of ministry positions aren't open to those in the first year of marriage - my church requires newlyweds to step down from some posts. One man was just denied a (relatively small) role because he has four kids under the age of five. So churches can and do watch out for their people - and pastors and lay leaders alike should demand this.

Incidentally, it's probably a bad idea to hire the 24-yo fresh seminary grad as senior pastor for a number of reasons (there are exceptions, of course). High on that list would be the pressures he'd face that would drag him away from his young family.

DJP said...

Brian, you need to check the ideas you find attractive by the Word. You'll find out, crystal-clear, that not everyone is a pastor (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:29; Ephesians 4:11), and pastors should be financially-supported fulltime (Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18).

Ekklesia said...

I've been in ministry for 12 years and I found the video despicable. I'm anything but humorless, but I found the video to be. It may be because I'm currently working bi-vocationally as a church planter and the time strain is real, and the financial strain is real, and the tears are real. And I could choose a comfier lifestyle, but that is not what God has called me, my wife, or my three children to. I don't know exactly why I find this so offensive but I do.

And I just can't possibly imagine Jesus thinking this is the least bit funny and I can't imagine what my brethren overseas who are literally risking their lives (including that of their wife's)to shepherd the flock God has entrusted to them would think.

Western Christianity has denigrated the office of pastor enough, we don't need any more help.

So now, while my friends go to the college football game today with their families, it is now time for me to finish up my sermon while my wife goes to buy groceries to feed the homeless tomorrow after services.

I guess I'm supposed to be sorry about that and be better at time management....

ugh.

The Doulos said...

I found this less than funny. Mainly because the focus here is on the wife, not the pastor. Granted, pastor's can and often do give short shrift to their wives and families. But what's pictured here is a pastor's wife who probably should not be a pastor's wife. I have yet to know a pastor who fulfilled his calling well who didn't have a wife that was a partner in ministry with him. This caricature shows none of that, just a selfish woman who seems to resent her husband. I pray that there are few of these situations in the real world.

DJP said...

Ekklesia, while I don't think anyone's said anything I really disagree with yet, the way it struck you is closer to the way it struck me.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

Peter told the Lord he left all to follow Him, even his wife. Was this a good statement?

Is this true? Didn't Paul mention Peter in the context of him taking along his wife?

Surely one called to be an elder/overseer/pastor is not called to that office at the exclusion of his role as father and husband. "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her" - and that includes husbands who are also pastors.

BTW, the church that did this video is a 7th Day Adventist Church, if that makes any difference.

Stefan said...

A few folks have mentioned the need for a plurality of elders, in order the share the pastors' burden, give them the opportunity to minister to their own families first and the church second, and equip the saints to carry out the work of ministry.

Based on the blessing of being a member of an elder-led church and seeing how it functions, I would strongly concur with that.

Rileysowner said...

The need in the church is not just a plurality of elders, but getting back to realizing that ALL members are ministers. The pastor's task is to equip the people for works of ministry (Eph 4:11ff). When everyone ministers the pastor is freed to do what he is called to do to equip them. When they don't, the pastor starts doing much that he should not be doing because no one else is ministering.

Frank Turk said...

Two reactions:

[1] Who knew Ann Coulter and Dave Ramsey had a country duet single?

[2] I think that nobody should grow up to be a pastor who wants to "be the next Billy Graham" (whatever one should take that to mean in context) and who cannot find a way to maintain his credential as a good father and husband but still care for the spiritual welfare of whatever flock God is gracious enough to give him.

I'm with Matt and Timmis on this. No offense to anyone intended.

donsands said...

"Didn't Paul mention Peter in the context of him taking along his wife?"

Yep.

Peter said, "We have left all to follow You."
Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers and sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the Gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time--...and in the age to come, eternal life."

Seems as though initially Peter left his wife, and everything really, to follow the Lord Jesus. Yet of course he was still her husband, and cared for her.
She was now second to Christ. At least I hope Peter saw her that way; I'm sure he did.

David Milton said...

Brief observations:

1) Let's assume for stereotype that this is an SBC pastor and wife. Problem with too many SBC pastors is that they want to be like Billy Graham.

2) Billy Graham is not a pastor.

Doing the faithful, mundane, diligent daily work of a called Man of God (my apologies, little girl baptizing in bathtub) is not a evangelistic crusade loved and respected by millions.

My father-in-law, a faithful pastor for 43 years, lived the simple life I just described.

And my mother-in-law never picked up MORE, the dinner was hot, and the smiles were genuine.

Brenda said...

Not really funny, but I didn't recognize anyone in the video.

My pastor is fond of saying that God can take any ol' thing and make a preacher, but it takes something extra special to make a preacher's wife. His wife accompanies him on pastoral visits, and she handles public relations for the church.

At my former church, the pastor's wife was expected to be involved in at least one of the ministries of the church (nursery, children's dept., choir).

The idea of a pastor's wife sitting around feeling neglected or resenting his ministry just seems foreign to me.

Steve Wilson said...

Having been a pastor, associate pastor, youth pastor, and interim-pastor for over 35 years I was not amused.

The problem in the ministry is that people outside the ministry have no idea what it is like, so they base their view of pastoral ministry on some caricature such as that portrayed in this video. I pastored a very small congregation in Central California for 2 years (my first pastorate out of seminary), and was dismayed with the lack of love and understanding most of the people in the church and the town had for me as pastor. I was soon to discover that this attitude was typical in small rural type churches, but later I found the suburban/urban congregation to be more supportive and understanding of ministry.

Overall, there has been many, many blessings that are a part of ministry, but there are many heartaches as well. Unfortunately, the wife and kids of the pastor are usually the one's who suffer the most. I have heard more than one PK tell me they would never consider the pastoral ministry because of what happened to their dad. I understand, it's definitely not for everybody.

By the way, the scenes where the pastor and some kid are reading the Bible rather than some magazine was ironic. I heard a story once about Barnhouse being on a train one evening when another young pastor took a seat next to him. The young pastor was reading Life magazine, and Barnhouse was reading, guess what? that's right the book of Romans. When the young pastor asked him what he could do to improve himself as a minister, Barnhouse told him, "Young man as long as you spend most of your time reading that, you will know more about that than you will the Word of God, and what He requires of ministry."

Reading the Bible is the least of the problems of pastoral ministry.

Steve Wilson said...

Oh, and one other thing -

Are they saying that no parent should let their son become a pastor? Is that what they want to communicate?

My son has told me he want to be a pastor when he grows up. I am proud that he has such a desire. Should I try and talk him out of it? I don't get the point of the video. Maybe I'm just out of touch on what passes for hipness today.

p.s. Dan, I too am a Talbot grad. Got my M.Div. in 1982, and finished my ThM last spring. We may have had a class or two together back in the 80's.

Keep up the good work!

dac said...

sensitive are we people? There is enough truth in that video that it's worth watching.

Of course the real problem with that pastor is that he is a BEARS fan.

pfft

DJP said...

Imagine that, Dac. People being asked to say how they respond to a video, and then actually doing so.

Thanks for trying to put a stop to this candid madness!

dac said...

i thought baring personal stuff across the blogosphere was so, like yesterday (and definately not what good christians do)

DJP said...

So sorry your mother keeps forcing you to come here. Give me her email, I'll have a word with her for you.

So in the meanwhile... did you have anything actually to contribute to the discussion? I mean, beyond "Hey, everybody look at me, I'm mocking you all! Mock mock mock!"?

dac said...

Obviously one problem with the video is that it isnt a poster

And it doesnt mock emergents. That would be the another problem

For everyone who hates that video - just why is that video not a legitimate commentary while all the posters are?

DJP said...

Dac, here's a reminder: I'm the host. You're the guest.

You chose to come in and loftily sneer at everyone who (by contrast) joined in to share their thoughts about exactly what I invited them to discuss. I won't permit that, ever.

Please leave this meta, let the grownups discuss the topic, wait for another on which you have something worthwhile to contribute while you still have the privilege. Review rules two and four.

(These are not suggestions.)

DJP said...

A pastor's wife took my invitation, wrote me and gave me permission to put this up anonymously:

"It’s been very interesting to read the responses to this video. Taken completely tongue-in-cheek, this could be viewed in a humorous way. However, most of the reasons this song gives could pertain to many other careers just as well… salesman, small business owner, stock broker, to name just a few. I have a good sense of humor (as evidenced by the fact that even Phil’s homeschool mom references don’t offend me), but the wife’s attitude did bother me somewhat. Didn’t see a heart to do him good all her days. And Mammas, if you don’t want your babies to be pastors, let it be because you want them to be sure of their calling, their motives, their salvation, their commitment to the cause.

"On a side note, one comment inferred that pastors are somewhat unloving or uninvested if they want time off. First of all, the pastor does have other responsibilities outside of the church that require his attention. The lawn still has to be mowed, the car still has to be serviced, and his family would like some time with him. Yes, the congregation refreshes us, but sometimes the work can be daunting and draining. Sometimes the pastor needs a day, or a week, or a month, just to refocus and refresh – especially in a small church or a quickly growing church (I would think), where he bears the brunt of the responsibility for what goes on there. Many times, there are things going on behind the scenes that the congregation is not yet aware of or may never know – church discipline, family issues, financial uncertainties. Because of this, congregations should be especially diligent to pray for their pastors, encourage and serve their pastors, and make it a joy for the pastor to watch over their souls.

"Oh, dare I say it? Pastors who are as available as this guy (to the neglect of family and probably his own spiritual health) are likely people-pleasing and/or power-seeking men. (If you ever need to test this in your own life, try to go a week with your cell phone turned off.) Now let me tiptoe a few steps backward, lest I be hit with a frozen chub of burger!"

No chubs from me.

PuritanReformed said...

>Are they saying that no parent should let their son become a pastor? Is that what they want to communicate?

I agree with Steve here. Istead of addressing the errors that some pastors may be making, the clip insinuate that parents shouldn't let their sons become pastors. What's worse is the steps recommended to remove the idea from their little heads.

James said...

As a current church elder and pastor I deplore the trivialization of the role of church shepherd.

It certainly runs counter to Paul's letter to Timothy, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work."

Tom Chantry said...

I actually have a bunch of reactions to this. I’m currently serving in my second pastorate, and I grew up in a pastor’s home as well.

1. The Pastor’s Family My wife and I laughed as we watched this, and today on the way home from church we laughed about it again because I had inadvertently given her the “one minute” signal in the church lobby. I mainly saw this as a light-hearted treatment of the unique perils of life in the pastorate.

Every profession comes with its unique challenges, and those can apply to wives as well. My father-in-law is a machinist, and any machinist’s wife knows what it’s like to have her husband come home smelling like cutting oil every night. They all know what happens if work clothes accidentally get into the regular laundry. If a few machinist’s wives get together, they might joke about these things and swap war stories. That doesn’t mean they don’t love their husbands, or that they’re discontented. It only means they have a commonly shared experience.

The perils of the pastorate include the fact that the job doesn’t go away, not only because it’s not nine to five but also because the family, work, and church spheres are all identical. Furthermore, most of the people with whom pastors must collaborate are volunteers with nine to five jobs, as are the people to whom they minister. Meetings and appointments tend to cut into evenings and mealtimes. A woman needs to be prepared for that if her husband is entering the pastorate. This video really struck me as little more than gentle ribbing on that subject.

2. A Good Warning A pastor I know in England told me the story of his early years in the ministry. His mother was staying with him, and helped him out tremendously when he got home from a meeting at midnight to find his wife and mother pacing in the living room. His mother led him by the arm to his wife and said, “Have you met this woman? You’re married to her, you know!”

Pastors need to be especially watchful not to cheat their own families. The particular perils of the job make this a real risk, and it’s something pastors need to pray and discipline themselves against. Perhaps the video was meant to make that point, and if so, it did so delicately and without animosity.

3. Philosophy of “Ministry” This reminded me of the discussion (was it here or on your other blog?) about the use of the word “ministry” a few weeks back. My main contention there was to point out that some churches have used the title “ministry” in a way that I didn’t think you were acknowledging. I also, though, was at pains to say that no matter which of the views one takes of Ephesians 4:12, overwork and burnout is a problem.

If pastors try to do everything in the church, they will be like the pastor in the video, only more so. Most of the service/ministry in the church must be delegated. On the other hand, many pastors who have adopted the “coach” philosophy of ministry are so busy running around to everyone in the church trying to equip them and get them to “do ministry” that they run out of time to do their own work (the ministry of the word) and to serve their own family.

Pastors have a lot of balancing acts to perform, and the primary one is that between their essential work (prayer and preaching) and their incidental work (shaking everyone’s hand). If this balance is not mastered, the balance between work and family can never be approached.

4. Mamas and their Babies To those of you who think the video was seriously intended to get Christians to run down the pastorate with their kids - C’mon! Is it just possible that they picked a rather well known country song and adapted it to their purposes?

I will say this: a friend of mine whose father is a pastor told his mother of his own call to the pastorate, and she wept - not with joy but with anticipated sorrow. That’s not to brag about how hard our work is, but to recognize that pastors do indeed face intense spiritual battles. Having watched her husband struggle through those times, she wept to think of her son facing the same. That doesn’t mean she didn’t support him in it, but she was realistic. How would a policeman’s wife who spent night after night worrying about her husband’s safety respond to her son’s decision to follow the same career? Even if she were proud of him, would she not also shed tears? Her husband’s retirement no longer means the end of worry; she’ll be worrying until her death.

I pray my sons will grow up to love the Lord, and if they do I would be glad to see them preach, but there are days when that seems less desirable than others.

5. Wow! That was an amazingly well produced video. I guess I don’t really know who did it or why, but I did have to wonder, how much did that cost? Was it worth it? I say that as my only misgiving, because on the whole I thought it was very cleverly and appropriately done.

donsands said...

"Is it just possible that they picked a rather well known country song and adapted it to their purposes?"

I was just thinking that as I read through the comments.

"Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys" I think is really honoring to cowboys, I think.

But i must say that Dan's post has really helped other Christians to share their hearts, and especially pastors and their wives, who deserve double honor from us in the flock.

So thanks Dan. And thank all you pastors who serve the Lord in the Word and prayer, and your wives for supporting you and your calling. I thank the Lord for you all. Amen.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Why? What was the point of all that production energy on this? Waste of time. And bad makeup and acting in the "frame" story.

David Rudd said...

as a pastor's son
a pastor
and the father of a pastor's son...

i found the video to be humorous, but spot on to my experience and sometime to my temptation.

for the sake of my wife, my children, and my ministry i work very hard to remind myself that having God at the center of my life and being committed to His church is VERY DIFFERENT than having the institutional church I work for at the center of my life and being committed to my job.

The second of the two options makes a mockery of my gift and my calling.

Denise said...

They should sing one about doctors also-- believe me. (probably worse)
~docwife

We're The Good Guys said...

My feelings on this video are not original in general or to this discussion, I think.

The situation portrayed is a sad one, with the pastor being (willingly, I think) over committed to his flock and under committed to his wife (and family). He (for whatever reason(s)) is allowing and encouraging the behaviors and has some responsibility.

His wife isn't too helpful or supportive, but in the context of the video, it's hard to not feel sympathy for her. And yet, as your "anonymous" pastor's wife wrote, this wife is portrayed as not having a heart to do him good all her days...

Interesting how this video has stirred the pot so vigorously; reading these comments ("meta"? what is that, anyway?) makes me think there's a lot of stuff folks haven't been handing over to Jesus to be dealt with . . .

DJP said...

"Meta" is the comment-thread.

Would you care you disambiguize your parting remark?

We're The Good Guys said...

Thanks for clearing that up. When I saw "meta" I kept thinking of "metadata" in reference to MS Word, heh.

Didn't mean to be ambiguous. I'll try to restate: it seems that some of the comments reveal strong emotions, some negative, and in one commenter's words I sensed some bitterness (as in a "root of bitterness" re: Hebrews 12:15). I am frequently surprised to find how much I hold against things or people, to the point that that stuff turns into bitterness within me; isn't it my responsibility to turn that over to Christ regularly?

December Sun Blog said...

It's cute, but if anything, it speaks to me of the importance of Pastors to remind their flock, particularly the fathers of the congregation, to be ever vigilant in their responsibilities to their wives and children, served largely through the discipline of family worship at home.

My $.02.

Ian Hall said...

As a pastor of a small church in Port Lincoln, South Australia I must admit I laughed heartily the whole way through the video. There is elements of truth in the piece and that just added to the humour.

Mx5 said...

I'm not a country music gal at all, but I am a PW and have been for 20+ yrs. The video is sad because it fairly accurately portrays someone serving the "god" of ministry, and all that entails. There was a statistic some years ago by (I think?) Focus on the Family which noted that about 1200 pastors leave their vocation each month. This little video showed a few of the reasons why this happens.

On a personal note, praise be to God that our church knows that my husband needs a protected day off, and our great elders minister with him, shoulder to shoulder.

I have to respectfully disagree with Matt's quote about a church family being dysfunctional if a pastor needs or desires time off. The pressures of being on call 24/7/365 for those of us serving in smaller churches can crush the joy out of even the most people-loving pastor. I like to use the example of Jesus, who himself often went alone to pray. By extension could we say he had a dysfunctional relationship with his followers because he didn't find solace in their company? Of course not.

I loved the kid hiding the bible in the comic book, and the little girl baptizing the doll. Fantastic!

My overall impression? I hate to say it, but I have met pastors like the one portrayed in the video, whether by self imposed expectations, or those of their churches. The saddest line of all was when the wife said he never really belonged to her. Broke my heart.

Kirby L. Wallace said...

My opinion on this topic has always been unpopular, and usually gains me the title of "chauvinist" or "misogynist" or "sexist", so I apologize for the offense in advance. But since you asked...

If a man finds himself in the real, genuine calling of the office of pastor, then that work of God, which God expects him to perform, and upon which so much hangs with eternal consequences, takes priority over all else.

This is why Paul suggested that men who desired to serve God "it is better that they not marry, that they may devote themselves to the Lord."

An unmarried man's thought are on how he may please God. The married man's thoughts are on how he may please his wife.

When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

And a man's foes shall be they of his own household

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me...

These verses are not addressing the issue at hand, but I mention them only to point out that God does not grant a familial license or excuse to those who fail to perform their duties or their vows, and the office of pastor involves both.

The wife is created to be a help to her husband, not to dictate what his occupation should be. She is to help her husband in "whatever his hand finds to do..." And that would be doubly important if her husband's hand is on Jesus Christ's plowshare.

My only qualification to these comments is that I am speaking of the true office of the true pastor - not what is commonly regarded as a pastor's duties.

There should be no calling at all hours of the day and night because "there's a crisis brewing in the Carpet Colour Selection Committee" or because Mrs. So-n-So has decided she wants to gossip or complain about the other elders in the church.

If the pastor is a real pastor, in a god-fearing, bible-based church, then the wife should know and expect to sacrifice because, after all, as her husband's helper, it is HER vow and HER duty to suffer these things as much as it is her husbands.

And what "neglect" are we talking about anyway? Does a pastor's wife feel like she has a special claim of some sort on her husband when God has required all that he has already?

Again, assuming real pastoral issues, when they arise, what in the house is more important than the guidance of God's people? Is appreciation for her cooked dinner to take priority over the Pastor's need to shepherd those that God Himself has entrusted to his care? What pastor wants to reach the judgment seat with his only offering being "Lord, here is your dollar back." He doesn't want to hear the words "you wicked servant" any more than the rest of us. And if I were a Pastor's Wife, I wouldn't want that for him either.

I'm not of the crowd that relegate women to second-class citizens in the Body of Christ. but they do have THEIR office as much as, and for as long as their husbands have theirs.

How many of us are fond of saying "God First, Family Second, [whatever] third... and then are shocked to find out that those words have consequences, and that God took you at your word when you said them, and will require them of you later?

Again, please keep in mind that I am talking of a pastor who is operating in the true office and duties of a pastor, and I think they are MUCH rarer than is generally thought.

Not everyone is a "pastor" who preaches in a church, any more than anything is a "church" that puts up a sign and runs a yellow page ad.

Recommended reading: "Ichabod Spencer - A Pastor's Sketches."

Excerpt: http://www.uniuslibri.com/UniusLibriIndex.asp?action=sotheysaid&articleid=16

http://www.uniuslibri.com/UniusLibriIndex.asp?action=sotheysaid&articleid=17

Kirby L. Wallace said...

MX5:

Don't take this wrong, but it was just what first came to mind.


Whatsoever things were true, honest, just, pure, lovely... he thought on those things. Those things, which he learned and received from the Lord, he also did, and the God of peace was with him.

He did not speak in respect of want or lack: for he learned, in whatsoever state he was, therewith to be content. He knew both how to be abased, and how to abound... To be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Because he knew that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him.

He knew more than most that they which run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize. So he ran such that may obtain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He fought a good fight, he finished his course. He kept the faith, and the faithful.

And hereafter, there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give him at that day.

And I am honoured to have known, and to have served, and to have suffered all things right along side him the whole way, and I expect no greater reward.


THAT IS A TRUE PASTOR'S WIFE'S RESPONSE.

The response of a truly godly woman - the type that is "much to be praised and whose worth is far above rubies."

Kind of like my wife. ;-)

Susan said...

Oh, Dan, what an awful video. Don't get me wrong--I laughed almost the whole way through. And, no, I'm not a pastor's wife. However, I say it's awful because it's tragically true for a lot of pastors. They seem to have this "either/or" mentality that they can only aspire to be a good pastor but not a good husband. I once heard a sermon in which the pastor speaking that morning told a story of another pastor telling his wife (either before they got married or shortly after they're married) that he could only be a good pastor and not a good husband (i.e., "you better get ready because I'm not going to put you first"). This kind of thinking isn't just limited to pastors, either. One of my friends told me of a situation in which a man (whom I think she knew personally) wanted to divorce his wife because she wouldn't let him be a missionary. Whatever happened to loving one's wife as Christ loved his church?

Perhaps some pastors think that in order to fulfill God's calling for them, they will sometimes have to neglect their wives and families, but God has in fact called ALL husbands to love their wives--and pastors are certainly not exempt from that category. It is a tough balancing act, of course. May the Lord give grace to all pastors out there to be faithful in both family and ministry.

Nathin said...

Non-Christians make interesting video's sometimes. Although often they border on blasphemy, a bit like this video.

Rileysowner said...

As I have thought about this, two things came to mind.

1) Why has being a pastor went from being one of the healthiest jobs, to one of the unhealthiest ones, and does that have anything to do with the sort of pastor shown in this video?

2) Would we not all agree that the portrayal of the pastor in this video is not what a pastor should be? If that is the case, even as a pastor, I can say I would not want my son to grow up to be a pastor like this.

Hayden said...

Stan,

There is a TMS graduate that has started a church in the area. Go to the TMS website and can join up with him. I'm sure he will exposit the Word.

I'm moving to Gainesville if you want to make the trip :)

Dan,

This video is made by a Seventh Day Adventist church and is a parody of what many people think of pastoral ministry. I know tons of pastors and their wives and have not run into more than 1 guy like this. Most of the men that I know and their wives talk about the difficulties in ministry but not in the ways depicted in the video. 9things like seeing people walk away from the church, people harboring sin, etc.) They are caricaturing a TBN preacher type when many of us have no similarity to this picture.

Kim K. said...

Shouldn't the suit and BG picture have been replaced with a Hawaiian shirt and a picture of Rick Warren?

But seriously, it had it's moments of humor, but do we really need more of this kind of portrayal of doofus, insensitive dads. Maybe all caricatures have a kernel of truth, but caricatures can become the percieved truth.

David Rudd said...

Maybe all caricatures have a kernel of truth, but caricatures can become the percieved truth.

Very perceptive, Kim.

Tom Chantry said...

I'm having a set of differing reactions.

So, apparently, is the readership!

By now a few things are obvious: We have obviously confirmed every conflicting thought which Dan initially had - someone in the meta is bound to have echoed each one. It is also likely that we haven't really helped to sort through much.

I suppose that's what you get for addressing the question to a ragtag horde of headstrong, opinionated readers!

Solameanie said...

Is it just me, or does Dave Ramsey look an awful lot like Brian McLaren?

Daniel said...

Um, I assume that the video is meant to (humorously?) make the point that pastors ought not to use their ministry as an excuse to neglect their wives.

I haven't read all the meta, but I assume that others have already adequately identified the flawed presumptions that frame the premise - the portrayal of the pastors role as overly social and otherwise superficial, the portrayal of the wife as standing apart from this ministry as though she were above it and not part of it, etc. So I won't tear into that, though I suspect there are still large enough peices lying around that one could do so without retracing anothers steps.

Overall, I am reminded of the bull who, passing a china shop and seeing a nice cup and saucer, went in, purchased it, and came out again. In the process however, the bull made a mess of many other items in the shop, and cracked and chipped the cup and saucer he went in to get.

That is, I am reminded of a Pyrrhic victory - the point was made, only poorly, and at a great expense to many other things that were mashed and mushed in order to make it.

Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stratagem said...

Well interesting. The medium is called "sarcasm." I can't see anything wrong with it, because generally speaking there are grains of truth to the thing, and the writers and performers were good-natured in their chiding.
Or, would you have wanted the next video to end with "and besides, they take themselves so seriously that they have no sense of humor"? And I know that's not true of pastors, in general. So lighten up.

DJP said...

Dude, read your invitation again.

It says, "Some really good folks are really loving this... I'm having a set of differing reactions. ...What's your response, and why?"

What did you think of the video?

Not "What do you think about other people's responses to the video?"

Tom Chantry said...

Dan,

Mad curiosity here, and I realize I'm breaking your just-repeated regulation of the thread, but then I already shared more of my thoughts than anyone could have wished to read:

Are you going to share your thoughts at some point? Or am I clicking back into this thread in a vain hope that it will come to some sort of conclusion?

DJP said...

:: Shh! Chantry! Nobody's noticed! ::

Tom Chantry said...

I wouldn't worry too much - the post is from last week and this will be comment #73!

DJP said...

IOW, "Don't worry, nobody's looking, it's just you and me"?

Tom Chantry said...

You, me, and the a few other similarly-obsessed weirdos.

Daniel said...

I confess, I continue to check out the thread to see what Dan is going to say...

Plus I like the word verification... It says, "sownvil" this time, and I like to play word verification balderdash...

Molly Aley said...

In a study done on Christian marriages, missionary husbands and wives rated the highest satisfaction on their marriages. Pastor's wives were the WORST. The funny thing is, the pastors themselves rated their marriages pretty high! Their wives didn't think so, though...

Fact is, you're not allowed to show your real feelings when you are a pastor's wife. Some of the commenters here show why: pastor's wives are NOT ALLOWED to not like their job, they are NOT ALLOWED to express their real thoughts and feelings...unless they want their spirituality called into question.


And she's not allowed to be a part of "the ministry", either, unless it's in "PW-approved" territory, like, say, leading a children's choir, playing piano, or running a nursery. If she doesn't find great fulfillment there, so what? SHe has to do it anyway (or face the disapproval of the congregation). IT's just better for her if she fakes that she loves it. Trust me.

If she's a theologian type or a leader, she might as well just put a paper bag over her head. She'll be a much better "support role" that way, because believe me, there's no room for you in the church world if you are a PW who actually enjoys theology or have the gift of administration or leadership. It's hard enough to be a *normal* woman in the church with those gifts, let alone be the wife-who-lives-in-the-fish-bowl.

When it comes to parenting, might as well call yourself a single mom. Including when you go on church camping trips or do anything else with your church family. Keep that in mind before you pop out those babies. Don't think of church "family activities" as time to be together as a family. Ha. What is that, anyway?

For those who tell the women to buck up and be more spiritual, why don't you spend a year in their shoes, and then say that.

It takes a special breed to be happy as a pastor's wife.

And it should cause all of us to seriously question the kind of model that makes for this unhappy of a life.

(Can you tell I was a pastor's wife or what?)...

beyondbluestockings said...

Dan, I'm with Tom on with this one. I have just sat through 76 comments (yawn!) and not read what you thought yourself. Uncharitable of you, that is.

Personally (just so I'm in with the rules..) I thought it well portrayed what goes on when pastors have a skewed idea of what their "ministry" entails. It would seem that those who are genuine in their desire to serve the church often take on the role of all of these;

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ


Those "in the ministry" who are glory seeking lovers of money will obviously suffer the same fate, but may take it more as par for the course.

my 2cents ;)

Live As If said...

I think the video is campy and mocks the behaviors of the pastor and his wife.

But the interesting thing about that is that the 'over the top' caricatures and situations and behavior (i.e., suit & tie in bed, kid hiding his bible or baptizing her doll) are great material to get (potential) real conversations going about what constitutes appropriate boundaries and behaviors.b

Susan said...

No, Tom and Dan, I'm NOT a "similarly-obsessed weirdo" as Tom would describe it. Tom does have a point, however: What DOES Mr. Phillips think about it?

(Or, even better, what does MRS. Phillips think about it?)

Mx5 said...

Kirby,
Can't argue with your quote. Not sure why you thought it would offend me, but rest assured, no offense taken ;-)

No doubt there is a lot of joy in the journey. I just didn't like the video, and in a larger sense the fact that it fairly accurately represented the expectations that a pastor should not be expected to have joy in anything but the church.

FWIW, I am a true pastor's wife - and an honest one. There is a ton of stress associated with the calling. While I call myself a PW, more accurately, I am my husband's wife and will follow him and serve with him wherever the Lord decides, whether that's in full time ministry (as it has been for the past 23yrs) or in some other job.

Blessings!

DJP said...

I had drafted a very long comment, then (after a good sleep) realized I could say it much more briefly. To wit:

Two of the myths that thrive in dark corners of "evangelicalism":

1. Pastors by and large are worthless, useless, hypocritical, vain, arrogant, self-entered blow-hards.

2. Women by and large are martyred, oppressed, abused saints who would be best-served if they were put at the command-center of the universe.

While (A) some of the scenes are undeniably funny, and (B) IF taken as a warning against foolish and abusive lone-wolf workaholism among pastors it makes a valid point, I see this video as feeding, rather than challenging, these myths.

The result would be simply to pile on further guilt, misery, doubt, indecision and self-reproach to pastors already inclined that way; and to feed bitter, resentful, rebellious unbelief in women already inclined that way.

None of which do I see as actually serving God nor the church.

stratagem said...

Dude, read your invitation again.

It says, "Some really good folks are really loving this... I'm having a set of differing reactions. ...What's your response, and why?"

What did you think of the video?

Not "What do you think about other people's responses to the video?"


Dan (or, "Dude", if you prefer) I thought I saw you write something agreeing with how another person took the video, rather than simply your own thoughts. So this may be a matter of you didn't like what I say and you are trying to make this a case of "do as I say, not as I do."
My point was, most of the people on here did take the video with a healthy sense of self-deprecating humor; kudos. To those who didn't, I would ask you to consider if you would have had the same response to a similar video about used-car salesmen (or cowboys, as the original song lyricized). If not, then this is not a stand on principle, it is simply a case of not liking the idea of having your own profession criticized, even good-naturedly.

DJP said...

Yes, Stratagem, while there are overlaps, there is a difference between my role here and yours.

You might also have noted I had already taken off after another person for sneering at everyone who took the video more seriously than he did. Though I always value your contributions, how could I take off after the other fellow, then shrug when you did basically the same thing (though less sneeringly)?

So if the pressing thing you feel the need to say is that anyone who doesn't take the video as lightly as you did, then they must be taking themselves too seriously, you've said it. Now, please, leave it.

Jim Pemberton said...

My $.02:

Hilarious video. Good caricature based firmly in reality. The boy and the Bible and the girl baptizing the baby were great. BTW, I've heard of pastors kids "playing church" and "baptizing" and "marrying" other kids. I know from having talked to my pastor how many calls he gets from so-called members he's never met in his 20 years of pastoring here who want a funeral or a wedding. BTW, I had this conversation with him on a mission trip that he WASN'T leading.

We have a full staff here and they stay busy, but most of our ministries, particularly missions, are lay-led, and I know this is rare. Here as we approach our Christmas concert series, several of us typically fuss at our worship leader for spending too much time worrying over the details while there's plenty of us around to take care of the minutia. He needs to go home and enjoy his family.

I would that congregations would be more like Cadillacs to be driven rather than herds of cattle to be prodded. A pastor that lives like the pastor in this video has a congregation that's not being the Body of Christ.

Tiffany said...

As a (TMS grad) pastor's wife, I have to say that this is so far from my experience! Can I just take a moment to praise my husband for shepherding me and my family?

Because of the unity and love in our family, the people in the church would have to love and respect my husband even more...thus furthering the cause of Christ. We open our home to many (and yes stay late and fellowship after church with four kids under five years). I hope that people will see how to "do family life" by observing the way my husband loves and leads our family. I couldn't resist posting here. I love my husband!!! : )

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

I will try this again without the typos.

Molly said, It takes a special breed to be happy as a pastor's wife.

Agreed. We would call such a woman, "Spirit filled", and anyone else, carnal. <grin>

Charles E. Whisnant said...

My Dad was a pastor, and he Dad and Mom raised two pastors. And I thought the video was great. True also. My wife and I of 40 years saw the humor and truthfulness in it. HAY a little truth doesn't hear.

beyondbluestockings said...

"Molly said, It takes a special breed to be happy as a pastor's wife.

Agreed. We would call such a woman, "Spirit filled", and anyone else, carnal. < grin >"

Sweet :D

Dan, you said...

Two of the myths that thrive in dark corners of "evangelicalism":

1. Pastors by and large are worthless, useless, hypocritical, vain, arrogant, self-entered blow-hards.

2. Women by and large are martyred, oppressed, abused saints who would be best-served if they were put at the command-center of the universe.


The first one's a myth? Seriously? I would have bought that as solid fact - with the proviso that it is acknowledged that they are such, no more uniquely than the rest of humanity. We are a fallen race.

The second I would amend to;

Women by and large believe they are martyred, oppressed, abused saints who would be best-served if they were put at the command-center of the universe, because they are, after all, born with the sinful nature of Eve, the first woman to be deceived in this way, and the very reason they are denied the pulpit ;)

Tim Bushong said...

Many are called, but few can stand it...

Doug Hibbard said...

Well, this has been discussed from all angles, and I should have said my peace earlier before everyone got into the Calvinism or Scripture posts.

I think the video was a good point of challenge for pastors about where our focus is. I do not think that this was something that needed to be posted or emailed unto all people. This was something that I watched, laughed at, then thought about. That's what a good satirical look is supposed to do. This was an overdone caricature. I've done that kind of thing to drive home a point as well.

The issue for me is one of motivation, which we can't know for certain, but I question why this video is circulating the internet, and, at last check, on Youtube. (along with some others from the same church). This is not something that is going to spread the Gospel to anyone, but rather cause a lost and dying world to have one more reason to hold God's church in contempt.

In other words: if I had seen this at a pastor's conference or back in seminary days, I would have taken it as a challenge to not go that far, and to remove the stinkin' phone from its implant status on the side of my head. Now, I'm thinking that when someone in my community sees me on my phone, they'll be thinking about this video, about me neglecting my family, about making ministry all about me, rather than realizing that I, just like many others, forget what my wife sent me to Wal-mart for, and have to call and ask.

Sorry to waffle on it, but that's how I see it. I worked on a project in seminary that created a satire of certain church-planting methods, but you've most likely never seen it. The professor has the only copy (it was on a vhs tape), and he uses it in class to make a point. If he put it on Youtube, I'd be ashamed. Why? Because somethings are family business, and we don't need to air that out in front of everybody else.