A Lousy Pastor’s Wife

From time to time people get upset with me because I am unable to personally connect with them.  Most folks in this category simply quit coming without addressing it.  Ever once in a while, I will get an email with their frustration.  I am polite in response and let them know that I am sorry.

The truth will not console them, however.  The truth is that I will not be able to connect with everyone personally.  If that is what they need, then they will have to go to a smaller church where the senior pastor can personally be involved in everyone’s life.  In our church, I don’t know everyone personally.  In fact, I don’t know every one’s name or….even their face.  I see people in the store that go to our church and I don’t recognize them.  I don’t say anything to them (because I don’t recognize them).  I am not trying to be rude, but I don’t know them.

I intimately know all the people that get involved in the church.  I know every man that attends Wed morning prayer at 6am.  I can tell you about their marriage, their kids, their hangups, their physical fitness, etc.  I know all the volunteers that get to the church at 8am on Sunday morning.  I know all the people that attend leadership meetings and serve at events like ‘trunk or treat’.

I am saying all this because this past week Erica got her first letter about not being a good pastor’s wife.  I could tell you all about the letter, but I will let you read it for yourself.  (I have taken out or changed anything that might reveal the author.)

Hello Erica could you do me a favor and remove my friend request from FB. I keep getting mssg from ur wall. I realize that you declined my request some time back. I found that very strange be it that Ive attended your church for the last few years and that im a member there as well. You dont even know who i am I have stopped going to ur church due to that reality. I hope that is something you will change. See the people in ur church that you dont hang out with everyday. It hurt when ur own pastor doesnt know who you are.

Erica read the letter and did really well.  She was disappointed that this person was upset.  It is the puncturing of an ideal.  Expectations of a pastor’s wife are often too lofty to fill.

I want to go on record to say that Erica is not a lousy pastor’s wife.

If you are looking for a pastor’s wife that: sings, plays an instrument, preaches, leads the women’s ministry, is at every function, works at the church in an office, has a church email address, will be at every service, etc, you will be disappointed.  She was not created to lead in this way.

However, if you are looking for an example of: an incredible wife, a loving mother, a devout Christ-like follower, a pursuer of God’s plan, some to help you through pregnancy and child-birth, a giver, a helper, an adopter, someone who will tell you the truth even if it hurts…then you will be extremely satisfied!

Here is her response to the email:

I am sorry that this happened.  It is true that I don’t know everyone in our church.  I will definitely dissapoint when it comes to that.  I have three kids and often a foster kid or two on top of that, so my plate is full.  It is hard for me to be friends with everyone and to know who each person is in a church as large as ours.  It is because I don’t recognize everyone that I don’t accept every friend request; I would rather people I don’t know personally not read about my personal life.  I would have liked it if you would have sent me a message and let me know who you were with your friend request; then maybe we could have gotten to know each other.  I removed your request like you asked.
~Erica

Yeah, that is classic ‘Erica’ and I love it.

+robin

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About pastorrobin

Hello. I pastor PromiseLand Church in San Marcos, TX. I am married to Erica, and we have 3 kids: Kennady, Jude, and Avery. All little ones! Visit our church site at www.psmchurch.com

Posted on July 19, 2011, in Church Business, My Family. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. From a pastors wife perspective…thank you for writing this and I hope you can see the high five from here!!!

  2. Mike Hollifield

    I agree that it is very hard to have a personal relationship with everyone in the church. However, I do feel that if we, who call PSM our church, would get more involved with different avenues of the church, then we would experience the intimacy one may be lacking in. I’m thankful to have great pastors to be that Godly examples for my family & I. I’d personally like to thank you & Sis Erica for all you do!

  3. erica is the best. period.

  4. We got the high five!!

  5. I know you Hollifields very well. It took effort from us both. Thanks for your connection!

  6. Good grief! I wonder how people would respond if they got a letter about what a disappointing congregation member they are. I’m just sayin…

  7. And, Erica is a refreshingly real pastor’s wife. We are so blessed.

  8. Erica and Heidi sound alot alike. You go, Erica!

  9. Gwynda Miranda

    Oh my… I would like to say that shocks me but…NOT. If this person had taken the opportunity to get to know “their” pastors they would know that Erica’s plate is abundantly full!! Very well replied Erica. Kudos!! We “the ones who take opportunities to know you” love you both and thank God for placing you in our lives.

  10. Thank you everone for the encouragement!! I can feel the love! 🙂

  11. understanding the offended

    If you look in the Strong’s dictionary, the definition of “Pastor” is “to walk as a friend”. To go to the store and see someone you know has been to your service and you DON’T speak to them because you don’t know them…that makes me sad. Robin, if your church is getting to big for you to truly pastor people, maybe you should consider getting other pastors on board that can handle that for you, or maybe you should pray about your true calling. As Elizabeth Wharton said, “I’m just sayin…”

  12. To “understanding the offended”

    Thanks for commenting on the post.

    I’m not sure what word you looked up in Strongs. “Pastor” from Ephesians 4:11 is “Poiman”, and the definition is as follows:
    1) a herdsman, esp. a shepherd
    a) in the parable, he to whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow
    2) metaph.
    a) the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church
    1) of the overseers of the Christian assemblies
    2) of kings and princes

    My grocery store story was written wrong. I should have added a sentence or two to clarify. When I am in the store, I do not know that he or she has been to the church. It is later that I find this out. If I saw someone in the store that I had recognized in the service, I: would speak to them whether I knew them or not. The point of the story is to show that I don’t even recognize faces much less names.

    I’m fairly certain that the fruit in my life reflects that I am walking in my ‘true calling’.

    We do have other ministers on staff that assist in official role of pastor. However, as I alluded to in the blog post, pastors can only pastor folks that make themselves available. The person originally referenced in story did ZERO to get to know anyone in the church (much less my wife). In fact, she only attended church maybe 20 times in 4 years. Most of that was in the first 4 months. Just as the Strong’s definition says above, sheep commit themselves and follow the precepts of the shepherd. Their is a great deal of responsibility on the role of the sheep to submit to Shepherd and then hang out with the flock.

  13. Mike Hollifield

    Amen!

  14. I have to say that this truly saddens me! My dad was a pastor for the first 16 years of my life. He still continues to minister in his home church. I can say from personal experience that being a pastor, pastors wife, and a pastors child is very stressful! Sometimes people tend to put way to much pressure on the family of a pastor. Some people tend to have unrealistic expectations of a pastors family. I can honestly say that my husband and I have been attending Promiseland since we moved to San Marcos 4 1/2 years ago all though it was not faithfully until the past few months. If Pastor Robin or his wife past me in the store, they would not know I attended their church and I will take all the blame for that! I have not got involved or volunteered. It is MY fault and my fault alone! This is something my husband and I are working on changing but for now it is the reality! Unfortunately, I have seen a side of the church that most do not get to see (not Promiseland but ones my father has been the pastor of) and people who feel this way are not uncommon even though they are at fault.

    To Erica I would like to say I am sorry!! Not everyone that you do not know personally feels the same way. I know the pressures of being a pastor’s wife can be very overwhelming at times. Especially when you have a family to take care of. I have seen my mom go through some things I would never wish to go through! And I know that sometimes it can be frustrating when people who do not know what you go through on a daily basis have unrealistic expectations. Even though I do not know you personally, I think you are an AWESOME Pastors wife and I support you and your family!!! Keep up the great work and hopefully we get the chance to meet soon!

  15. Having been military, I have been in the core of many ministries all over the world. The complaint is always the same. However, it never ceases to amaze me that the people of God, who state that they love God and Read God’s word, don’t know the Word of God.

    Exodus Chapter 18 READ THE ENTIRE CHAPTER (the beginning of the true weariness of ministry, Growth negates pull, which then negates Wisdom) Verse 17 So Moses’ father in law said to him, “The thing you do is not good. both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourselves…(continue on your own time with God)”

    Many so often forget what the Priest of God’s duties are. He is not a Piggybank, He is not YOUR HUSBAND, He is not your handyman, or the handler of your honey do’s. He is the Man of God, chosen to pray, love and guide you to the One and Only True and Living God! How many of you come to work and sit without doing anything and then blast your boss for not having been invited to his barbecue last weekend? Really

    And let us not forget the issue of the “PASTOR’S WIFE”. I have served many Pastor’s wifes and again the issues all over the world are the same. “She don’t smile enough, she don’t sing, she don’t come to our functions, she don’t…” Many women have forgetten their First Ministry, chasing after the pulpit. HOME. Be blessed to have a young pastor and wife, so that through their lives they can teach you how you must love and cherish your family and by doing so Bless God Tremendously. SHAME ON ANY MAN, MUCH LESS A PASTOR THAT WILL NOT DEFEND HIS WIFE FOR THE SAKE OF THE MINISTRY. Oh, you don’t believe me, Lets ask Miriam and Aaron…Numbers 12:1-13. Now if God will stand up and defend the wife of the man of God, don’t you think the man of God should protect and defend his own flesh?

    YOU GO! PASTOR STEELE, I AM PROUD TO SEE ANY MAN THAT WILL WALK IN GOD’S TRUTH AND DEFEND HIS WIFE BY REVEALING THE ENEMIES WORKS.

    AND FELLOW CHRISTIANS, READ YO BIBLE SOMETIMES! WITHIN IT IS TRUTH AND PRACTICAL WAYS TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD. AND DON’T WORRY, YOU WILL GET TO KNOW ME VERY WELL, BECAUSE I AM A SERVANT OF GOD. I DON’T GO ANYWHERE I CANNOT BE A PART AND GET BUSY WITH THE WORK FOR WHICH GOD HAS HELD ME ACCOUNTABLE.

  16. When are we going to throw out the “boxes”? It’s time to revisit John Eldridge’s book “Captivating”. Be who God created you to be and allow Him alone to define you.

  17. Michelle Hagerty

    Wait a minute- Erica doesn’t play the piano and sing?! That’s it; I’m out! Changing churches, cause that’s all I’ve been waiting for… 😉 JK! I think what I like about Erica is that she’s real (much like many PSM members I’ve met this past few years). She doesn’t fake having it all together… I uh mean.. Not like it’s obvious that she doesn’t… Haha. Good blog, Robin and good response Erica

  18. I’ve pretty much always been the type to be close to my pastors and their families, so I’ve seen first hand the kind of things they have to face for no relevant reason. I started to say “things they have to go through,” instead of “face” but thankfully you have the choice to see it, address it, as Erica did, and move on. You actually don’t “have to go through it” and the realization of that just brought a smile to my face and made me happy for you.

    As you know, Robert and I have been married 4 years this December and we are so blessed. It’s wonderful to be in love with a man who will put God before me, as it should be. You could definitely say we’ve had an eventful, busy time during our first four years, lol, barely have had time to be newly weds. Even as much as I love him though, we’ve been growing more and more in love lately, with all we’ve been through and I know it will continue to get more amazing. We’re learning more about being best friends and are getting very close in that way. (We fell in love right away.) Some of it feels like we’re being pruned and it’s uncomfortable, but it’s awesome. I’m ashamed that he didn’t really know how goofy I am. And when I told him I wish we would talk more, I had very little idea of what was all is in that mind of his, lol. Etc! I’ve often thought and said, things always get better and deeper with God. Your Godly relationships are one of the best examples.

    All of that came out because when I saw your post, I was here in my office rooting for you for having such open admiration for your wife. And for Erica, because I’m sure she has no doubt that you have the utmost respect for her and are always there going “you’re the best baby and I’m your biggest fan!,” just as Rob and I do. And I luv it, for all of us :-)) We all have many aspects to grow and be better in and I’m so thankful to have good examples around us. We’re proud to call you friends and pastors~ Always, Ivana

  19. UPDATE!!! The lady mentioned in the original post returned to PromiseLand and asked for forgiveness!
    Erica and her talk on frequent basis at church.
    AMEN!

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