Oh, the Life of a Pastor

A dear and faithful friend shared a funny incident with me last Saturday. But before I relate it to you, I should mention (for the sake of context) that I pastor a fairly progressive nondenominational church that is not yet ten years old. And my wife, the lovely Robin, is a professional counselor who works very long hours, as well as making herself available in sacrificial ways to our children, grandchildren, and to people in need. Also, our grown, married, and father-of-two son is a full-time Mac Genius who provides awesome service to our church with sound, practices and leads weekly worship for our youth group, and practices and participates in the worship band (Under Cover) that leads worship twice on Sundays.

So someone approached my friend just recently (he didn't mention the name, or even the gender) and said, in a semi-critical tone, "Robin's not the typical pastor's wife, is she?" My friend inferred that the speaker meant she doesn't lead children's ministry or the women's group, as "typical" pastor's wives do.

But here's the fun part. The person's next comment was, "Why does Bob's son have to be on stage every Sunday?"

Unfortunately, a golden opportunity was missed, because my friend never asked the person to clarify the seeming contradiction in those two statements. Is the pastor's wife supposed to be visible in certain areas, but not the pastor's son? Or should they both have chosen other ways of serving God and the church? Or something else?

But really, there is no contradiction at all. At least this person could verbalize his or her expectations. The pastor and his (or her) family are constantly measured against many more UNspoken (often unrealistic) expectations. In a church of several hundred people, those expectations are multiplied hundreds of times. So it's quite natural that different people's differing expectations would clash. It's just a tad unusual when they clash so apparently in one person and one conversation!

Oh, the life of a pastor!

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