Saturday, March 17, 2007

Life in a Fishbowl

It is often said that the pastor of a congregation and his family live life in a fishbowl. I'm not so sure that's true - at least in our situation. We've lived in this small south Texas town for 9 years. Our home is a parsonage belonging to our congregation. We live right next door to the church. It is true, that the congregation gets a good look at us and our home each time they come to church. However, I feel that we know so much more about them, than they know about us. From my kitchen window, I see who is parked outside, visiting with the pastor. I know who comes to church every Sunday, and who make it inside only once a month, or even worse, only on Easter and Christmas. I have a feel for people that I don't think they have about me.

We have an awesome congregation! My life here as the pastor's wife couldn't be better. This congregation had gone YEARS without having a married pastor. When my husband was called to serve here, there were no "pastor's wife" jobs. People were reluctant to ask for my help with things. Consequently, I have been free to join the things I wanted, to help out where my gifts lie, and to simply be an active part of the congregation. (I will tell you though - recently at a Lions club meeting a man - not a member of our church - asked me to play the piano since I was the "Preacher's wife." He was shocked that I didn't play...)

Therefore, maybe we all live life in a fishbowl, no matter what our station in life.


Mrs. Darling said...

My pastors wife doesnt play either and everyone thinks she should! LOL

Welcome to the blog world. I'm on my fourth year of blogging and what a journey it's been! Hope you find it as lovely as I have.

Anonymous said...

What is it about a congregation that places so many expectations on the pastor's wife? My husband has served two rural churches in Southwestern IL, 4 hours south of our hometown in IL, for almost 4 years now and I have received more gripes and complaints about what I don't do or how I don't always bring my daughter to one church but am active in the other. She is 9 years old and I am not going to make her sit through 3 hours of sermons; especially when the first service begins at 9 a.m. and they won't offer a Sunday school service; the second service at the other church, 15 miles away, does. Plus, this small, rural town is not all that friendly and the small school, is very competitive. I just hope our next move is to a larger town and much closer to home. I am a wife and a mother FIRST!

Caroline said...

I was so saddened by your comment. I am praying for you – you are in a most difficult situation it seems. I wish I could contact you personally – please e-mail me at
My husband also serves two congregations. We are blessed that they are both very understanding. Your role as wife and mother is top priority. That you are a pastor’s wife is simply because of his profession. My husband and I have older children (21 & 16) and we have been at this parish for 9 years. My daughter was already a teen-ager when we arrived, and the congregation loved her right from the beginning. Our son was 6, all boy, and full of energy. The congregation for the most part loved him too. There were a few that expected him to act better than the other kids his age, or to participate in EVERYTHING even though the other kids weren’t expected to. My husband and I, however, really focused on NOT holding our kids to a higher expectation. We have strived to raise kids who will remain devout Christians and not fall away from the church as many PK’s do. My husband is not shy about setting people straight who have held our kids to higher standards that their own kids. I agree that church at 2 services is too much for a child. Would their children do that?? I think not. And kids need Sunday school. I would maybe make an effort to attend the one church once a month. Or if your child has a friend to play with on Sunday afternoon, maybe just you go twice a month. Because our kids were older, I attend both services each Sunday, but the kids do not. I feel like you need a friend who is “safely far away” that you can grumble to. Sometimes that makes all the difference. A church member is not the person to complain to, as I’m sure you know. Please feel free to e-mail me…I would be happy to be a sounding board for you any time.