Tuesday, August 9, 2011

To the Pastor's Family...

Sometimes the life of a Pastor can be filled with drama, busy-ness, conflict, and disappointment.  I say this not to complain because I signed on for this and the stuff not so good comes with the good.  But at times I realize what impact this all has upon my family -- upon the family of any Pastor.  The acquaintance with good means familiarity with the not so good.

I cannot count the times that family plans have been interrupted by parish emergencies -- vacations post-poned, days off lost, family time with an absent dad.  I do not complain about this and indeed count it a privilege to be part of their lives when those in my parish encounter the darkest of life's days.  Now that my kids are pretty well grown, I am even more conscious of their sacrifice so that I could be there with others.  Crunched schedules interrupted by emergencies often means that the family loses.  I cannot count the times the ring of a phone or cell phone has changed everything that was going to happen that day or that week.

If there is conflict, the family is caught up in it (defending their loved one and wounded in the cross fire).  If there are parish struggles, the struggles follow the Pastor home at night and, whether openly discussed or hidden, they cast their long shadows over his home and family.  If there are people in need, their needs seem always to be greater or more urgent than the needs of the family (whether this is real or a perception).

I just wanted to take a moment to laud the real structure that supports every Pastor who is married -- the family.  They are honest with him when no one else is.  They are supportive of him when others are not.  They encourage him even when it means they lose out on time with him.  They ground him in life for His service to the Lord and to His Church.  Even when tensions exist at home, this is a reminder to the Pastor that life is real land messy, that words slip out in the midst of anger, that actions can deliberately or inadvertently wound.  As a Pastor I have learned from my family as much as I have learned from my parishes about these things.

So kudos to the Pastor's family -- to wives who share their husbands with a mistress known as the Church and to children who share their dads with his second family.  Kudos to the Pastor's family who ground him and his work upon the sturdy field of love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.  Kudos to the Pastor's family who did not necessarily sign on for this but who have taken the bad with the good and still hang in there.

Today as I approach the end of summer (school has begun and with it catechism class and a host of other seasonal parish activities), I lament the many things I had hoped to do over the summer -- most of which with my family -- and I marvel again over their support and sacrifice that makes what I do possible.  God bless you -- my wife and kids and the extended family so far away because this is where God has called me to serve.  God bless you!


scredsoxfan2 said...


May God Bless you for the good work you do in His name. I will pray for you and your family today.


Anonymous said...

One of the best things a pastor can
do for his family: Do not discuss
parish conflicts and parish politics
at home with your wife or any other
family member. You need to be
strong and not look for a shoulder
to cry on in your family circle.

If you need to discuss conflicts in
the parish, then talk to fellow
pastors in the circuit or district.
But do not burden your family.

Anonymous said...

Not just kudos, but blessings on your family, for whom I pray by name daily.

John said...

I wonder whether one's vocations as husband and father come after one's one's vocation as bread winner, no matter what that vocation may be.

Anonymous said...

Attention John

The Biblical Roles:
1) I am a Christian
2) I am a husband
3) I am a father
4) I am a pastor/plumber/engineer

Our first responsibility is to live
a new person in Christ, then our
family responsibilities and finally
our vocation/career

Anonymous said...

Pastor Peters as a PK, I appreciate this candid, well-written depiction of what life is truly like for the pastor's family.

However, be encouraged to stay on the battlefield for the Lord and I pray that your children are as supportive of you even now as adults.

While some moments were missed, I know that the most important ones, like my father walking me down the aisle at my wedding day is priceless. The fact that we have a weekly TV show that we indulge in together; and most of all serve the Lord together in spirit and in truth is the best!!!

Anonymous said...

So, anonymous, when your father/mother/spouse lay dying in the hospital, is it okay for the pastor to say his family comes first?

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, my question above was meant for the anonymous two posts before and not the PK who commented directly above my last post.