By Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for over 40 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

    Learn to Say “No”

    Monday, April 18, 2022

    By Christy K.

    On the Confidante Facebook page, we often see posts about how to say no, being overwhelmed by church commitments, and how family time is drained by how we serve our churches. Finding a balance between church and family seems to be an issue with many of us.

    Interestingly, this is not specifically addressed in the Bible, to husbands and pastors or pastors’ wives regarding their service to the Lord, or anyone else for that matter. This has become a problem in today’s culture, and we have tried unsuccessfully to respond to the culture instead of referencing God’s word on the situation.

    Under the Holy Spirit’s direction, Paul shows us the priorities laid out by God:

    • God first (Ephesians 5:1) –  “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
    • Mate (Ephesians 5:22-25) – “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…”
    • Family (1 Timothy 3:4-5) (regarding an elder or deacon in the church) –  “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)”
    • Work (Colossians 3:23) –  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

    These are very clear priorities. They are also permission to say “no” to events and requests of the church or church family when asked to do too much. This applies not just to the pastor’s wife, but also the pastor and everyone in God’s family!

    But you say, Christy, if I don’t do it, it won’t get done! Or your husband says the same thing…

    Then if it is not so important to the church family that it’s left to the pastor or pastor’s wife, perhaps God is releasing you from that burden! Perhaps it’s not on God’s agenda? Think about many things that “we’ve always done” or “we HAVE to do” and run them through God’s plan – if He provides the workers, then do it.

    The busyness of our world and culture has spilled into the church and created expectations of the pastor’s family that are not expected in any other career. Leading by example in this can create a culture shift and help others realize the out-of-balance priorities in which they are living as well.

    It’s time to re-evaluate what we do in the church and why, and its impact on our families. It is ok for our husbands to say no (even though it goes against their nature, in most cases), for us to say no. The best way I found to do this for myself is to determine where my passions are for serving and what my limitations are with respect to my abilities, time, and family. It’s easy for me to say no to a request to help on a team or committee when I can suggest someone else who has not been asked and has the skill set necessary or doesn’t come so easily to mind for others. The same can be said of our husbands, but they may need to read this blog.

    Looking at our involvement in church activities in this way is God-honoring. God made His priorities for us clear, and we can take the lead on this in our own families and churches and communities and impact them all for the glory of God.

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

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