5. Being a pastor means you live in a glass house.
I remember when my dad was between jobs at different churches and we visited some other churches in our area. It was the first time in my life that I remember walking in and out of church without being talked to. It was weird. Church for me was not just a service, or volunteering…it was being the last one to leave, it was talking with tons of people I hardly knew…it was almost like being a politician by trying to make my life sound like it was going well (not that it wasn’t).
There are those who have lived this life that are all nodding in agreement.
So what do I mean about living in a glass house…I think I mean that privacy is something you have to fight for. People want to know anything and everything about you and your family’s life. People love to talk about you and that can be the good things and bad. Growing up my mom was always big on teaching us to have our privacy. From not answering the phone at home, to encouraging us to only tell people only so much…she made sure that those we talked about life with were people that could be trusted. In church life, the person who is your friend can quickly become your enemy. I’m not saying that this is ok, but rather just an example of our depravity.
We are all both good and bad, and that line is so blurred because we are good and bad at the same time. People want to know that their pastor and his or her family is normal, but they also want them to be above reproach. People love to put them on a pedestal. This is the main reason that pk’s are thought of as rebels. They feel the pressure of living up to dad or mom all the time. When they aren’t perfect, they decide to just let loose.
I think we need three things to be able to deal with the drama of being in a pastor’s family.
- Thick skin. You have to let the crap just bounce right off of you.
- A strong family. When my dad was going through the worst season in his life we had a lot of family talks. I even came down from college for some of them. My dad didn’t include all the details but we were able to understand things from his perspective. We were a unified front. We also would pray as a family usually once a week. I hated it as a kid, but I appreciate that it united us with God and each other.
- The ability to have a life outside of church. Obviously there is a line here. Now and then things come up that need to be attended to when the pastor isn’t “working.” However, things can come up all the time if you let them. Turn off your phone, don’t check your email…live a life outside of church or it’ll rot you away.