One of the great misconceptions about people in the ministry is that we are “different”.
1. Congregations and community (even family!) will hold us to a higher standard of behavior, often throwing our “Christianity” in our faces. However, these same people do not feel that they should behave according to these same standards.
2. When introduced for the first time, people often get weird and will do any of the following:
a) Apologize for not coming to church (keep in mind I’ve just met them}
b) Apologize for their vices (if they are currently smoking or drinking at the time of the introduction)
c) Announce that they are Baptist, or Catholic, or any religion other than Methodist. (I think this is their way of telling me not to expect them in church nor try to get them to come. I couldn’t care less if that’s how you feel about it- evangelism isn’t my calling.)
d) Avoid me entirely once they’ve met me. (BTW I hate being introduced as a minister’s wife in a social setting. It’s just not the same as saying ‘she’s a doctor!’ In the past, friends have gotten a kick out of doing this until I asked them to stop. I have more identity than just who I am married to.)
e) Act surprised when they see me doing something human. (I admit, I don’t fit the ‘normal’ image of what most people are accustomed to, but I’m not some great sinner just because I’ll drink a glass of wine in public. Let’s be realistic, people.)
I’ve come to live by a few simple rules based on my experience as a minister’s wife.
1. The first person at the door in a new appointment is most likely going to be the biggest trouble-maker in the church. (I feel I should explain this a little. It’s not necessarily the very first person at the parsonage door, but rather there is almost always that one person, or group of persons, who are pushy and forever trying to get the pastor in his/her pocket. Trust me when I say, this pastor does not fit into anyone’s pocket.)
2. You may be able to fool yourself, but others can and will see through that false character. They may not say anything, but they’re thinking it.
3. With ^ that being said, people wear their greatest fears and insecurities on their sleeves. You can usually tell because they are pushing so hard to convince you of the exact opposite. Character is what you do when no one is looking- there is a serious lack of it.
4. If you’re gossiping or back-biting (about me or my husband), trust me, it’s getting back to us. You’re not the only one with a big mouth. And the listeners are usually talkers too, or else they wouldn’t be listening.
5. If you truly don’t know me, in no way could you possibly ever assume anything about me. Not even by what you see.
6. People in general could use a little more humility. The world would be such a better place.
7. Holding on to anger only hurts yourself. If you’re “mad” at your minister, do the right thing and handle it like a grown-up. Don’t just harbor anger and resentment. You’re only limiting your blessings that way. We’ll move on and forget you eventually, but you’ll still be a bitter betty.