Pastors and Wives Share Your Burdens With Your Staff


Today’s post is for those who are pastors and pastors’ wives… in my heart of hearts  I pray that this will be taken in the spirit of encouragement.

If you can name it and it has something to do with the church and its’ members then it can be a stress in the life of you and your family.  Any type of stressor can become a burden when you are unsure of how to deal with something…  or you are waiting in prayer for God to give you an answer so you can move on in faith. Church life definitely can come with baggage — that type of baggage that makes you want to stay in bed on church days  or hide in your office as service times begin. It is not uncommon for unwanted circumstances to come at you in waves and for you to feel inadequately prepared to deal with them in wisdom and a right spirit.

If I could have a heart-to-heart with pastors and their wives about church staff and faithful church workers I would say this: “Friends, don’t bear your burdens alone.” And then I would gently say, “Don’t discount your staff as being people who will not understand your burdens.”

Hey, I know I’ve never been a pastor’s wife (yet) and you can come up with an excuse on the reasons why you hoard burdens upon your shoulders, but please allow me to explain…

We have served beside others or communicated with peers and have seen people we loved keep us from comforting them. We could discern that the weight of the daily in’s and out’s of ministry were bogging them down and causing the spark in their eyes to dim to a depressive state of mind. Yet, for some reason when God brought us as comforters to their door with hands empty and ready to carry some of their load, they slammed the door on us. This left two families with burdened hearts (theirs and ours) instead of a common bond of brother/sisterhood and unity from sharing the weight in their hearts.

Allow God to send comforters to you,  who will be a blessing. 

Never assume that the only ministry family that is suffering and bearing the load of life and ministry is the pastor’s family. If you have church staff or you have laymen that are whole-heartedly invested in your ministry then they also carry the burdens of ministry and responsibility of meeting the needs of people on their shoulders. Sin in church members affects them and their hearts too, it can consume their thoughts and prayers also.

Others may never know the degree of weight you carry because the accountability of the pastor is greater, but remember responsibilities weigh on each person’s life. A burden is a burden. They may not know all the details of counseling sessions or the diligence required to do all things decently and in order while ministering as a shepherd (or shepherd’s wife). Do not minimize their heart’s burdens as insignificant in comparison especially when their burdens are linked to the same church family as yours.

The hands of ministry workers, staff, and volunteers are tied when you separate yourself in a class all of your own and elevate yourself to some level of never being understood because of a position. One person or couple should not be bearing all the burden alone. We are meant to bear one another’s burdens because it fulfills the law of Christ. Christ  took all sin of the world upon Himself as He died in our place, He understands the concept of bearing the burdens of others.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Church staff in specific situations can often bear a harder burden because of the pressure that is applied from the expectations of the pastor believing they will never understand. They may want to understand, and see how it burdens the pastor. They can recognize how sin puts a blanket on each ministry that is effected by imperfect choices. Do not discount them from being a source of help and encouragement! Most people are capable of genuinely being able to be compassionate in heart toward you. They can understand the behind the scenes knowledge that comes along with being closely involved in the work of the church and respect the need for keeping them in confidence.

“But, what if!?”

Part of bearing one another’s burdens is being humble enough to share. One worry is whether we are sharing our heart’s contents with those who are trustworthy and that is a legitimate concern.  Time can only tell you if you can trust someone. Keeping burdens upon our shoulders because of fearing what other people may say or do (without giving them a chance) is just that, fear. “What if they tell other church members what we’ve talked about?” It is always wise to use discretion in specific matters and to keep information private if it is required.

I feel like I have to make disclaimers all the time because in this world we live in. This message will not fit with every pastor/pastor’s wife and church staff situation out there. There are pastors and their wives who will continue to bear their burdens. There are staff members who will still struggle to feel as if they cannot connect with their pastor/pastor’s wife. Above all, do as the hymn by Charles Tindley  states, “Leave it there, leave it there. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there. If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”  God is our greatest burden-bearer. No amount of troubles overwhelm Him when we cast those cares upon His shoulders.

Some of you will try to share their burdens with their staff and might be misunderstood or your “fears” may come true when a staff member unwisely shares your information with other people. For those situations I am truly sorry. You might be robbed of a blessing and I would suggest this: Keep praying. Be sensitive enough to share those burdens with someone you are close to so they can help you bear them (ministry friend, family member, etc.). Then, when the time is right and the Holy Spirit gives you a nudge, take a risk again somewhere in the future and share a burden. Share your prayer request, visions for the future of your church/ministries with your staff, and allow them to see the human part of your spirituality that needs God’s guidance.

Taking a risk here and there is part of the growing process. You may just find that your church staff will do exactly what you need and help carry that load and strengthen you in the process. Remember: You found beneficial qualities in their lives or you would not have hired them! The possibility of sharing these matters may allow you to see God work in His mysterious ways to take care of these burdens… we never know what God will do when we join together in prayer for the problems going on in our church. We may actually see victories against sin, repair in relationships, and spiritual growth but the benefit is that they are shared victories and growth instead of just personal.

Eliminate some of your stress by casting your cares upon the Lord and having enough confidence in your staff to be able to share matters that are on your heart. You need it, they need it, and Lord willing, growth will happen in the process. Your work and ministry is valuable, don’t bog yourself down if you can let others walk and work with you.



Hurting From a Distance

A gush of pain pours out from my heart every moment I think of the hurt.

The remorse I feel for the very situation is something I regret. To feel so depleted from inner energy and speechless from an inability to know how to comfort the pain of the one I love that is hurting.

This pain is not of mine own doing. Another has hurt not just someone that I love, but the whole family. Their hearts are broken more deeply than my own. Their tears have fallen and they now have questions about the future. What will they do now? Where will they go? How will they go on living with the ache in their hearts and stomachs from their great loss? Will they ever love again?

This is the heartache of our dear friends as they have offered a resignation to their church. They loved and served with many sacrifices and difficulties. They never pretended to be perfect people, but their hearts were open to helping, loving, and giving but often they were rejected. The toil at times was unbearable, like the tasks many of us face.

The hurt I hold in my heart feels so useless. It is the same hurt I have felt while carrying a healthy child in my womb and hearing of another woman having a miscarriage. My heart has cried for her and asked many questions of why and borne a burden of guilt for having been able to carry all of our children to term. Our ministry, although we have no guarantees, is blessed at this time. We face struggles, but they seem so minor in direct comparison of our friends’ great loss.

They are not the only to lose, their church loses in a multiplicity of ways…but that is its own separate discussion.

I do not know, more than just mere words and prayer how to comfort those I love from a distance. I want to rescue and help them. See their faces, hug their necks, place a hand upon their shoulders and reassure them of God’s promises. I don’t want to hear their voice of hurt on the phone and wonder how much of a front they are putting on to make me feel better.

These were friends that appeared in our lives as we were struggling in our marriage with two little boys, trying to get my husband through Bible college so we could follow God’s will. We were probably a sad excuse of anything back then. Their friendship brought us a sense of hope and family when we had been so far from our own. We were together for Thanksgiving, Easter, and many other celebrations of family events with a dash of everything else in between.

God gave them a beautiful home, about 5 miles away from our apartment. They would pick up the boys and I on their way to church on Wednesday nights, load up the carseats, we would hop in and buckle up and be off to the mid-week service. It was a good time of fellowship and burden sharing. I fell in love with their girls and her girls loved our boys. She and I were true friends.

Then we were called to our current ministry, they helped us load our moving truck and stay the night in their home before we set out on the new adventure of ministry. It was hard to say good-bye to them. It was not long afterward God impressed them to sell that beautiful home, and as my friend liked to say it, she believed they lived there because God wanted them near us. It boggles my mind in some ways that God would care so much for us both to have provided such a blessing of having nearby friends. Would we have made it through without them?

Some time later our friends finished their time at Bible college themselves, they are a bit older than us, but finished in record time. They went straight to the ministry where they are now… we have been able to see them at church camps, as well as in my husband’s home church during a holiday, while they were also there visiting their family. We were also able to visit them on one occasion and see the work God had given them firsthand.

I hurt here because they hurt there. It’s like watching a child falling in slow motion and being too far away to be able to rescue the child and getting there in time to pick them up off the ground. They are not my children, they are God’s and I know He loves them more than I do and will care for them better than I can. But even knowing that, I feel it is hardest at times to hurt with someone from a distance. My inability to fix or help the hurting person makes me feel like my hands are tied and my love is somehow meaningless.

So, when you are hurting in ministry and you have spilled your heart out to a fellow ministry friend that is across the miles, and you feel lonely…
know they might be grieving and hurting with you from a distance.

They may wish to bind your wounds, set you upon their beast, and take you to the inn like the Good Samaritan did.

They may be praying earnestly for your broken heart and wishing they could bear some of the pain with you.

They may be feeling grossly inadequate since words are their only means of comforting you.

If they had the money they might drive or fly just to see you and hug you and listen to your heart.

They may have to be brave enough to know that just wishing isn’t enough and have the faith to put you in God’s hands where you are already placed, and leave you there because He loves you more than they do.

They may have questions too about the reasons why.

Love those friends that hurt with you. You may have few of them but they must be loyal and kind people to which God has given you to aid you on your journey of following His will.

If you hurt like I do from a distance to those you love, let them know! Declare your love and use God’s Word to encourage them. And if necessary, make a sacrifice, to assure them that you care. It just may be what gives them enough strength to make it to the next day.