The messages unintentionally sent to and among ministry couples can be damaging. There are expectations of a pastor to grow the church and the assumptions of a pastor’s spouse to have a certain set of gifts or personality traits. These are challenges that can encroach on healthy boundaries of a ministry family and create anxiety and exhaustion.
Sean and Billie Sears talk about the circumstances that led up to a moment when a lack of healthy ministry boundaries nearly ruined their marriage and their family. In this episode, they talked with Ben and Lynley about mistakes they made early on in their church, and how they overestimated their ability to do it all. Their story is sobering, and they tell it with honesty and vulnerability.
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Quotes from this episode:
“At times I felt like a single mom raising our three kids and taking care of everything at home.. I felt like he was cheating on me with the church.”
“You can hide as a workaholic in ministry and be justified in your own mind because you’re doing this for God.”
“She wasn’t the most important thing to me. It was about me feeling better about myself, me being a successful church planter, me getting this church off the ground, me finding a way to provide for the family. It gave me an excuse to deemphasize her value in my life.”
“God orchestrated everything to empty us out so that he could fill us back up with the drive we needed to keep going and fight for our marriage.”
“Counseling was a huge value added to us. It helped us to communicate our dashboard before the ‘car’ overheated.”
“I was expected to be that pastor’s wife who was always there, meeting everyone’s needs, looking prim and proper, and having everyone over in my home. And I’m not that kind of person.”
“I’m an introvert, and I didn’t understand how God was going to use me in this position. I’m not the pastor’s wife who speaks and organizes things. I can’t do that, because it empties my tank and leaves me nothing for my family.”
“Pastors’ wives shouldn’t feel like they have to do something that is totally outside their personality style.”
“We did things together as a family for our church plant to the extent we were able. When the kids and I were at our limit, we’d take a step back. That’s what helped me enjoy ministry.”
“The idea that we have to appear perfect in front of everyone is a ministry killer.”
“We’re running our families into the ground. God can replace you in the pulpit, but he’s not going to replace you in your home.”
- Lynley referenced these two previous episodes: Episode 5: The Problem with Guilt (Adam Mason) and Episode 8: Processing Grief in the Glass House (Erik and Katrina Reed)
- Follow Sean on Twitter.
Executive Producer: Joy Allmond
Produced and Edited by: Angie Elkins Media
Original Music by: Robert Elkins
Sound Engineering by: Dale Sandberg
Art Work by: Cameron Spooner