July 5, 2016

Great Expectations in Ministry

Expectations are tricky things for pastor's wives. People in our congregations assume that we should act or think in a certain way, and we expect the same of them. Christians get into trouble when we take our focus off Christ and the truth of the Bible.

The scriptures tell us about the marvelous hope we have in God and the benefits of knowing Christ. They also show us how we ought to live with the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. However, we are not assured that our ministry will be always successful and without any pain. As much as the world tries to convince us, humans cannot expect to create their own perfect reality.

In a June 21, 2016 article on The Gospel Coalition website, Senior Editor Jeff Robinson writes about the "poison ivy of self-centered expectations" that he had for his church as a rookie pastor. He built a fictional church in his mind that was quite successful, filled with all agreeable people and void of much that caused him anxiety. Although this piece is written with pastors in mind, it has application to their wives, as well.

Robinson gives six reasons why having such great expectations for a church is lethal. For example in reason two, he says that the pastor can become disappointed when reality doesn't live up to fiction. According to Robinson, when you try to reach a standard that neither you nor your congregation can meet, "you will be frustrated with them, and they will be frustrated with you." Instead, he says, "...you are called to love the congregation you have, not the one you desire."

"6 Ways a Fictional Church May Wreck Your Ministry" is good advice for those who are right out of seminary as well as those people who are discontented with their current church and want to leave. Robinson gives convincing reasons why we should not create what he calls a "ministerial Disneyland," which has no basis in reality.

According to TGC's website, editor Robinson is also a church planter. In addition, he is a senior research and teaching associate for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and adjunct professor of church history at Southern Seminary. His article was accessed on July 4, 2016.


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