Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Brenda (the other one!) Asked

This question is from Brenda (the other one!):

I think you commented on one of my posts recently that you and your hubby had pastored before. I'd like to know more about that.

Ok, Brenda, first off I admire those, like you and your husband, who feel they have a true calling to be pastors. It's a hard but rewarding job, I'm sure you'll agree. It just wasn't for us.

Bear in mind that this is strictly our experience and will be coming from the 'been there-done that' perspective. Hindsight. But there is a happy ending!

Yes, we pastored two churches in the late 80's-early 90's. One in Wichita Falls, TX, and the other in Sunny's hometown of Fowler, CO.

The reason I say 'been there-done that' is because, in hindsight, we have seen things from the outside looking in, as well as realizing that Sunny just wasn't called to be a pastor.

In the 80's we were involved in a 'fellowship' that heavily emphasized, and still does to this day, church planting. Of course, the headship all had the vision of 'reaching the world for Jesus'. And they were successful in that they had tons of churches all over the U.S. and many other countries. Unfortunately, there were many couples who felt they were 'called' because they were emotionally moved by a pastor with lots of charisma who's goal was to plant as many churches as he could to make his church look good, and so he could climb the 'corporate ladder' and make a name for himself. Consequently, many people were sacrificed on the alter of the Pastor's ego in the process.

(Please understand that not every pastor in this 'fellowship' fits this description. Many did really have a heart to see people come to the Lord. This is just our experience as a whole.)

As long as you were doing his bidding (in the name of submission) you were always in his good graces, and he would groom you to someday pastor your own church. The biggest mantra for these church planter's was, "We send the very best". If you disagreed or voiced an opinion that didn't flow with his (and didn't back down) you were considered in rebellion and bullied from the pulpit if not face-to-face.

Unfortunately, we succumbed to being emotionally moved and eventually rose up to the top--cream of the crop--and were sent out to start our own church. Yes, we chose to go. After pastoring for several years and two churches later, we realized thru much prayer that this wasn't what we were called to do.

Eventually our eyes were opened to the truth and many of us left the 'fellowship'.

15 years ago we were invited to become the Administrator for a church here in Flagstaff. Everything was hunky-dory for several years. We were excited in this church, because the teaching emphasized developing our own personal relationship with the Lord through the Word and prayer. Unfortunately a few ago years, the 'red flags' of control and manipulative tendencies began to rise. Thankfully, this time we were able to see what was beginning to happen all over again. We thought we could just ride it out. Certainly it wouldn't swing back in that direction, but it did and after much prayer, we decided to graciously say Adios.

The good news is that we haven't 'thrown out the baby with the bathwater'. We are closer in our walk with the Lord today than we've ever been. We are part of a marvelous Body of Christ. We just want to be in His will.

The biggest lesson learned: Study the Word. Unfortunately, just because it comes over the pulpit doesn't mean it's gospel--no offense to your pastor husband. Read the Word in context. So many times we just pull out a verse and 'claim' it for whatever suits the need at the time, when if it was read in context it would mean something entirely different. A Greek/Hebrew dictionary is a great and effective tool.

I know, Brenda, that this probably isn't the answer you might've been expecting. I do wish you and your husband the Lord's best as you continue to fulfill your calling as pastors.

It's All Baby Still in the Tub Good!


  1. This was a very interesting story! When I was a teen, we were involved in a small church where the pastor had a very characteristic personality but began to show some very dangerous control issues within this small church.
    So glad your negative experiences didn't turn you away from church- and especially Jesus!
    But you're so right...it takes a very special calling to be a pastor, I know I would never want to do it, though I am grateful for all the ones out there that are truly called and have a sincere and caring heart.
    Thanks for sharing your story...I'll have to go read some of the other questions and answers! :)

  2. Thanks Brenda for sharing these very personal experiences. We had a pastor who use to say "If you haven't had a "church experience" you haven't been going to church." Sadly there is much truth in that. The fact you two are closer to God than ever further confirms Romans 8:28. God is good!!!! God has a plan for each of our lives.

  3. My husband has been a bi-vocational Baptist minister for about 29 years.

    Nothing quite like church politics is there?

    It is why my motto, my theme song remains...Just give me Jesus...all I want..all I'll ever need, my blessed Lord and Saviour!

  4. Brenda,
    I'm not surprised at your answer. I thought it might be something like that. Under the very best of circumstances, pastoring is tough, and the calling HAS to be from God, or it won't work.
    We know many in our organization who just want to "climb the corporate ladder", and they look down their noses at us because we aren't interested in that. Our calling is to love people and preach Jesus to a lost and dying world. I am so sorry that your experience was not good. I really do understand your feelings. And I thank the Lord that you "didn't throw out the baby with the bath water", because then I never would have met you and been inspired by your true heart for God.
    Thanks for sharing your heart.
    :-) Brenda - the other one!

  5. You had a very long road. I watched my husband pastor and one of the things he says all the time is: You (the church members) are not here to help me (the pastor) reach my destiny, but I am here to help you reach yours. Round pegs in round holes. Not everyone is called to be a pastor, but life is when you are doing what God has called you to do.

    I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, but here's the wonderful thing you still love the Lord and are following Him. That's all good!

  6. Very, very interesting. I like your honest and transparent answer. We've never been involved in pastoring but do know firsthand of which you speak. Enough said of that. But I do especially appreciate your exhortation about studying and knowing God's Word. That is what is paramount. Will save a lot of "going down the wrong road." So glad you're in a good fellowship now.

  7. Brenda,
    Wish you could come to our women's meetings. I just know you would fit right in with our ladies.
    Now, let me see, maybe instead of moving to Colorado, you should move over here to sunny So. California, where the Real Estate business sucks, and the sky is full of smog, and everywhere you go there are 20 million people trying to get there 3 seconds faster than you! O gee, doesn't that make you want to just run right over here! lol
    Hope your week is going well. :-)

  8. Brenda,

    I know I'm way behind here, but this was very interesting for me to read. Christian churches are something I really don't know much about and I always really appreciate hearing about people's experiences--good and not-so-good. I'm going to go read part 2 now.


Thanks for taking the time to visit with me. I enjoy your comments very much. :)