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!