You might think that after being in ministry for a while, a spouse would be able to handle this situation. Sorry to say that the learning curve for me is just too steep.
Last night at a prayer meeting, a person voiced the concern that "someone" (She didn't name them.) was upset and feeling pushed out. She didn't not want to mention names and she didn't. She really did want us to pray for our church. Naturally, we don't want anyone to feel unwelcome or alienated.
But even with her good intentions, the bomb had been thrown. Everyone reacted. Some just wanted to help. Some were curious. But we all were confused. Who could it be? And more seriously, what should we do?
I supposed that it may point to our lack of faith that we didn't think praying about it was enough. So we pressed her. Who are these people anyway and why are they upset? Then she replied and this is what shocked all of us. She said that we should just know. Couldn't we look around and see who wasn't there?
Really? We have over 800 members in our church. Three services. And lots of new people.
But yes, she said we should know already. Maybe she is right. If the church is our family, we'd notice who didn't show up for dinner. But there are so many and the vast majority attend twice a month. I'm still learning names and I've been there for seven years.
Then it hit me, she expected that the pastor should also know. It was then that I started feeling annoyed. How many times have I heard (here and elsewhere) that people aren't happy and that was the pastor's fault. Why is the pastor responsible for the personal happiness of the members of the congregation? The pastor's job is not to make people happy or keep them from being upset. If people are upset it is their responsibility to speak out. Maybe they had, but who could know?
I care a lot about our prayer group, but it is times like these that I feel the special weight of being the pastor's spouse. There are so many unspoken expectations--some fair, others not.
Perhaps you have an opinion. What would you do?