As I tend to be much better at seeing negatives, let me name some of the positives first. A pastor’s family is often welcomed into the life of a 教会 in ways I wish all 教会 visitors could experience. You are greeted and asked real questions, your kids are doted upon, and you are likely to receive more casseroles than you ever knew existed. During the best of times, you get an unearned residual on the love and/or admiration the congregation has for your spouse.
But there are real downsides too. The biggest ones typically involve unspoken expectations and 教会 conflicts.
First, let me name an elephant in the proverbial room. As the husband of the pastor, I was free of many of the expectations that clergy wives receive upon entering a 教会; and yes, they still exist in some 教会es。这些期望中的许多是在过去的几年中形成的，那时配偶很少有自己的职业。简而言之，它们不仅 过时的 (for example, that the pastor’s wife would manage the 教会 kitchen), they are potentially 繁重的 适用于两收入家庭（更不用说牧师了）。
As I mentioned, the family often earns a residual on the love a 教会 has for their pastor. Unfortunately, the inverse is sometimes true as well. While a good number of 教会 folk are conscientious enough to leave the family out of any pastoral/church conflict, that isn’t always the case. And even if conflict is handled well by 教会 members, there is still the work of being supportive of your spouse as they weather a difficult situation.
In my experience (some of it earned from doing things wrong), it is never a good thing to get involved as a clergy spouse in 教会 conflict. Setting 良好的界限 in advance is essential to remaining a healthy partner and contributing 教会 member.
Every family functions differently, and 教会es bring differing degrees of health or disfunction to the table as well. The following suggestions are offered in reflection upon my experiences and from those of others I have been honored to hear. They may 没有t be perfect for all.
- 避免在具有重大决策权的委员会中任职 in the 教会. Some committees should be an absolute 没有 (like a 教会’s staff parish committee) but it’s probably best to stay clear of any major leadership roles. In addition to setting up potential conflicts of interest, it makes pastoral transitions that much harder.
- 无论您在哪里服务，都必须明确表明 你不代表你的配偶牧师如果您与他们的职位不同，请不要隐藏它。切勿将配偶用作王牌（无双关语）。
- 在相关说明中， 三角形不是你的朋友。如果某人试图让您听不懂他们真正应该与您的配偶谈论的事情，请邀请他们直接进行对话。
- The 教会 will be a big part of your partner’s life because it is where they are expressing their primary vocation. Especially if it is a big part of your life as well, 有意发展你们都感兴趣的其他事物。
- Welcome the generosity of others but avoid becoming indebted to it. There is 没有thing inherently wrong with a congregation expressing gratitude to their pastor and their family. After all, 没有t every 教会 is equipped to express their appreciation with commensurate compensation. That said, 谨防来自个人的过多礼物， 特别是那些附有弦的。
- 命名您的家庭需要的空间 to be authentically engaged with the 教会. Doing so is important to your families’ health and toward helping the local 教会 to know how to care for you. If you have decided that your teenager can sleep in on Sundays, you are the parent, 没有t the congregation. Be kind, but also clear.
For the 教会 to be blessed by such diversity, and to offer a blessing in exchange, it also needs to be open and willing to receive what that pastor’s spouse may choose, or 没有t choose, to offer. This, in my humble opinion, is the best way to reap more positives than negatives from most any situation.