Myths in Ministry

Separating truth and error in Ministry.

Laurie Denski- Snyman is a pastoral wife from the Michigan Conference in the North Ameri­can Division. Used with permission.

Many of us think that we know what is truth and error. We feel we can separate false as­sumptions from truthful as­sumptions. But, when we go about our everyday lives, we may unconsciously be doing things which add to our stress level, tear apart our marriages and families, and give improper role models to our congregations.

Because we are fallen human beings, only God knows the an­swers to many of the dilemmas that we face. Here are some state­ments to reflect upon and ana­lyze. Is there a hidden myth in your life which rules you? Con­sider why these assumptions are not true or why they may seem true to you. Use your Bible as a guide. (This is good for Shep­herdess get-togethers or for use in small groups.)

Ten myths to ponder or discuss

  1. It is always selfish to care for my own needs before others.
  2. When people or the church have needs, I must always at­tempt to fill them.
  3. I don't cultivate female friendships because my husband is my best friend, and he is all I need.
  4. Because my parents were Seventh-day Adventists, I am the product of an ideal family.
  5. Because I love God and am faithful to return tithes and give offerings, whatever hard situation I find myself in is His will.
  6. Many times the church needs come before my husband and my family.
  7. I should be available when­ever someone wants to talk to me.
  8. Because my husband is the head of our house, I do not feel I should ever question his de­cisions.
  9. I must attend all functions of the church to show my sup­port, even if I have children.
  10. When I disagree with my husband or a church member, it is always better not to say any­thing.

Points to ponder

Some comments and points to ponder:

  1. When people ride in air­planes, adults are taught, in case of emergency, to put their oxy­gen masks on themselves first before their children. Is this be­cause children aren't as impor­tant? No! This is so the adult can function adequately so he/she can also help the child. Back­wards, they may both become disoriented from lack of oxygen and perish. The Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). People who dislike them­selves often dislike other people —they spend more time compar­ing themselves to others and com­peting with them than caring for them. We must take care of our­selves so we have the strength to care adequately for those around us.
  2.  We are responsible to God for how we manage our time. We need to put most of our energy into the responsibilities God has given us, our spouse, our chil­dren, and our health. When we have sufficiently covered our obligations, He will give us other responsibilities and give us the wisdom to keep balance in our lives. Spreading ourselves too thin can set us up for failure, burnout, and bitterness. Modera­tion in all things is important to remember.
  3. God's plan is that we have close, intimate relationships with our husband. Only God can fill our deep longings, and our hus­band cannot be responsible for all our friendship needs. We need to nurture friendship bonds with other women with whom we can be friends, pray, and share. Too many pastoral wives look to their husband to fill all their social needs and miss out on other spe­cial relationships. We should take time to develop close spiritual bonds with other women.
  4. Many times you may have said, "When I grow up, I will never do that," yet we often find ourselves walking down the same pathway as our parents. We are all creatures of patterns set down from one generation to another. We need to forgive our parents for their shortcomings, and we have a responsibility to see where those ingrained patterns are tak­ing us. We need to ask ourselves, "What would I like to do differ­ent in my parenting? How would I like to deal differently with my spouse? What can I learn from mistakes in comments or disci­pline?"
  5. We know that trauma, sin, and suffering was never God's plan. The fact is we live in a world controlled by Satan and his evil angels. We are not immune to his malicious attacks, but God can bring positive things out of suf­fering. With every crisis, hope­fully we will emerge closer and more dependent on Jesus for our every need.
  6. Similar to myth two, we must recognize our priorities. Many people have thrown all of their energy into the church only to lose their families. If church members consume all of our time, our family outings, vacations, and birthday celebrations are al­ways on the back burner. Our children will know where they stand in order of importance. Message machines and cars can help us distance ourselves from everyday events so we can spend uninterrupted time with our fam­ily. These days, family time needs to be scheduled, and it must take priority.
  7. Our motive to help some­one is not always unselfish. Some­times we want to solve problems so we won't be bothered again, sometimes it's to appease our guilt, sometimes it's to win a friendship, and sometimes it's to get the person to join the church. Many times we do not guard our homes or personal boundaries because we don't like to take a stand on issues. We need to de­cide our priorities, time limits and our motives when we are helping others. Will our help make them dependent? Will we be encour­aging their growth? Will this help them spiritually?
  8. God made woman to be the helpmeet of her husband. Women have special perspectives which men need. If God did not expect woman to have an active role in her marriage, why the need to even create her? Many times opposites marry, and shar­ing both opinions will give bal­ance to the couple's plans and issues.
  9. Children do not become Christians because they are made to sit through endless meetings. We need to do everything in mod­eration. We can become calloused by attending church all the time if we lose the appreciation of the people and its services. Home life is important for our children. They need scheduled time to do their studies and have some nor­malness in the family schedule.
  10. When we feel strongly about something, we should ex­press it. Jesus cared to confront people in a loving way. Our atti­tude should not be one of antago­nism, pride and control, but one of helping others and working together. Stifling opinions many times only adds to anger and frus­tration. The body of Christ needs all the talents, ideas, and gifts pastoral wives have been given by their Creator.

Ponder these myths in your own situation. Through prayer and a relationship with Jesus, be assured He will always guide you in the way He knows is best. *