The Unappreciated Suffering of the Pastor’s Family

If we had had any fewer people at church today I would have wondered where my wife had gone.



I have a small church. Few understand what I mean by “small.” It’s small. As in 50 people would be a big crowd.

There have been Sundays where I preached to 11 people. Several Sundays.

I have had some serious rough patches in my pastoral career. Some of them I understand; some I do not and doubt I ever will.

My wife has been with me through them all. I can think of maybe two Sunday mornings where she wasn’t at church with me all these years. Part of that is because I made her go.

It was not right for me to make my wife go to church on days she was sick just because I went when I was sick. Not only has she gone to all those Sunday morning services, she’s been to all my other Wednesday night ones and Bible study nights on other days. She’s only missed a handful.

My wife told me one day that she hated that she had to go to church all the time. There were just days she didn’t feel like it. She resented my forced attendance rule of the past.

I get it and I understand. It’s the sucky part of being in a pastor’s family.

Lots of families work all week and then play on the weekend. The pastor’s family works all week and then goes to church on the weekend. It would be nice to have a morning or two to sleep in. This is especially true when we had little kids in the house.

I grew up in a pastor’s family. I know what it’s like to be sick and be made to go to church anyway. It’s what pastor’s families do. We do it to set an example that no one is paying attention to and never works.

I began to realize that punishing my family with church attendance is not helping them appreciate church. Nor is it reforming anyone else’s behavior. “Of course you guys go to church all the time; you get paid to do it.”

There’s some truth in that. At the same time, it would be nice if my family got some recognition for their faithfulness over the years. Unfortunately, people who don’t come to church, never pick up on the fact that my family is always there. It’s hard to appreciate what you don’t know exists.

Anyway, I appreciate my wife and my kids for going to church. I know they don’t feel like it all the time, because I don’t feel like it all the time either. Their reward will be in heaven, because Lord knows they aren’t getting it here.



Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
–Ephesians 5:24

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