Friday, October 16, 2009

This Present Darkness...

On my way to take the boys to school today I was listening to our local Christian radio station. They were having people call in and share things they appreciated about their pastor because October is Pastor Appreciation Month. The other question they asked the callers had to do with any preconceived ideas they'd had about pastors or ministry before getting to know their pastor.

I laughed to myself. I'm the chief sinner when it comes to preconceived ideas about Pastors. It's likely why I was pretty sure I'd never EVER be a pastor's wife.

Ideas like:
  • All Pastor's ever think about is spiritual stuff.
  • They know the correct answer or action for every situation.
  • They don't understand what it's like to be a normal, average person.
Obviously I was quite the idiot.

But the whole thought process led me to think about my preconceived ideas about ministry, or in the very least the things I didn't fully understand back then.

The biggest eye-opener for me the past few months has been the aspect of spiritual warfare that goes on within church...not just the 4 walls, but within the people that make up that church. I expect a spiritual battle when dealing with those who do not worship the same God I do, what I did not expect was the battle that plays out among those professing a personal faith in Christ.

I picked up one of my favorite books of all times called This Present Darkness. Because I need a reminder of the battle that's raging. That what I see with my eyes is not all that is going on. And that the power of prayer is crucial in protecting my husband, my family, and others around me from some that seek to destroy them.

Have you read the book?
Any preconceived ideas about Pastors and ministry?
Any one else in a battle?

I'd love to hear your answers!

20 comments:

  1. I heard it said quite a bit at Divinity School but it wasn't until I got out there in the midst of pastoral ministry and met so many other pastors (of whom I never wanted to call myself a member) that I realized how true it is:

    Most of us are very lonely. Most of us are afraid to make close friends in our congregation because of bad experiences. Many of us won't last five years because of it.

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  2. I have read the book, it's been awhile, but you've made me want to pick it back up! I went through a Peretti phase a few summers ago and read all his stuff. Incredible author!

    No real preconceived ideas - I was the opposite of you. I always knew I *WANTED* to marry into the ministry (what?! why?! lol) Except I had it in my heart to marry a youth pastor...then along comes my now husband, a worship pastor, lol

    I think it's fair to say there's always a batting raging. The enemy is out to get us whenever/however he can.

    Praying that you're feeling better as you grow that sweet little life!!

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  3. Of course, most normal people are lonely--congregation members included. If we are unwilling to do the work within ourselves, we often end up doing it through other, resulting in "fighting" or at least fussing about silly details. I don't think most of us seek to destroy, we just don't know how to love those who are different from us (a.k.a. everyone else)as Christ loves--fiercely and relentlessly.

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  4. this was a great post.

    I never dreamed I would be a pastor's wife. I didn't grow up in the church and really thought all pastor's wives wore brown and buns. I'm so glad God knew better!

    When I started out in the ministry 20+ years ago, I did not expect the battle within the church either....it was quite shocking to me.

    I am currently doing Beth Moore's study on the Psalms of Ascension....awesome!!!

    I love this statement and it has helped center my focus on Him:

    He knows when something glorious in the future necessitates something difficult in the present.

    That's a great book by the way.

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  5. that book changed me as a teen. awesome read.

    I know that I tend to expect all pastors to be like my daddy.... which is good and bad.

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  6. I read that book a few years ago and it scared me to death. I enjoy Harry Potter and Twilight because I know in my head that those people and places and things are MADE UP. When I read Frank Peretti I couldn't just say, oh that is made up. The Bible warns us about this exact thing. It took me a very long time to recover from reading it. So I now tend to think that Pastor's have like this sense, where they can look at people and be like "Oh you've got this demon on you lets pray it away." No, seriously, I do because I think they've gone to school, God picked them to be the front line here they've GOT to have some you know power that we don't right?
    Cause if I'm going to talk to my pastor about this stuff shouldn't they be more knowledgable then me? Like how Jesus gave his disipoles gifts to perform miracles. (I'd like to apologize for my spelling, but my head is too congested to care at this point.)

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  7. That is one of my all time favorite books. Very powerful message!

    I grew up a preacher's daughter so I had firsthand experience with the inner workings of a preacher's life and ministry. I think Satan tends to attack most when the Holy Spirit has really been working -- he recognizes the threat! It's SO, SO important to pray for our pastors not only when the church is struggling, but even more so when things are going well!

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  8. I've read the book and it does help to remind me that the battle is not with flesh & blood but it's a spiritual battle. Thanks for the reminder again.

    Yes, I definitely had pre-conceived ideas. Kinda like the pastor's family is or at least should be perfect.

    Trust me - that's far from true. I've been married for 20 years now. He was a music minister when we married and has been a pastor now for about 14 years. We are definitely not perfect or even close. I now understand we are all just ordinary people serving an extraordinary God!

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  9. Being married to a minister is definitely an eye-opener in many ways. It has made me appreciate other ministers and their families.

    Funny you should mention spiritual warfare and this book. I love this book - I've read it a few times. Our preaching pastor is doing a series on spiritual warfare and I am doing a study on it in our Women's Bible Study group. Needless to say, both of our families have been hit on all sides, as well as, people who are really digging into the studies.

    But it doesn't surprise me that there is such an active 'war' in professing Christians. That's Satan's 'target group'. He already has the non-Christians.

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  10. I love the book. I have not read it in a long time but I had to laugh about you being the "Chief Sinner" LOL. Being a PK has come with some preconceived notions like "I know parents will disapprove" and lots of guilt concerning things that I do vs the way I "THINK" a pastor would do it. YIKES. That is a loaded question! My BIGGEST preconceived notion, is that ALL pastors have the bible memorized!!!

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  11. I didn't really grow up in the church. I came to Christ when I was fifteen, and I never really got to know my pastor or his wife in the church I attended. So I had a lot of preconceived notions. Pastors, I thought, were only interested in spiritual matters and NEVER laughed about things. PWs were always quiet and sweet and brought soup to sick people and didn't have personalities of their own and of course played the piano wearing white gloves and smiling sweetly.

    SHOCK and surprise when the man I fell head-over-heels in love with in college told me he felt called into the ministry. Yes, this caused a melt-down. I knew this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, but I am not quiet and I definitely have a personality and a sense of humor. (who wouldn't after serving in ministry for 17 years now??) And I do not cook for sick people-- I'm not a good cook, and it would seriously be a bad idea. Needless to say, God worked it out in me. One day it just clicked in my brain that God was not surprised at my personality-- he knows me inside and out- nor was he shocked at Spouse's calling. Afterall, he's the one that did it. God has given me areas of my own to minister in, and they don't involve playing the piano or wearing white gloves. Every now and again, I meet someone who says "you aren't what I thought a PW would be like." LOL

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  12. Oh- and yes, I read the book years ago. LOVED it.

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  13. I'm probably the only one who has not read that book...may put it next on my reading list.

    I too, like some others who have commented, grew up a PK and then went on to marry a "preacher boy". So my husband, his brother, my dad and my brother are all ministers of the gospel! So needless to say I've seen the good, the bad and everything in between. My current battle is letting God be God in others lives...I am not their judge but oh so many times I want to be! I get so frustrated with professing christians who fuss & complain over such temporal, meaningless things. I want to scream..."YOU ARE HOLDING SO TIGHTLY TO THINGS THAT WILL SOON PASS AWAY!!" But, alas God created them, He knows them better than me and it's not my job or my husbands job to change them. We are proclaimers ~ we are here to speak the truth in love and then let God do HIS work.

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  14. I grew up a PK so didn't have any unreal expectations of pastors... I knew they were/are human. I wouldn't say it is Satan that causes turmoil in the church. I think it's that spirituality is very personal, intimate, awesome, and mysterious... we are all just trying to figure things out, and in our human ways, we do unkind things to each other in the process. I don't think any of it is intentional cruelty. Just by the nature of the place, there is going to be dissent in any church.

    Hang in there. I hope no one in your church is expecting perfection from you and your family. It's not a welcoming attitude as it is impossible to achieve.

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  15. I think I've read all of his stuff.

    Pastor's message tonight really encouraged me. I was becoming weary in praying and waiting.

    Wow, expectations for a pastor and his family....that's spiritual warfare right there!!

    Love all you guys!!

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  16. I can't say that I've ever experienced more spiritual warfare than when my husband pastored in Maine. It was like we were living a fictional life. The stuff that went on was too unreal to believe, but it was happening. I think the real battle heats up when the Lord is at work. If everybody is just apathetic and doesn't care, then there's no need for Satan to war, but when people are right with God and are waiting to see Him move, the devil gets mad. At least that's been my experience.

    -FringeGirl

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  17. Loved the book... should probaly read it again!
    And as for pastor's and their wives and all those pre-conceived ideas? It really makes me grateful to have lived on the "other side" of it all. Actually being a pastor's wife and seeing firsthand how wrong most people's ideas are. Now, as a chaplain's wife, I almost feel like I get to take a "break" from it all. There's so much more companionship and a lot less of that "this is what preachers are like" stuff.

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  18. i've not read the book, actually i've never heard of it....but i am going to look into it.....

    and yes, i had many preconceived ideas about Pastors and their family...until my bil became a pastor of a church and we started attending.

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  19. LOVE that book..!!

    The thing the Lord has impressed on me in this past year of ministry is the higher standard of conduct, actions, and reactions He has entrusted to me. Not that I live up to it, but it's a challenge He has laid at my feet that I am taking very seriously especially when all that is within my flesh wants to claw someone's eyes out. Which can be often. Far too often.

    I've been so absent from blog land and yours is one I've missed...:)

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  20. Wow. I'm late to this one, but I just want to say, yeah, I know about the battle. I've been mostly losing ground since the spring in a crazy, no-holds-barred battle over my declaration that Jesus has set me free. My enemy doesn't play fair and he doesn't take a break. And my heart yearns for victory and my heavenly home more and more. So yeah, I know about the battle.

    And as a PK, and a lifer myself in ministry, I know the inner workings. And even still, the attacks from people and our enemy still shock and surprise and scar me. But I do know the Great Healer and He knows me...by name. So in the end, all is good. :-)

    Blessings!
    -J

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