Help For Ministry Wives (Interview with Rachel Lovingood)

005183353_lOne of the toughest jobs in the church must be the role of pastor or minister’s spouse. Recently Cheryl (my spouse) completed a Bible study on her own that she felt was very helpful to her. She believes it will be helpful for other ministry spouses. If her schedule will ever allow it she would love to lead a group of area wives through this study. I decided since it was valuable enough for my wife that I would like to interview one of the authors.

Rachel Lovingood and Jennifer Landrith wrote the study called “In Our Shoes…Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives by Ministers’ Wives”. Recently I was able to interview Rachel to find out a little more about this study and the ministry behind it.

Here is that interview:

Ron: Rachel, tell me a little about your background. Did you grow up in church? When did you become a believer?

Rachel: Yes I was a typical good church girl who knew so much about God and even how to live like a Christian…I went on mission trips and youth camps etc., but when I was a sophomore in college one night in my dorm room I suddenly realized that although I had plenty of head knowledge about God I really didn’t have the heart knowledge I needed and so I surrendered my life to Christ and asked HIm to save me.

Ron: That’s a great story and one I am sure many share with you. Was there a time when you sensed a call to ministry, or did you just happen to marry someone in the ministry?

Rachel: I started dating my husband, Jeff, and he was called to ministry so my calling went from following God with my life to being called to marry Jeff who “happened” to be going into the ministry

Ron: What prompted you to write “In Your Shoes”?

Rachel: My pastor’s wife, Jennifer, and I have been friends a long time. She and David, her husband, grew up in the same town and church as Jeff and I did. As a matter of fact our hubby’s have been best friends since like 8th grade. As we have been serving on the same staff for the past several years, Jen and I noticed a common thread among our own staff wives as well as ones we had other opportunities to spend time with–that they are hurting, lonely, feel frustrated, feel inadequate and so on…we both looked and really didn’t find any resources that got to the heart of the matter for ministers’ wives. Although there have been a few resources out there that are good, we didn’t see any that we could use to help equip and enable the wives serving with us–so we decided to write something it and ourselves became “In Our Shoes”.

Ron: Well, it’s a great resource and helped my wife. It is obvious you have a special heart for ministry spouses. If you had one word of encouragement to say to them what would it be?

Rachel: Relax, trust that God knows you and where you are and He has you there for a reason…you are not alone!

Ron: Have you heard from any of the ministry wives who have completed or are working through the Bible study? What has the reaction been to your work?

Rachel: We have been overwhelmed and extremely humbled by the responses we have gotten…some have said “I felt like quitting and my husband walked in from a trip where he bought me your book, I sat down and the first thing I read was like God speaking to me Himself”. Hearing stories like that is the most awesome thing–to know that God really is using this work for His glory is what it’s all about–it also reinforces that there are so many hurting and struggling spouses out there in the world of ministry…

Ron: Are there any other resources for minister wives?

Rachel: We set up a blog for the book so that wives can comment and ask questions or just network about issues that relate to our lives in ministry. (You can find that blog HERE.)

Ron: Thanks so much for your time Rachel. Any closing thoughts?

Rachel: It breaks my heart when I hear of ministry couples divorcing or leaving the ministry because of marriage issues and I always wonder, “What could have been done to save this marriage or protect this ministry?” I am convinced that we will have healthier churches when we have healthier ministries and our ministries will be healthier when our marriages are healthier and our marriages will be healthier when we are healthier…so In Our Shoes is our offering to the church.

Consider buying one of these study books for your minister’s wife. I agree with Rachel. Many times the health of the minister’s family determines the health of the church and ministry.

Everlast Series Begins This Week at Grace Community Church

Is there anything these days that lasts forever? We think so. This Sunday at Grace Community Church, in addition to adding a third service, we are launching a new series called “Everlast”. If you have ever wondered if anything is for keeps, this is the series for you.

Here’s the series description:
We are willing to sacrifice so much for things that are temporary and seem to be quick fixes. But we expect God to just give us the things
that are going to last. In the series Everlast, we explore what it would be like to live life in reverse. To sacrifice for things that have lasting value and trust God to meet our immediate needs.

EVERLAST

Don’t forget our times have changed this week. We will be at 8:30, 10:00 and 11:30 this week.  Pick your best time and let’s have another great week together!

Invite a friend to join you.

For more information check out the Grace website at www.gcomchurch.com.

God’s Patient Love (A Quick Reminder)

iStock_000002309744XSmall“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love… Joel 2:12-13

I love this passage.  I am told this passage has sparked revival in people’s hearts. It certainly does mine.  It did this morning, for example.

I was reminded that God is slow to anger.

He’s not on edge.  He’s not grumpy. He’s not impatient like I am at times.

Human relationships may be like that.  Sometimes we have the shortest tempers with people we love most.

All of us have days when due to stress, illness, worry…we are on edge….

…Sadly, others around us quickly know when we are having a bad day…

God is not like that…

God is gracious and merciful….he abounds in a steady, unchanging, unconditional love…

Today, maybe even for just a couple moments, I am reminded that I can take God all my burdens…He can handle them without fret, with complete patience, and without getting angry at my insufficiencies.

And best of all…He wants me too, because He cares.

Do you have a burden(s) you need to cast His way?

Three Services Sunday at Grace Community Church!

On our fourth anniversary, Grace Community Church will take another giant step of faith.  This Sunday we move add a third service.  Everyone has to change times!

8:30 OR 10:00 OR 11:30  (3 identical services)

Join us at Rossview High School as we kick off a new series, celebrate 4 years, get ready for Operation Serve, and have a great time doing it!

Invite a friend to join you.  We’ll have plenty of seats!

New-Times

Leadership Perception Survey

lpsurveyI am conducting a leadership perception survey.  I have been in leadership positions for over 20 years, but in the early part of this time I also had a leader to whom I reported.  Recently I have been working with some churches and businesses facing leadership issues and problems.  From my observation, many times the problem is the different perception between leaders and followers of what leadership is and how one should lead.  It makes it difficult to lead in an environment where the leader and follow do not even agree on the principles of leadership.  I decided to illustrate this diverse thought through a blog survey.

Please understand, I am not trying to make a statement by any of these questions.  I realize some of the questions may seem odd and on some of them you will wish for more options, but I am trying to gather opinions that are diverse and get more general feedback rather than specific, to make some general observations about leadership perceptions.  On yes and no questions where you feel there is an in between answer, either pick the one you lean closer to or skip that question. According to the results of my recent blog reader survey, some respondents will be in leadership positions and some will not. It will be interesting to read the various opinions.

Click here to take the LEADERSHIP PERCEPTION SURVEY.

All responses will be anonymous of course, but I will post results in weeks to come.

Lessons in Wisdom From Rehoboam (1 Kings 12)

In the midst of an incredibly huge decision recently I happened one morning to read 1 Kings 12.  I love when God points me to the exact Scripture I need at the moment.

In this passage Rehoboam refused to listen to wise counsel and instead listened to the “wisdom of the day”.  As you can read for yourself, his decision to ignore healthy advice cost him far more than he could afford to pay.

There are 5 principles I can learn or be reminded of from Rehoboam’s experience:

  • Servant leadership is the model we need to follow and exhibit.  (It was also the model of Jesus.)
  • We need to make sure we are getting our wisdom from the right sources. Who are you listening to these days?  (Read a similar post HERE.)
  • Doing what is right may not always be popular, but it is right.
  • The consequences for failure to follow wisdom are huge.
  • There is natural wisdom that comes from age. (Read a similar post HERE.)

What other lessons do you get from this passage?  Which of these do you need to read most?

Adding More Links To My Blog

logoAs a suggestion from a reader, I am adding more links to my blog.  My blog exposure has grown rapidly in the last six months and I want to use it for maximum impact for the purpose of Kingdom building.  Adding links will hopefully add exposure to other great blogs, as well as increase exposure to my work.  I am using the following criteria in adding new links:

  • I don’t want so many links that it becomes cumbersome to my readers.
  • The blogs need to be ones that I actually read regularly. If I put them on my personal blog I am somewhat endorsing them.  (I am not afraid to start reading something new, but I am looking for contain related to what I do, which means the blog should be related to things such as churches, ministry, leadership or family.)
  • They should be instructional or help people learn something practical or useful.  I am a purposeful reader of blogs. I really don’t read much just for fun.
  • They should be updated fairly often.  I don’t consider once a month to be often.  If it is only updated a few times a year, the posts better be really good.
  • I would prefer to link to people who are open to learning from others.  Those who don’t allow comments, don’t follow others on Twitter, and aren’t accessible don’t interest me as much, so I’m less likely to read their blogs.

Is there something I am missing here?  What other criteria should I use?

Are there blogs I should consider that I may not be aware of yet?

Please don’t be offended if I don’t link to you.  I don’t intend for it to be personal.  I am just trying to be obedient to what I’ve been called to do.

New Family Picture and Life Change

As I work on other things this Labor Day, I thought I would share one of our new family pictures.  Thanks to Piper Bell in our church for taking these before Nate left for Moody.

Fam 1

On a personal note, because so many have asked, last Thursday night was a weird night for Cheryl and me.  We finished dinner and the dishes by 6:30, no boys were in the house.  Nate is in Chicago and Jeremy was with friends, and we looked at each other and for the first time really felt like empty-nesters.  It’s a new season for us.  It wasn’t a bad feeling, but different.

Yesterday at church we did the song “You’re Gonna Miss This“.  I understand that song a lot better these days.

Anyone else know the feeling?

God Helps Those Who Cannot Help Themselves!

Occasionally people quote a common saying and ask me where it’s found in the Bible.  I don’t enjoy being the one to tell them that what they have always believed is Biblical, really is just a repeated saying among well meaning people.  My favorite is “God will not put more trials on you than you can bear”.  It certainly sounds good, but that is not exactly what the Bible says.   I wrote a post you might read about that HERE.

Another myth people often say is “God helps those who help themselves.” I would point out the Scripture that says this, but I have not found it. In fact, I think I’m safe in saying that I haven’t found it, because it isn’t there.

While the message sounds good, we need to understand that the only thing we can do to help ourselves so that God will help us is to put our trust in Him to help us! Did I lose you on that one? God wants to help His children. God’s love causes Him to want to bless His children. The thing inside of us, which welcomes His favor, is the love He has for us and the love we have for His Son, not what we have done to help ourselves.

Moses told the Israelites once, before they went into battle, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)  Sometimes our job is not to “help ourselves”, but to be still before the Lord and wait on Him to work His perfect plan in our life.

Perhaps you have been trying to “help yourself” so that God would “help you”. Why not be still, do nothing, wait on the Lord, and let Him help you, in His timing and with His plan, just because you are His child?    The greatest way you can help yourself, might be to humble yourself before the God who wants to bless you. (1 Peter 5:6)