making ministry out of hobbies...

>> July 29, 2009

Sometimes, it seems to be very difficult to connect with people outside our husbands' congregation. I mean, there are so many needs and demands from the people at church, that as a PW it can start to feel exhausting. We still want to minister, and we want to share Jesus with people "out there" somewhere. But how?

Last Thursday night I decided to be brave and try out a fitness class at our new gym. BP (before pregnancy) I was a 5-days-a-week-at-the-gym kind of girl. But the last six and a half months of constant nausea kind of took the wind out of my sails.

But I believe regular exercise is a big part of being healthy with this body temple God gave me (you know, 1 Corinthians 6:19 and all), so now that I'm feeling a bit better I've been slowly going back. It's amazing how much slower I move at almost 7 months pregnant!

Since I don't want to overexert, I settled on AquaFit - a swimming pool class filled with little old ladies and.... me. The lady beside me was perhaps 75 years old, and from Wales. She asked when the baby was coming, and then shared about her hobbies - knitting and painting for all her grandchildren.

Perhaps I'm an odd duck for this generation, but I do a lot of practical hobbies too. Crocheting, needlework, sewing, gardening, etc... Knitting however is something I've never seemed to learn beyond the basics.

She told me she can knit just about anything, and has been doing it for years. I asked if she'd teach me sometime, since she lives so close by, or even if she'd be willing to teach a few ladies from my church. Her eyes lit up like she'd been asked to go to a banquet!

Next time I see her, I'm going to talk to her more about it. She seemed lonely and eager for friendship.

In the meantime, I left the AquaFit class reminded that even hobbies can give a chance to connect with somebody. My hobby of exercise, combined with my interest in knitting, and voila! A chance to minister.

Ever had a friendship or ministry opportunity come out of your hobby? Do share!


finding a PW mentor...

>> July 27, 2009

It can be tough PWing alone.

Really tough.

Sometimes it feels like we're right there with Elijah when he wailed to God that he was the ONLY faithful prophet left in the whole wide world! (Of course he wasn't, and God reminded him so, but he still felt totally alone.)

Western society doesn't really offer much in the way of social structures for mentoring, so we girls sometimes have to create our own opportunities. For the shy among us, this can be pretty daunting. But the payoff is amazing.

For me, having a few good mentors has made all the difference. I'm blessed to have a Christian mother whose insights are usually spot on. But now and then I've realized that even a great mom can't carry the burden of knowing all PW details. Not having been a PW herself, despite her deep spiritual maturity, there's some things she just can't relate to. And sometimes it's better for her not to know when I'm dealing with a particularly difficult person - it's just too hard to sit back and not defend me.

So I've sought out other wise women, other Mothers in Israel, who can provide insights and intuitive suggestions for challenging situations. Some of them are mostly by email, others offer advice when we chat online. One or two are the type who don't mind me calling for advice out of the blue.

And a few have blossomed into personal friendships that span the generations and have become rare treasures.

I've learned though, that while today's culture fails to provide formal mentoring structures, it also has negatively affected older and younger women's interaction. Younger women often tend to feel that the older generation is completely out of touch, instead of revering them for their wisdom and experience. And while there are always those older women who offer unwelcome and unsolicited advice - I've found that most of them are on the opposite end. They feel intimidated into isolation and silence by the younger generation, as though they worth has passed with the peak of their beauty and usefulness. As a result, many are hesitant to share even when their insights would be welcomed.

It took me a while to get past my fear of approaching older women and asking for their wisdom, but once I discovered that most of them responded with surprised pleasure, I realized it wasn't so hard.

So if you feel a longing for mentorship and just don't know where to get started, here's what I'd suggest:

  • pray about it; ask God to help you know whom to ask
  • genuinely approach the woman you'd like to know better, and ask if she'd be willing to get together sometime and pass on some of her accumulated wisdom
  • be open to learning from unexpected sources - not all of your great mentors will be PWs, although many of them may
  • just listen to what they have to say, and ask God which parts he wants you to learn from, realizing that not everything may directly apply to you
How about you? Do you have a mentor or more than one? Who do you turn to for wise, godly counsel? How did you find them? Have you ever actually asked someone to be your mentor?

What would you say to a young PW who wants to find a mentor and doesn't know where to start?


connecting locations...

>> July 24, 2009

We've already had a good response for getting connected locally!

I (Sarah) will be coordinating a meetup in the next few weeks for the Atlanta, GA region, and three other PW readers have offered to be contacted for meetups in their local areas.

If you live in one of these areas, don't be shy!

Email Sarah if you're within driving distance of Atlanta and you're interested in an August meetup:
clutchtalk (at) gmail (dot) com

NW OHIO (near Michigan/Indiana state lines):
Email Sheila if you live near northwest Ohio or around the Michigan and Indiana state lines:
jsbrown96 (at) gmail (dot) com

Drop Alison a comment on this post on her blog if you are in the Dallas/Ft Worth region:

Email Amy if you'd like to get together in the Florida panhandle or southern Alabama:
ftgreen4 (at) gmail (dot) com

If more of you are willing to give your email address for young PWs in your area to contact you about getting together where YOU live, just send your name/location/email to clutchtalk (at) gmail (dot) com.

Also, we hope you'll take a few photos when you get together and tell us how it went! We'd love to post reports about your regional meetups here on CLUTCH!


chime in::planning unfamiliar events

After the June 15 post on mother blessings, Stephanie wrote us asking this question:

My dilema is that I am asked to plan events such as this (baby showers) but I am not a mother as of yet. What do I do?
Being a PW can really get you out of your comfort zone, especially when people ask you to help with things that are unfamiliar to you. It doesn't mean you have to say "No", but it might require a little extra research, and maybe even a partnership with some of the older ladies in church who could give helpful feedback. Who knows, you might even make new friends as a result!

When I am asked to do/host/lead something I'm not familiar with, I have a few standard next-steps:
  1. Call my mom (or another older woman with expertise in whatever it is)
  2. Google for ideas, tips, concepts, columnists' opinions, etc (i.e., for planning a baby shower, I'd look for task lists, theme ideas, and so on)
  3. Chat online with other PWs or girlfriends who are creative and don't mind me asking for input
  4. Make a list of ideas that come to me and narrow them down
  5. Ask other church women to help coordinate aspects they're good at (decorating, food, music, games, etc)
  6. Partner with another woman (or a few of them) in church leadership to be a team for the spiritual side of things (i.e., asking other PWs to say a prayer, offer a blessing over the mother, etc)
I've found that older women are often flattered and honored to be asked to participate in something I'm planning as the young PW, and if I'm willing to ask them for the wisdom and advice that they've collected over the years - I usually gain fabulous insights, and the beginning of a new friendship as well.

That's me - now what would YOU suggest that Stephanie (and anyone else who shares her feelings) do when they are faced with the unfamiliar?

Got tips?

Do share!


an invitation to connect...

>> July 21, 2009

I've recently begun wishing there was a way for more CLUTCH readers to meet up in person. I admit I love online interaction, but no matter how real you are online there's a certain isolated sterility that you just can't avoid.

So I got the idea to plan a luncheon somewhere in my general area for any CLUTCH readers that might be within driving distance, so we could spend a few hours meeting together, connecting, and enjoying the fellowship already begun online.

Are there any CLUTCH readers in the general Chattanooga/Atlanta area?

If so, would you be interested in getting together with other CLUTCH readers for lunch in the near future? Just leave a comment below, or send me an email at: clutchtalk (at) gmail (dot) com.

For that matter, PW luncheons don't have to be limited to my local area. If any of you would be interested in meeting up with other readers in your area, leave a comment below so that you can find each other. If you'd be willing to help coordinate a group lunch date for those near you, please include your email address so that other PWs can contact you.

Can't wait to find out who lives near me!


CLUTCH on facebook

>> July 20, 2009

We've had a CLUTCH page on Facebook for a while, but haven't had a chance to do much with it. So you might have noticed that we've recently added two Facebook widgets to the blog here.

The widget on your left (scroll down a bit) is where you click to have CLUTCH fed straight to your facebook page.

The widget at the bottom center of this page is where you click to become a Fan of our CLUTCH site on Facebook.

We hope you'll click both of them: so you never miss a post, and all your Facebook friends will know that you're a CLUTCH reader!


'tis the reason

>> July 19, 2009

I (Delina) am taking a short break from Clutch, but will be back 100% soon. For now, I leave you in Sarah's capable hands. Here's why:


thrifty ideas...

>> July 16, 2009

So, in case you need some more super-saver ideas to get your thrifty juices flowing, here's a few resources:






Got a favorite resource for tips on saving and making the pastoral salary stretch a little more? Leave a comment and share with the rest of us!


battling out the economy...

>> July 15, 2009

If you're like us, your pastoral family is feeling the tough financial times this year. My PH and I have sat over the family budget, trying to figure out what to cut and what to keep.

"If we get rid of the internet, we'll have more time together as a family and we'll save $65 a month!"

"But then, we can't pay our bills online, have to drive to the businesses or order checks and pay for stamps, and I (the PW) can't do work contracts online from home to make extra money. What if we got rid of your iPhone instead?"

Fine, keep the internet. And hubby states emphatically that his iPhone isn't going anywhere!

But we HAVE chopped our grocery budget, started planning our shopping trips to minimize unnecessary driving, and sold the second car to save on insurance and gas. We've cut our entertainment/eating out budget to zero except in emergencies.

You probably know how it goes.

So what are you doing to survive the economy? Have you gotten thriftier? Slashed some spending?

Do share your little secrets!


CLUTCH profile badge...

>> July 14, 2009

We're gradually making it into the 21st century by adding more accessories for you to enjoy!

At the bottom of this blog, you can now access the code to add a CLUTCH profile badge to your blog, website, or other page online. Just add a gadget/widget that allows HTML code, and copy and paste the code provided below, save it, and voila! You have a badge!

If you like reading CLUTCH, we hope you'll show your solidarity by grabbing our button!


getting your input...

Delina and I love interacting with all of you as fellow young PWs. But now and then, it's helpful to get a perspective from the older side.

Titus chapter 2 talks about this when he advised older women to train and mentor younger women to love their husbands, parent their children, care for their homes, and serve others.

So, in deference to that excellent advice, I'm working on a new blog thread for CLUTCH that will feature older PWs and outstanding women of ministry who have been around the block. I'll be asking questions like:

  • what has been their most profound lesson relating to life as a PW?
  • what do they know now that they most wish they had known in their first decade as a PW?
  • what book or scripture passage is most meaningful to them in their PW identity?
  • how would they define the core role of a young PW?
  • can they distill their decades of wisdom into one statement of philosophy about life in the fishbowl of ministry?
Here's where you pitch in:

- what questions would you like to have answered?
- are there any specific (or famous) older PWs/women of ministry whom you'd like CLUTCH to try and interview? who would you like to hear from? (do feel free to email us contact information if you have a specific person, and have a way to connect with them:

We'll do our best to meet your expectations!


PW blogroll...

>> July 13, 2009

Today, CLUTCH got a little updating on its resources and accessories. (Check out the newest link for "The Preacher's Wife" under PW SITES to your right!)

We've added a number of PW bloggers to our blogroll as well. If you keep a blog and would like us to add you, please just send an email with your URL to: clutchtalk (at) gmail (dot) com. We'll be happy to add you!


chime in: setting limits

Sandra, a reader and Clutch contributor, wants you to chime in:

I don't know if other pastors' wives deal with this, but I would like to know how their husbands handle counseling. A couple approached my husband today about getting weekly counseling sessions from him. This will make weekly sessions with three couples! Do other pastor husbands counsel or do they have someone else who does it? When do they fit it in? If it's "after hours" do they charge church members? Non-church members? I want to be able to help these couples, but it's beginning to get overwhelming!


PMS: what's your biggest challenge?

>> July 10, 2009

With each intentional decision to either be a stay-at-home PW, work from home or part-time or full-time there seem to be definite trade-offs.

The flexibility and availability you have to support your husband in ministry is often traded with anxieties of pursuing your own professional calling and financial sacrifices. Those with paying jobs often feel overly committed to work and dissatisfied with the time and energy they have left to give to home, family and church.

What's your biggest challenge regarding your work set-up? Is it financial? fulfillment? lack of energy? guilt? or something else.

Talk to us!


PMS: my calling to ministry

>> July 9, 2009

When I was seventeen I sat in church and surrendered my life to God's service. I signed on the dotted line, so to speak, without knowing fully what that meant or where that would take me.

In 2002, in the middle of my first year teaching in a small community near Denton, TX, I again surrendered my plans, my pride, and what I thought was my purpose to God.

I saw a need. I felt a call. I was going to be a women's minister. The large churches around Dallas were hiring women specifically to minister to the women of their congregations. That must be what God wanted me to do.

I moved to North Carolina, started teaching at a Christian school, and took classes toward my degree. I tried hard not to date the single History teacher, but he won me over with bribes of candy corn and golf lessons. The problem- he also felt a call to full time ministry. How could I be a women's minister if I were married to a pastor? A church would have to hire us both, or we would work at different churches, or.... maybe God would find another solution.

And now, after being out of seminary over a year, am I where I wanted to be when I started this journey? Sitting in that pew at seventeen years old, did I sign up for this?

To be honest, some times my answer is no. I didn't set out to get a Master of Divinity degree thinking it would help me be successful at what has become my daily routine.

Teaching our three year old to mind mommy, instead of teaching fifty (or five-hundred) women to obey God.

Unloading the dishwasher just to load it again, instead of going from a counseling session to a staff meeting.

Or the opportunities I have each day to change diapers, instead of seeing a woman change from a life of rebellion to a life that rejoices in the joy of knowing God.

But, I have learned you don't separate the sacred from the secular. The ministry I do for my family, through my home, and as I support my husband in his vocation as a minister follows in the footsteps of Hannah, the widow of Zarephath, and Priscilla.

My ministry isn't what I envisioned at 17, or even 22, but it is the ministry to which God called has called me. And I will honor Him through the opportunities He gives each day, as I continue to see ministry as more than having an office at the church.

How is your current ministry different from what you imagined it would be? Any advice for those who struggle wanting to do "more"?

Sandra Peoples lives in Pennsylvania. She focuses on ministering to her family so her husband can minister to their church. She blogs with friends at Today's Housewife .


PMS: prioritizing while working full-time

>> July 8, 2009

Name: Felicia Thomas

Her story:

At a recent Family Life Weekend to Remember conference I attended with my dear husband, I learned that my priorities were way out of line. As a wife and mother, my first priority is to grow in my relationship with God, second to respect and support my husband and third to teach and train my children. Everything else in my life should be ordered around these top three priorities.

Well, as a working mom who longs to be a stay at home mom, I knew I had some repenting to do. I teach and when school is in, I am usually running on fumes spiritually. The first thing to go out of my schedule is regular time in prayer and God’s Word. I know some of this resulted from my spiritual lukewarmness, but as the demands of being a working mother take their toll, the easy thing to put off became my time with the Lord. I realized also that I was angry with the Lord because I want to be a stay-at-home mom, but financially we cannot meet our obligations when I don’t contribute to the finances.

Fatigue sometimes makes it hard for me to be a supportive wife. I can be more critical of my husband because I feel overwhelmed and so I begin to attack his choices. The children become a blur in all of this. I find myself impatient with them and too tired to teach and train them, opting for more television time and more lying around.

I believe one can balance being a working parent by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Prioritize time in prayer and God’s word.
  • Enlist the Holy Spirit’s help to guide you through your day.
  • Keep your fellowship with God at all times because He will strengthen you.
  • Make sure you are seeking first His kingdom and listening to His voice regarding your choices and scheduling.
  • In all things and situations give thanks for this is the will of God for you.

Do not take your frustrations out on your husband. Try to maintain a gentle and quiet spirit and reserve energy for him. The best way to continue to be supportive is to keep the lines of communication open and make sure you communicating your needs. I remind my husband that we are a team and in order for our home to operate smoothly he has to help me around the house.

Decide how much of your time your job will consume and set healthy boundaries. As a teacher, I made a conscious decision that I would not leave my children in daycare for more than nine hours a day. When I can pick them up sooner I do. Now as a mother of four boys, I try very hard to leave work at work and be available to my boys when I get home. I am intentional about family night and making sure the time we have together is quality.

Lastly, my advise for working PWs out there is to schedule some recharge time as often as you can, so you can present your family and God with your best.


PMS: part-time flexibility

>> July 7, 2009

Name: Cindy Beall

Work Set-up: I work from home in a part-time role. I work remotely for a small company in Ft. Worth, Texas, as the assistant to the President. I have an Education Degree and taught school for 4 years before having children. I taught while we were in ministry, but once children entered our world, I wanted to stay home.

Advantages: FLEXIBILITY! I can still carpool, run errands, get together with friends and other things. I just have to make sure my work is complete. I love the fact that nothing really changes in my day if one of my children has to stay home from school.

Disadvantages: There aren’t any, really. If you want to work part-time, I have the dream job. And an amazing boss.

Affects on my husband’s ministry: It affects our family life and ministry positively by providing a little extra income each month. The only way I think it affects it negatively is when I have to do work at night during busy times. But for the most part, my husband and I agree that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.


PMS: stay-at-home +

>> July 6, 2009

Name: Shane Schwichtenberg

Work set-up:
"In the beginning..." I was a school teacher. I taught special education in elementary schools as well as first grade. During my last year of teaching I gave birth to our first daughter. We decided that I should stay home with the baby. Daycare was too expensive and I was ready for the change. Plus staying home would provide me more opportunity to get involved at church (we had just moved to this location only a year before). Being a stay-at-home mom proved much harder than any classroom ever.

Now my husband and I have two daughters, ages 6 & 8. I am still at home and remain involved at church with women's ministry and leading music. Starting in college I worked at health clubs part-time teaching group exercise classes. I continue with that today. This fall I hope to teach more classes during the daytime while my kids are at school.

What are some of the advantages of your set-up?
I love the time I have during the day to meet with people. I lead a Bible study for moms in the morning, meet over lunch with women needing to talk and speak to other church groups about my journey with Christ. On days I'm not busy, my husband and I try to meet for lunch. It's helpful for us to connect during the day since he is often gone in the evenings.

What are some disadvantages?
I miss my outlet at my full-time job. It's an identity totally separate from church. However, working part-time does help. Also, financially we are struggling.

In what ways does your set-up affect (positively or negatively) your husband's ministry?
The congregation loves seeing me active. For whatever reason, people enjoy seeing their pastor's wife engaged and happy. I found my niche with both women's ministry and leading music. I've met some really great people and feel free to be me. My husband enjoys my participation at church just the same when he sees another church member getting involved. I wouldn't be able to do what I do if I worked full-time. It works for me, but I know it's not for every pastor's wife.


PMS week: PWs and their work

>> July 5, 2009

Do you work outside the home? Do you work along side your husband in ministry? Do your career and your career ambitions sometimes clash with your husband's role as a pastor? This week we'll be exploring the many different ways PWs have chosen to balance work, family, life and ministry. You'll get a glimpse of their lives and the pitfalls and advantages of their situations. We want to hear from you too. How have you made things work for your family? What sacrifices have you had to make in the struggle to prioritize? How has your role as PW affected your career choices? Anyone give up a career and struggle with loss of identity?

Talk to us!


quiet time - pitfalls, strategies, successes

>> July 1, 2009

We all know that one of the most important things we can do as humans, women, Christians, wives, PWs, is to stay committed to our quiet time with the Lord everyday. But it's tough, ain't it?

What strategies have worked for you?
Do you find it essential to meet with a small group? To systematically go through a book of the Bible? To purchase a curriculum and follow it?

What about your prayer time? How have you made this spiritual discipline meaningful and not a ramblefest or simply repetitive?

Would love to hear your ideas!

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