new places, new faces...

>> January 20, 2010

I got this bouquet last weekend.

It was the first weekend at our new church. The congregation was warm, friendly, and the church seemed to thrum with vibrancy. It felt like it was nearly bursting at the seams.

I've never been welcomed in a new district like that before. In one previous district on our first weekend, no one seemed to know or care that we were the new pastors. Granted, it was a large church and we weren't the only pastoral family. But still... after my husband's first sermon we waited for lunch plans. A welcome potluck? No. An invitation home? Huh uh.

Not last weekend - in this district it was like meeting a new family. Of course, there were little things. Like the woman who came up and commented that "your baby was really fussy during church!"

(And I swallowed back the retort that would have sounded something like: "Lady, my kid is 11 weeks old. He sat quietly on his daddy's lap during a 15-minute children's story, and fussed for LITERALLY NINETY SECONDS at the beginning of the sermon before conking out for a nap. I got up at 5:30 this morning so I could make it to church on time with my hair fixed and in a church dress. Yesterday I cooked all afternoon so I could bring a dish to my own welcome potluck. And right now my whole body is screaming 'cause I'm carrying a diaper bag in one hand and a 14-pound baby in the other, wearing a girdle and standing in 4-inch heels because I want to make a good impression on our first weekend here. You are NOT seriously going to stand here and try to tell me that my baby was too fussy!")

But if I'd blurted all that I might as well have just come in my pajamas, 'cause it would have obliterated any good impression I was trying to make.

And honestly, in this new place - where my husband is the senior pastor and I'm the only pastor's wife - I really did want to make a good impression. I want them to like me. I long to make new girlfriends. I very much DO NOT want to tick anyone off on the first day!

I don't think most people have any idea just how much the pastor's wife wants to be liked. Or how desperately we hope to find friends. Or how we cringe when other women our age look intimidated just by walking past us.

So that's my latest first-weekend-in-a-new-church story. How about you?

How do you feel the first time your husband preaches in a new church? Do you do anything special to get off on the right foot?



To Love, To Be Loved, And Find Belongingness January 20, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

Hi Sarah,

I sent you an email message. I though you could help me make this generic as possible.

Thanks for sharing,


vanessa taylor

Anonymous,  January 20, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

My hubby is not a pastor, so I suppose I cannot fully relate. Although I think every woman wants to be loved and accepted (and look great) at church! I'm so proud of you for all the effort you put into supporting your husband! He must have been SO proud to say THIS IS MY WIFE! and I bet you looked HOT and SASSY regardless of what your body was screaming from the inside! ;) Best of wishes in your new church family!


Laura,  January 22, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

We just moved to a new church where my husband is the only pastor as well. It is a relatively big church and we were welcomed warmly. The church members donated "pantry" items to get us started in our new home and we have had several invitations to members' homes. It's been really nice!

I have kids as well and I got the, "your kids are really busy, aren't they" deal. No, they are little girls whose world has been turned upside down and they don't know what to do with all this attention.

I totally agree though. I don't think church members realize how much we want to be liked, or at least not to rock the boat. We want friends and we don't want to be looked at like we are some foreign sea creature. I find friendships one of the hardest things in ministry, and struggle with how to go about that.

In the end, I don't pretend that my kids are perfect or that I am perfect. We just are who we are. My kids might not be the best behaved. I might say something you don't like, but I try to be me and hope that I feel comfortable in my new surroundings.

Anonymous,  January 30, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

That so sounds familiar... we moved to our current position about 18 months ago. Our first official day at church was a Wednesday and I wanted to puke. Then that Sunday I too wanted to make a good impression and ended up HATING what I was wearing. I still remember what I wore and have not worn the skirt since.

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