Mutual Encouragement as Husband And Wife in pastoral Ministry -- By: Brian H. Moore

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 21:0 (NA 1989)
Article: Mutual Encouragement as Husband And Wife in pastoral Ministry
Author: Brian H. Moore

Mutual Encouragement as Husband
And Wife in pastoral Ministry

Brian H. Moore

Mr. Moore, and ATS Alumnus, is Senior Pastor of St. James Brethren Church, St. James, Maryland.

This article is from an address to the Brethren Pastor’s Conference held at Mason, Ohio, in April of 1988. Little effort has been made to disguise its nature as primarily a spoken message to a live audience on that occasion.

This occasion is called Pastors’ Conference but I think of it more as a retreat than a conference because our subjects in these days are not as academic as they are personal. We are coming together as husband and wife, to be apart from the routines and the pressures of ministry and family. It is a time to consider how God is at work in our lives and to open ourselves again to the possibilities of God, to ask, “What is going on in me?” and to look at our spouse and ask, “What is going on in you?”

But what irony! Here I am without my wife! Failing to exhibit the very concept I am in theory endorsing and trying to promote! And yet, isn’t this the reality of life in pastoral ministry? We conceptualize our ideals yet struggle very deeply to bring them to reality! So, what my life is saying today provides a kind of foundation for the ideals I am trying to perpetuate: if we are not careful, we tend to become a houseful of strangers. We will be going places and doing things in ministry and leave our families to care for themselves. And it is a distinct possibility that we may do so because we find less resistance from our inner selves to go out on our ‘white horse’ to ‘save’ somebody than to deal with the hardships of relating to our family members. There seems to be more immediate fulfillment and more obvious reward in exercising our Messiah-image than in being a patient spouse and creative parent.

I’m glad you have blown the whistle on yourself, that you think enough of your mate and your mutual relationship to throw off the shackles of a supposed indispensability, and that you have allowed yourselves to come to a setting where some courage to be vulnerable is required. I hope we experience some tension, if not pain, in these few days together, for it is unlikely that much of value will come without some tense or painful moments. But more than tension or pain, I hope we also experience true pleasure in being together, relating to one another and growing closer to one another as husband and wife. And for those of us who, like myself, are only partially here, I hope we will reflect upon our relationship as husband/wife and go back to our homes with new resolve to intentionally encourage one another. And, strange as it may seem, may we, in that balanced rhythm of pain and pleasure, discover the presence of God all over ...

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