Our amazing church staff (and, “on being a clergy spouse”)

Some of our wonderful staff with Rebekah at Tuesday’s luncheon

This week, in the midst of the busiest season of the year, I wanted to show our church staff (along with our elders for personnel admin) how much I appreciate all the hard work and dedication they bring to Wake Forest Presbyterian every day. Their calendar did not have room for one more party, so instead I prepared lunch and served them right after Tuesday morning’s staff meeting.

This is one more reason I’m happy I work from home and have the flexibility to complete contracts and assignments at my own pace. The chili I made required a lot of work (see pics below) and even more time (watching, stirring… watching, stirring… tasting… tasting…) so I got started before lunchtime the previous day.

IMG_7685I figure these amazing people are more than worth it so I started with all fresh ingredients, cooked with steak instead of ground beef, included fresh-out-of-the-oven yeast biscuits (the grandchildren helped make them this past weekend), and added a killer salad.

If Rebekah is able to accomplish anything as senior pastor and head of staff, then it is because this exceptionally talented team of professionals is hard at work following Jesus in their particular areas of commitment and expertise.

Ministry is not just a job it is a calling, and I know that call extends to everything from children’s ministry to music to bookkeeping to office management and beyond.

Ditto the call to be a preacher’s spouse. And that – in addition to the fact that I love and respect these folk – is why I made three large pots of chili and served it myself.

Being a Clergy Spouse…

IMG_E7538Rebekah and I both understand the world has changed quite a lot over the span of our working lives, and that – today – we are not quite so cutting edge or radically unique as we were in 1980. Yet it remains relatively unusual for a man to be married to a preacher, and I imagine there are very few who have followed this particular path (in the context of traditional parish ministry) for so long as forty years.

I have always seen this calling as one of the great privileges of my life, and have always been deeply invested in the day to day work of the church wherever Rebekah has served. I believe it is a tragic loss when a minister’s spouse misses out on all that love and joy.

Rebekah’s mother’s advice on “How to be married to a preacher” still holds true today:

  1. Love the Lord (with all your heart)
  2. Love the preacher (with all your heart)
  3. Love the church (with all your heart)

We are all called to serve:

I don’t care if you are male or female, if you are a boomer or a millennial, if you have a full-time job or are a stay-at-home dad (or mom), if you have natural gifts of leadership or prefer to work quietly behind the scenes, if you play a musical instrument or – like Rebekah’s mama – make a painfully off-key but joyful noise in the pew. Whatever our gifts, God calls us to serve.

The group photo is incomplete because several people – including all of the men – were dealing with the flu or otherwise occupied during lunch.

Like I said, I am beyond grateful for the staff who get things done. If you are a support and encouragement to Rebekah, then know that I love you and support you right back. God, I believe, is pleased with your response to the call.

In love, and because of love – DEREK




2 thoughts on “Our amazing church staff (and, “on being a clergy spouse”)

  1. James Wills

    The Chili was fantastic Derek, perfectly spicy with an excellent bean to meat ratio and nice and thick. Although the meat was quite tender I assume it wasn’t filet, from the picture it looks like stew beef which breaks down nicely in an acidic (tomato) base and a slow cook. I too believe we are all called to service, and cooking for others is a very satisfying form of service!

    Liked by 1 person

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