I have been going to church ever since I could remember. While attending a Christian high school and Christian college, there were also required weekly chapels in addition to church on Sunday. Church has always been a big part of my life, but I can honestly say that my involvement at church is much higher now that I am a pastor’s wife. While I would normally feel uncomfortable and become anxious around that many people (I talk about that here), every time we open the church doors, it’s like going to see family. Some of my best friends are there, our actual family is there, and I’m pretty sure my two-year-old thinks he runs that place. While I think it’s great to enjoy going to church, often times when church becomes too comfortable, it’s easy to lose sight of the real reason why we attend church.
A couple of weeks ago, I realized that it had been over a month since I had been to church. Yes, you read that right, the pastor’s wife skipped church for an entire month. It started out pretty innocent. Both the children had gotten sick and we decided it would be best to keep them home. The following week I really didn’t want to put the kids in the church nursery and chance them getting sick again so I decided we weren’t going to church. I think I came up with an excuse for the next couple of weeks and just like that, I had gone a month without attending church.
Sunday is typically a tough day for us. It’s hard enough getting any family fed and ready to go in the morning, but when you’re a pastor’s wife, it means you’re doing it all by yourself. After a month of not going through that hassle every Sunday, it had just become easier not to worry about getting everyone ready and out the door on time. Out of curiosity, I timed how long it took to get myself, my two-year-old, and my eight-month-old ready to go on a Sunday morning. I was so upset when I realized that we spent more time getting ready than we did actually being at church and I seriously started to wonder why we went to church at all.
I am embarrassed to admit that the first thought that popped into my head was, “Because I am the pastor’s wife”. I immediately realized what a ridiculous answer that was and my mind started racing. Was that the only reason I went to church? Would I still be going to church if I wasn’t the pastor’s wife? I knew something was missing and I needed to figure out what it was. I wasn’t excited to attend church anymore so there was nothing, other than the fact that I was a pastor’s wife, that made me want to be at church. I had become so comfortable with
Was that the only reason I went to church?
Would I still be going to church if I wasn’t the pastor’s wife?
I knew something was missing and I needed to figure out what it was. I haven’t been excited to attend church lately, so there was nothing, other than the fact that I was a pastor’s wife, that made me want to be at church. I had become so comfortable with church that it was no longer special or exciting. I would often go to church on a Sunday morning and never set foot in the sanctuary and I would rarely invite friends to attend with me. My attitude on Sunday morning had become dependent on if I got a good parking spot or if my husband picked up Starbucks for me.
I read a quote the other day that said, “I am not a pastor’s wife. I am a woman whose husband is a pastor”. It might not seem that different to you, but to me the wording makes all the difference. It puts more emphasis on me as a person and child of God, and less importance on me as a pastor’s wife. Even if I were not a pastor’s wife, I would still go church and meet with God. If my children were not pastor’s kids, I would still do my best to instill in them a love for God. Who I am married to does not change my relationship with God.
Do I think it’s bad when church becomes comfortable? Absolutely not.
But when we start seeing church as a building or a job, we stop having a reason to attend church. Instead of being excited, church becomes obligatory. When church attendance simply becomes a checkbox on a to-do list, we have lost sight of why we attend church. I go to church to meet with God, I go to church to be in community with like-minded believers, and I go to church to find encouragement and accountability. There are many reasons why I attend church, but I am going to make sure that “because I am a pastor’s wife” is not one of them.