A long-time friend gave me this wonderful ceramic magnet during the first week of Advent this year. Amazingly, she had remembered our conversation from five years ago when this statement became my handshake of hope. “God is good … All the time.” “All the time … God is good.” This magnet has been sitting on my desktop from the day it was given to me. “Witness to hope!” it keeps calling. So I shall. I clung to the shining words, “God is good” during...

Dare I say it? Just about every clergy spouse has a personal illustration of the dynamic: “unrealistic expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” Here’s a classic example, regardless of age, race or gender: A parishioner expects me to know the latest scoop about another parishioner who was just hospitalized with a heart attack. Then walks off in exasperation when I confess that I had no idea about the situation; I had just returned from a business trip. Laughable, right? And yet am...

Conflict. Everyone faces it. But clergy spouses often deal with an extra layer, especially when we worship where our spouses pastor. In recent conversations with clergy spouses, we're hearing this question: "How do I deal with conflict when it erupts between the congregation and my pastor-partner?" Phil Newcomer, a clergy spouse and PK who recently joined the Artos Board, volunteered to give his take on this thorny issue. U2’s lead singer Bono once said, “Christians are hard to tolerate; I don’t know...

Picture it. You and your spouse (the pastor) are greeting congregants at your new church home. Smiles and warm handshakes all around. Conversation flows with your spouse about pastoral concerns and hopes for the church. And then the congregant’s eyes turn toward you … “So, what will be your role in our church?” How do you answer? How can you answer a question so packed with expectations – past and future? At best, you want to build a relationship with this congregation. At the...

I pull out my special Christmas to-do list to help keep my sanity during this frenetic season. No list of presents to give or cards to send. No list of decorations to put up. No list of cookies to bake. It's a list of permissions of what to let go of - like putting only lights on the tree, but no ornaments. Or downsizing from a tree that fills a room to a tree that tops a table. Even that which...

I confess, I wasn't feeling very hopeful yesterday. The Advent-Christmas season is probably the toughest sacrifice for me as a clergy spouse. I deeply grieve my pre-clergy spouse traditions. And I flail and thrash when the un-reliability of clergy family life threatens whatever thread of new traditions we try to establish. So I hit my knees in prayer yesterday afternoon, as I'm finding that I seem to talk with God better in this position. After 20 years, I know I will...

God never intended “well-being” to sound like a foreign language to clergy spouses. Nor to travel the road of well-being alone. We’re on this road with you. You are not alone in your questions, joys and challenges. Here, we’ll embrace both the spiritual heights and the nitty-gritty steps for clergy spouses. May God bless our efforts to encourage each other through this online forum. “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV Check back soon for the first posting!...