Mark and Janet Dance join us again to talk about recent research on pastor spouses. In this episode, they discuss dealing with conflict in the church and how ministry families can face it.
Dealing with conflict in the church
One of the elephants in the room when we talk to ministry families is, of course, some of the conflict that occurs within churches. 7 out of 10 of the spouses indicated that their spouse, the pastor, has experienced resistance to their leadership in the church. Half of the spouses have personally felt like they’ve been attacked in the church with something that’s been said.
How can ministry families be ready for that? Obviously, you don’t want that. You never want to invite that but since it appears to be a reality of ministry in many churches, how can you prepare for some of the comments that get made, whether it be on social media, or personally, straight to your face, that are unkind?
Conflict is inevitable. What they want to know is, “How do we deal with it?” Not, “Are we going to deal with it?” but, “How do we deal with it?”
More importantly, the spouses are, in particular, asking, “How can we help our kids deal with it?” Most churches are smaller. You can’t protect or shield your kids completely from conflict in the church. They’re concerned about that because they don’t want their kids to be resentful of the church. They don’t want their kids to drop out when they grow up.
Those are things. They do take it personally. They have to. When someone criticizes me, when I was pastoring for 27 years. I guess I still am as an interim. When I got criticized it hurt Janet as much or more than it did me. This research bears out that she also flinches when he gets hit.
(See the full transcript for the episode –with links–on next page)
Mark Dance serves as director of Lifeway Pastors. Mark serves pastors by hosting date nights and roundtables, as well as speaking at retreats, conferences, and seminars. Prior to Lifeway, Mark pastored churches for 27 years. He has been married to Janet Kendrick since 1988, and they have two children: Holly and Brad.