Lutheran Church Extension Fund
Five Hard (but Important) Conversations for Church Work Couples

Five Hard (but Important) Conversations for Church Work Couples

How do you deal with a pebble in your shoe?

On our walk this morning, Carol suddenly stopped, handed me her shoe and said, “Get the pebble out of there!” I did, she stopped hopping around and put her shoe on, and we were off again.

I’m the guy who thinks it will just go away. Carol is married to an idiot.

The pebble was practically microscopic, but she knew it would eventually cause a problem on a three mile hike. Deal with it. Don’t let a tiny irritation turn into a festering sore spot.

There are dozens of issues that church work families and marriages deal with that most others don’t. If not addressed in a spirit of love and unity, they can disrupt the harmony of the home.

I’ll list five subjects that I think are worth discussing early and often, and I’m sure you’ll think of more. I encourage you to plan time (when things are peaceful) to have a heart to heart strategy session about how you will handle these tricky subjects in your home.

The Conflicting Loyalties of Church and Home.

Pastors and church workers constantly feel the tug. When at home, church is calling. When at church, home is calling.

Sometimes our families, in their passion for God’s work say, “Just go!” Sometimes, however, they have a right to demand, “Just say NO!”

Set some guidelines, and periodically ask, “Am I balancing my loyalties in a God-pleasing manner?”

Life in the Fishbowl.

If you don’t talk about it, it will drive you crazy. You’re on display. Your family is on display. Talk about the symptoms of “Fishbowl-itis.”

We’ve got some good stories that we laugh about now years later. Find a way to laugh today. Tell your children how you feel and bring them into the conversation. Don’t let the pebble become long-term resentment of your calling.

Long Hours and Nights at Church.

Your family will notice when the unending harvest is taking its toll before you will. There’s a point of diminishing returns where more hours equal less productivity.

Set some ground rules for weekly hours. Keep track. How do you wish to be told to slow down? It’s hard, but listen to this one carefully.


Unless you minored in budget and accounting at seminary, get some expert advice on managing a family financial plan within the boundaries of your income. This pebble can turn into a blister quickly and gets worse and worse without attention.

The team of financial advisors at Concordia Plans would love to hear from you! So would your Thrivent agent or District LCEF VP. There’s so much help at your fingertips. Many church workers ask for help from a financial advisor from a neighboring congregation because it feels safer. Great idea! Have the conversation.


Friendships are challenging for church workers and their spouses. Talk about it. Make a plan. Find a strategy to build friendships with peers or church members or people outside the church family.

A safe places to be yourselves is an important aspect of wellness often neglected by church workers.

Elijah said, “I’m the only one left!” The Lord said, “Go and find Elisha.”

God bless your important conversations. Which topic would you add?

Thanks for reading.