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6 Things I Bet You Don’t Know about Your Pastor’s Wife

Marriage1

One of the least thought about people in the church today is a Pastor’s wife. While leaders get all the attention and accolades their families and private lives are thought of very little by the public. In fact in a moment in church history where we are inundated with volumes of leadership ideas and training very little is written about pastor’s wives. I recently sat down with Lisa, my wife, and asked her about her experience being married to a full-time pastor for the past 18+ years. Here is some of what she had to say…

1. Every Criticism of the Church is a Criticism of my Husband

Whenever people complain about the church, I feel like they’re complaining about my husband. After all every criticism of leadership is ultimately a criticism of my husband. It could be a sermon series they don’t like, a new building project they don’t agree with, services times, parking, the music being too loud, Children’s Ministry, a staff member they don’t like…on and on the list can go.

2. I wish my Kids were treated like Every other Kid at Church

I wish my kids were treated with the same love, grace and enthusiasm that every other kid was treated with at church. It goes both ways. They either receive preferential treatment because they’re the pastor’s kid or they’re overly criticized for every peep they make in church. They deserve to have the same experience that every other kid who walks in those doors has. I want my kids to grow up to love Jesus and the church not feel criticized by it.

3. Sundays are the most Difficult Day of the Week

I wake up and get the kids ready alone. We go to church alone. I check my kids into children’s ministry alone. I sit in church alone. I come home alone. And when my husband comes home from church, he’s tired because he’s given his all to serve the church that day. It’s tough, because my kids are off from school 2 days a week, and one of those days is a workday for dad.

4. I don’t Always want to be in a Bible Study

There’s this unspoken (and sometimes spoken) expectation that if you’re a pastor’s wife that every time the church is open you should be there and leading in some capacity. Sometimes I just want to volunteer in my kids school and in the community and be outside the 4 walls of the church around people who are far from Jesus. Don’t’ get me wrong, we’re in a small group with other Believers and love it. It’s just sometimes I don’t want to be around Christians, I want to be around people who are far from Jesus, because that’s who Jesus came for

5. Holidays are Lonely

In other words Christmas and Easter. They’re Super Bowl moments for the church. They’re 2 of the most likely times when people will come to church each year. So when everyone else is hanging with family and celebrating holidays together, my husband is at church. We don’t get to travel and be with family. We don’t get to be together on Christmas Eve.

6. I’m not Married to Jesus, my Husband is Human

Believe it or not my husband is not always the same guy that everyone sees on stage. There’s times he’s grumpy, tired, impatient with the kids, and selfish. He has bad days just like everyone else. And he’s not walking around spouting off scripture all hours of the day. We have arguments just like every other couple. Contrary to popular belief he’s human just like every other guy.

Before you think I hate being a Pastor’s Wife: Every wife has things she likes and dislikes about her husbands job, no matter what he does for a career. But it seems like a lot of people think that a pastor’s job is a cakewalk, and that he only works on Sundays. No, he’s not traveling 40% of the nights each month like a lot of men in business world. No he doesn’t commute an hour to work each way, and he doesn’t work 3rd shift. Even though being married to a pastor is not as easy as you may think, it does however have it’s own unique set of blessings. It’s an incredible privilege to be a small part of leading a church. It’s no small thing that people would trust me and that I would have the opportunity to help shepherd and care for people, and see people take ground in their relationship with Jesus. And there is a real sense that I have a huge extended family in the body of Christ. There really are some really sweet people in the church that help take care of my family and me. They minister to us as much as we minister to them. It may not always be easy, but it’s worth it.

Photo Credit: swirlingthoughts via Compfight cc


Posted in Family, Leadership

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2013 in the Rearview Mirror

rearviewmirror

When you’re in the middle of the daily grind it can be difficult to see what kind of progress you’re making. That’s why it’s helpful from time to time to take a step back, review the ground you’ve taken, and celebrate the wins! After all what gets celebrated, gets repeated! So below are some of the life and ministry highlights that I experienced in 2013!

1. The Birth of my 4th Child

After 17 years of marriage, 3 kids and about a 4-year span with no diapers Lisa and I decided to go for number 4. The Lord was gracious and gave us Wyatt Grant. The kid is just plain fun and we love having him in our family!

2. Baptisms

We broke the 500 barrier on the Gilbert Campus this year! We saw 508 people choose to be publicly baptized this year. Definitely a high water mark in my ministry career!

3. Generosity

In partnership with our friends at Harvest India, Sun Valley gave more than $150,000 to care for the needs of 300 orphans in India for an entire year!

4. Team Building

We made two incredible additions to the Gilbert Campus Team. We hired Caleb Landon to serve as the new Worship Pastor and Miguel De La Mora as the High School Pastor. Both of these guys are a great fit and have made an immediate impact! I love having them on the team!

5. Risk and Reward

We took a big risk this year as Matt Thompson who has led worship on the Gilbert Campus for the last 7 years made the move to start leading at the Tempe Campus in order to help the Tempe Campus take ground. To back-fill Matt we hired Caleb Landon (mentioned above). As a result both campuses are taking ground and the team is stronger!

6. Coaching and Consulting

I love working with churches and church leaders and helping them make vision real. There is a huge gap between most churches vision and the reality they’re leading in. I’m at my best when I’m helping churches and church leaders navigate that gap. If you’re unfamiliar with my partnership with The UnStuck Group then you need to get to know this team today! And by the way…I just started taking applications for my next Leadership Coaching Network. Interested?

7. The Next Generation

The Children’s Ministry grew by more than 6% and the Student Ministry grew by more than 16% on the Gilbert Campus! For a guy that got his start in ministry working with Students I love seeing the next generation impacted by the Gospel!

8. A New House

The Alexander Family moved from Chandler to Gilbert to be closer to the Gilbert Campus that I have the opportunity to lead day-to-day. Needless to say my honey-do-list got a bit longer this year.

9. Small Groups

Involvement in Small Group Bible Studies increased by more than 23% this year on the Gilbert Campus! Life change happens best in the context of relationship and I love the fact that more people are getting connect in meaningful relationships centered around God’s Word!

Within a 10-mile radius of the Gilbert Campus there are 880,000 people who don’t go to church anywhere. So while we’re nowhere near done, I’m excited about the ground we’re taking!

I’d love to hear about the family and ministry wins you experienced in 2013! Leave a comment!


Posted in Family, Leadership

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What My 8yr Old Taught Me About Goal Setting

Achieving Your Goals

The other day I was driving my 8yr old daughter to school, like I do every day, and we got into a conversation about goals for 2014. She quickly began to teach me a leadership lesson about goal setting that I thought I’d pass along to you. She explained to me that there are 3 kinds of goals:

1. “Soccer”

You know, like when you score a goal in a soccer game. Yep, got it. Keeping score is a good thing when you’re setting goals.

2. “Animals”

This one took me a bit longer to understand, and she actually got frustrated with me because I was a little slow on the uptake. But what she was saying was “gulls.” Like Sea Gulls. The thought process of an 8yr old, cute.

3. “When you Reach for Something”

Finally she said that a goal is something you have to reach for, and you can’t mark it off your list until you keep doing it. In other words it involves 3 things:

1. Consistency: Just because you change a behavior one time or achieve something once, doesn’t mean you’ve mastered it or arrived. You’re looking for a consistent change in behavior.

2. Accountability: A list is a great way to build accountability. If it isn’t written down it doesn’t exist. You’ve got to have a solid concrete target to shoot for.

3. Reach: Whatever goals you set in 2014 they should push you to reach for something on the top shelf. It shouldn’t be easy and the sheer movement towards that goal should cause personal growth.

Smart little lady huh? I should let my kids write all my blog posts!


Posted in Family, Leadership

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Leadership Lessons from a Family Vacation

familyvacation

Like many families this summer, we did a family vacation. Lisa and I had the opportunity to take the kids (all 4 of them now) for an incredible week in the mountains! Like any leader, it’s tough for me to just “turn it off.” So…upon reminiscing, here are five leadership lessons that parallel our time together we had as a family this summer.

1. The Best Teams have Fun Together

We hiked together, rode go-carts, played miniature golf, taught the girls to play Settlers of Catan, wrestled, snuggled, roasted marshmallows on a fire…the list goes on an on. Bottom line is…we did a lot of stuff to build memories and have fun together. The best teams I’ve ever been around have those same dynamics. They work hard at the work they’re doing, but they also work hard at building memories and having fun together.

2. Spend One-on-One Time with Your Most Important Players

One of the more exciting things for me was to do some one-on-one time with each of the kids. I got to take each of the girls to the driving range and putting green (yes they’re learning to play golf, and love it…shout out to The First Tee), and then just sit and hang at Starbucks. Lincoln, he’s easy at this age, just take him out for ice cream and he’s your best friend forever. Great leaders always intentionally invest individual time in their most promising players.

3. Make Space to Work on Yourself

Each day on vacation I got to spend a little time working on me. Whether it was exercising (I don’t like it, but I need it), or reading, I made space to work on me. The best leaders I’ve ever been around build time into the rhythm of their work to invest in their own personal development and growth.

4. Remember that Sometimes Leadership is just Messy

It rained almost every afternoon on vacation. Which was perfect for getting muddy on the trails (see the picture above). The reality is leadership isn’t always as crisp and clean as everybody makes it out to be. While you can study the science of management, leadership is an art. And like any art it can be messy, it can surprise you, it can turn out beautiful, there are moments that are discouraging, and there are moments of great triumph.

 5. Build Time to just Rest

One of the most glorious things about vacation? Let’s all say these two little words together: sleeping in! Believe it or not sleeping in or taking a nap could be the most spiritual thing you do all week. Simply put, if you run your life wide open with the pedal to the metal, you won’t be running for very long.


Posted in Family, Leadership

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Why I’m Still Married After 17 Years

marriage

Lisa and I just celebrated 17 years of marriage this past weekend! To tell the truth, there a lot of people I should be thanking for their investment into my wife and I. And there are a lot of reasons we’re still married today, but here are a couple of practices that have helped us get where we are. So in no particular order, here they are. Hope they help.

1. We take Vacations (just the 2 of us)

While I love my 4 kids and spending time with them. I love doing vacation with just my wife! Lisa and I have chosen to save up during every 5-year period of our marriage and do a big vacation with just the two of us every 5 years! It’s always great time with her and it’s great to pay cash and not go in debt to do it!

2. We Serve Each Other

Serving is an important and intentional discipline in our marriage. Because we’ve learned that it’s difficult to serve someone well with a bitter heart. Among other things Lisa regularly offers to make me breakfast and I can’t tell you how many dishes I’ve done over the years.

3. We made a Commitment

Lisa and I both know, love and follow Jesus. And while there a lot of good principles that go into building a great marriage, Jesus is the starting point for us. We didn’t “fall” in love, rather we chose to love each other and made a commitment to each other and to God to love each other well.

4. We got Help

When things were dark in our marriage early on, we didn’t hide. We got the professional help we needed to move towards health together. We used to joke around that “Visa saved our marriage.” We didn’t have the money for counseling when we were young, but our marriage was valuable enough to us that money wasn’t going to be an excuse.

5. We still go on Dates

Every month we have at least one date night. It may be going out to a movie, having dinner, lunch, or catching a red box movie and dinner together after the kids are down. But regardless of what it is we are intentional about spending time with each other apart from the kids. I got to know Lisa over hours together at a coffee shop in college, and we still enjoy sitting and talking over a cup of coffee all these years later.

6. We Give and Receive Forgiveness

This isn’t an easy one to learn, but learn we’ve had to. The reality is you can shrink back from conflict or you can view it as a pathway to relational intimacy. I choose the later. Every conflict is an opportunity to move towards oneness.

7. We Keep Learning

It’s been common practice in our marriage to go on marriage retreats, to marriage conferences and read a book every year or so on marriage as a springboard to evaluative conversations that we wouldn’t necessarily have on our own. In fact we just got done reading and talking about Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage.


Posted in Family
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