Ask the Matriarch: Church is My Life. (Is that so bad?)

This week’s question is an opportunity for honest reflection on the balance between loving our ministry life and finding/enjoying a life apart from the church. We also explore the benefits for the congregation and the pastor’s ministry when we do that work, and the consequences when we don’t. Dear Matriarchs, This may or may not… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Whose House Is It, Anyway?

Sabbatical planning includes many things: when to go, what to do with the time, what will the congregation do while the pastor is away? But what about the “empty” parsonage? Here’s the scenario: Hello Friends – I am starting to plan for first and only (given my age and stage) sabbatical. Hurrah! My wife and… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Help! They run the place!

What’s at the intersection of “things they don’t teach you in seminary” and “things you wish the search committee had told you”? This question! Dear Matriarchs, What if you had a small group of leaders who have ensconced themselves on one committee? They have controlled all church decisions for years, if not decades, and have… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Can we talk about closing?

A few years ago at the NEXT Church National Gathering I attended a workshop for pastors serving churches that might close. I noted that, aside from a friend of the presenter’s and a judicatory official, all the pastors in the room were women. While we may not be the only clergy serving congregations at the… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: BFP Best Practices, Social Media Edition

This week’s Matriarch Mail brings us another BFP question. A Beloved Former Pastor, having ended (officially) serving a congregation through retirement or by accepting a call to a new congregation, continues to be a presence within and around the congregation or with some/most/all of their should-be-former congregants. A BFP continues to benevolently provide goodies without the… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Advice to your Future BFP Self

  This week’s question is an All-Play! So, put on your fancy advice-giving hat and get ready to play along. This week’s question is born of all the painful pastor stories we have told and heard about the bad behavior of the Beloved Former Pastor — a.k.a., BFP.  Former pastors who don’t leave well —… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: What’s Your Spiritual Practice?

Wouldn’t you know that this week’s post is coming to you a day late, on the week when the question is about how we are spiritually disciplined? Ahem. Moving on . . . Let’s consider the subject of spiritual disciplines and welcome potential for growth: Dear Matriarchs, I have enjoyed the recent RevGalBlogPals feature sharing… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Getting Support for Continuing Education

As pastors, we are admonished to keep learning after our formal theological education ends. Are we on our own to find the money and the time for our pastoral growth? This week’s question wonders how to get congregational support for attending continuing education events. Dear Matriarchs, There seem to be two kinds of pastors in… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Grumbling about the Part-Time Pastor

The number of part-time pastors and bi-vocational pastors is on the rise. This week’s question is from a RevGal who is leading her congregation as they make that shift. Hear her challenges: Dear Matriarchs, I serve as the congregation’s first part-time pastor because — you guessed it — the congregation can no longer afford a… Read More