Ask the Matriarch: Showing Compassion While Respecting Pastoral Boundaries

There’s formal “Boundary Training” for pastors, and then there are the real-life boundary tests that pop up along the way. Here’s one: Dear Matriarchs, I’m pastoring a tiny church (as in 18 members). There’s a family who were very active and beloved before I came who have now moved away. Because of their love for… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Leading Worship in the Midst of Grief

One of our colleagues is facing a most difficult return to her pulpit Sunday. How does a pastor approach a worship service that meets her needs, her congregation’s and is faithful to the work of worship? Dear Women in Ministry, I am a second career, ordained for 6 years and in the same small church… Read More

Ask the Matriarch:What to tell (and not tell) the Search Committee

A pastoral search is an exercise in mutual vulnerability as pastor-to-be and her potential new congregation get to know one another. How much will each reveal to the other about the difficult things as they discern God’s call? Dear Matriarchs: I am in the search process (PCUSA), and anticipating interviews. I know that search committees… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Former Member Still Stirring the (Anger) Pot

After a member leaves the church, but continues to engage angrily with the pastor and the congregation . . . what’s a pastor to do? Dear Matriarchs: Several months ago a family left our church because they couldn’t see how our church’s commitments to LGBTQ+ inclusion is faithful to the gospel. We thought they had… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Our Favorite Ministry Resources

This week we ask the Matriarchs to give us some practical inspiration for our work as pastors. Dear Matriarchs, What are your best/favorite/essential go-to resources for ministry? Categories might include worship liturgy, sermon writing, programming, leader development, spiritual development (pastor and congregation) and congregational vitality. Let’s hear from our Matriarchs: Sharon Mack Temple I will… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Her Bifurcated Facebook Presence

This week’s question is about a pastor’s social media and also about the need to re-calibrate systems after we’ve been at this awhile. Here’s a pastor who is taking a new look at how to manage her social media presence: Dear Matriarchs: Let me stipulate that I don’t like Facebook, I don’t like how it… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Negotiating Your Best Parsonage

A pastor’s residence is her retreat, her haven, her household’s headquarters. This week’s question is about her pastoral housing choice: to live in the church parsonage or not? Dear Matriarchs: I am UM and moving to a new appointment. The church has a parsonage, and they indicated that it was our choice to either move… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: “How Do You Know When It’s Time to Go?”

This week’s question can be summed up in the advice given in Kenny Rogers classic “The Gambler” You’ve got to know when to hold ’em Know when to fold ’em Know when to walk away And know when to run But how do you know when?  This week’s question is our ministry version of that… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Summer Worship Ideas

Summer is coming and preachers are planning! This week’s question solicits advice for summer worship ideas. Dear Matriarchs: This summer, I would like to diverge from the lectionary for the summer. Last year a colleague and I came up with a fun, travel-themed trip through the book of Exodus. Have any of you tried anything… Read More