1. You’ll probably feel closest to ladies who teach and work in the nursery and create beautiful peonies out of tin foil for the Ladies Spring Tea. You’ll probably feel close to the ladies whose children are the same age as your children. You’ll probably feel close to people who invite you over to their houses all the time. And if there’s a lady who teaches and works in the nursery and creates beautiful peonies AND has children the same age as your children AND is a good hostess, you probably have a friend. 

Just because ladies who do things at church are AT church and you see them a lot and talk to them a lot. Also, you have a common interest – the church.

Ladies who arrive two minutes before Sunday morning church starts and can’t get out of church fast enough when church is over, will probably not be around long enough for you to be her friend.

2. But that doesn’t mean you CAN’T be a friend to the lady who isn’t involved. Maybe your friendship is just what she needs to feel more welcomed in the congregation.

3. You do have to be careful inviting the same people to YOUR house all the time, but a lot of time it’s the other family inviting you to their house. That’s fine. Go. (And I have some ideas for inviting people to your house, too – but we’ll talk about that on another day.) I remember, as a little girl, always going over to the same people’s house on Sunday night after church. Sometimes other people would be there, other times they wouldn’t. But they invited us and we went and my parents became good friends with them. In our Racine church we always went to the same family’s house on the Fourth of July and another family’s house on New Year’s Eve. They were traditions. But if someone else had invited us to their house first, we would’ve gone.

4. Sure, it’s ok to be friends, but if you’re in a situation where some of those not-too-often-at-church ladies are in attendance, you need to be friendly to them and make sure they’re feeling comfortable. Don’t ignore them and talk ONLY to the ladies who make you feel comfortable.

5. Yes, there are restrictions on your friendship. You can’t ever, ever, EVER talk about other people in the church. Seriously. NEVER.  (But wait a minute, like gossiping is ok in a non-pastor’s wife friendship? I don’t think so.)  You just must watch what you say. Sometimes it’s so tempting: “I am sooooo tired, my husband didn’t get home until five this morning. He was called over to Harold and Ernestine’s at midnight.”  As if the lady you’re talking to can’t figure out that Harold and Ernestine are having marital problems again.  Or, “Well, my husband had to go to the jail this afternoon.”  As if the lady won’t wonder WHY he was at the jail.

Still – there’s a lot you can talk about. Trust me.

What do you think? What experiences have you had being friends with people in your church?

4 thoughts on “BUT BE CAREFUL …”

  1. It feels like we’ve had two extremes. In our first little church, many of the people were related to one another, and no matter what we did, we were always the outsiders. They didn’t desire friendship with us, it seemed–they just wanted a preacher! (In my mind, there is a contrast between a pastor and a preacher–one who just fills the pulpit.) I was the youngest married woman by about seven years, too, and the age gap seemed more significant than it sounds to me now. Most of the women were even older than that. I reached out to those younger than me, but they were teenagers . . .

    In our current church, we immediately felt their desire to be our friends. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to be wanted in that way! We’ve traveled together, eaten together (both in homes and at restaurants), and just had fun. Being there in times of joy and sorrow has a way of drawing us close to one another that is beautiful. I do have an especially close friend here, but I work carefully to make sure that I’m not neglectful of others in favor of her. I am certain I fail sometimes, but it is something I’m conscious of. This church family has so worked their way into our hearts! It’s sad that the other one didn’t as much. We wanted it to be like this–we really did.

  2. Okay maybe I’m not good at this pastors wife job yet. I have some questions for you. How do you become that welcoming pastor’s wife when you are so shy. I have a terrible time getting to know people. If the person can carry a conversation, we are okay but I am terrible at leading a conversation. I try to come up with questions that I can ask? But once I am in the situation I totally loose those questions.
    Also I do accountability with a lady from our church. How do you not cross the line with gossip and honestly answering the questions that are there to keep you accountable? Lots of times I leave out names, but sometimes I know she knows who I am talking about anyway.

  3. It’s only been one year, so I think it’s too soon to tell completely. We’ve been having fun getting to know people. But, even when we were not in official ministry roles, it always taken awhile to make those connections friendships.

    Question though:
    If you’re out with friends, do you get introduced as ‘the pastor’s wife’? Or as ‘a friend from church’?

    I’m just curious, because so far I’ve noticed that it’s sometimes hard to get past the title “pastor’s wife” – which of course goes back to people’s past experiences or expectations. Seems like when I feel like I’ve found a friend, there are still those instances when they are guarded, cautious with their words (sometimes that’s a good thing), or think I’ve lived in seclusion and not in this world. 🙂

    Maybe it is MY expectations that are too high…

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