Eyes on the Arizona Mission Offering: Help for a ministry family in need

Aug 1, 2023

Representative photo

Editor’s Note: The following was written by an Arizona Southern Baptist pastor who received help for his family through the Ministers in Crisis Fund. This fund is supported through gifts to the Arizona Mission Offering.

There is an unspoken expectation regarding ministers and their families. A pastor and his family are to be the model of the church and community.

His wife, often known simply as “pastor’s wife,” is not to struggle with insecurities regarding herself or her family. The pastor’s kids, simply known as “PK’s,” are not to struggle with cultural and societal pressures — after all, their dad is “the” pastor.

What many congregants do not realize is all these unspoken expectations, and many others, are false. Pastors and their families are human too. Being human means struggling with temptations, insecurities, sins and failures while clinging to the gospel for hope and truth.

Yet, pastors and their families have a limited circle of trusted confidants with whom they can share this reality and receive prayer instead of judgment.

My family and I are an example.

Adjusting to Arizona has been difficult for our family as we struggle to connect with a new church, new surroundings and new community. One can assume that a new location means a fresh start, and this is true. However, it also means that our struggles are done in silence as our former trusted community is hundreds of miles away and our new community is, well, just that — it is new.

Who do we trust with confidential prayer requests? Who can we visit that will accept us for being a family that is fighting against the cultural battles of LGBTQ+, gender identity, devaluing of the sanctity of marriage, whether or not to homeschool or send our kids to public school, and more?

The pastor and his family’s life is often compared to “living in a fishbowl” because everyone has access to see into this family’s life, but viewers often keep their own lives private, hidden, removed from all to see.

Our family came into a season of struggle, and we didn’t know to whom to turn.

As a pastor, I felt a sense of failure that I was not able to keep my family away from the temptations presented by culture but instead found my greatest fears dwelling within my own home. As my wife and I prayed to God for guidance on how to shepherd our family through this, we both knew that we were beyond our limits, and we needed help.

But who could help us through these trials with compassion, grace and patience? Not only did we not know to whom to turn, how would we finance any professional help?

These two questions weighed upon our souls and waves of despair crashed upon us.

We felt hopeless and scared until we found out that there was a ministry available to families like mine — the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists’ Ministers in Crisis ministry! This ministry understood our struggles and offered a way to lift us out of the sinking waters of despair and set us back on the solid hope and truth in Christ.

I had to reach out. I began by contacting our association’s director of missions/associational missions strategist. He connected me with someone from the Ministers in Crisis ministry, and the step toward healing began.

I wish I could say that all my fears are out of my house, but I would be lying. What I can say is that because we were able to connect with this ministry, we were not only able to afford the professional help needed, but we were also able to step into a new circle of trusted friends and confidants.

Our family still has many battles ahead, but thanks to the Ministers in Crisis Fund, we are learning to take each cultural fight one battle at a time.

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