Pastor’s wife thankful for opportunities
    July 24 2017 by Beth Harris, Guest Column

    One of the greatest struggles for a pastor’s family is the church’s dual role, somewhat unique to the United States, as a leading non-profit institution as well as a Kingdom body of believers. I spoke about this topic last year to a group of ministry wives. It is stressful to be expected to attend every other non-profit fund-raiser in your town. It is stressful to add additional demands to an already overcrowded schedule. It is stressful to take public positions that bring media condemnation. As a wife, the stability and calm I crave is disrupted by all of the above. I just want to be able to go to the YMCA on Thursday night in peace!

    Mark and Beth Harris

    Recent events, however, have given me pause and caused me to consider the question: What if it weren’t so? What would my community look like if its pastors were marginalized?
    How would my life be different today had my husband, Mark Harris, senior pastor of Charlotte First Baptist Church, said no in 2012 when North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tammy Fitzgerald approached him about spearheading the work to pass the Marriage Amendment to the N.C. Constitution?
    First, I would have missed the opportunity to be salt and light to young people in the hard-charging world of professional politics. There were times I failed at this, but God took my heart’s desire and prayer to be a Christ-like influence and blessed it nonetheless.
    On a recent weekend, a young staffer from Mark’s congressional campaign caught me at the N.C. GOP State Convention and shared with me how the opportunity to be part of our campaign had blessed him. I got to read another staff member’s email stating his tremendous respect for Mark, and I got to hear his appreciation expressed to me just for knowing his name and taking time to personally thank him.
    One of these young people had begun visiting our church prior to his move out of Charlotte for another job.
    Second, I would have missed the opportunity to know and pray for our elected officials. Scripture admonishes us to pray for those in authority over us, but I confess I obeyed this admonition erratically.
    Now that I have had an opportunity to meet many of our elected officials at various events, I pray for them regularly. During the campaign to destroy our state’s economy over House Bill 2, it was heart breaking to hear from a legislator about attacks his son endured at a large public high school in Charlotte.
    I was able to keep my small group, my Sunday School class and others informed and to remind us to pray specifically by name for our elected officials, along with their wives and children. I’ve been able to send a quick note or give a word of thanks or encouragement to people who usually hear from their constituents only when there is a problem to be addressed.
    Finally, and most significantly, the public square would have missed my husband’s leadership skills, honed by 30 years of ministry. Today, when anyone can be ordained online, there is vast ignorance of the scope of a pastor’s job.
    There is the arduous budget process, which has to operate by consensus and receive a vote of the members. There is the facility, the technology, the volunteer management, the committees and the programs. But beyond all of that, there is the heart of a pastor. While a pastor carries a huge administrative load, he is not primarily a businessman. The goal of a businessman is to make a profit. The goal of government is to secure the God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Who better than a pastor, whose goal is to shepherd people, to lead the fight to secure those rights? Who better than a pastor to prod those in power to remember the people they represent? Who better than a pastor to build relationships that lead to productive conversations around the issues of our day?
    If you serve in ministry, my prayer would be that you will find your place in the larger community and that God will give you the fortitude to maintain it. If you are a member of a congregation, I would ask that you embrace the benefit to the Kingdom when your pastor is allowed out of the bubble of the church, whatever that may look like. Much has been given to us in ministry in the United States in terms of respect in our communities. Let us embrace that boldly.
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Mark Harris announced recently that he is resigning as pastor of Charlotte FBC while he considers another congressional race. His last day will be Sept. 30, and he will be interim pastor until a new pastor is found or Dec. 31.)

    7/24/2017 2:08:49 PM by Beth Harris, Guest Column | with 0 comments

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