Know the name of the pastor’s spouse and children. Greet them by name when you see them.
Does it seem strange to you that I would encourage people to learn their pastor’s spouse’s name? You’d expect everyone would know the name of the pastor’s wife/husband, wouldn’t you? Yet, in larger churches or in the case of a pastor other than the lead or preaching pastor it is quite possible that a large percentage of the congregation wouldn’t know the name of the pastor’s spouse. The same is true for the pastor’s kids.
I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been introduced as Mrs. Pastor Ken or “the pastor’s wife” because someone in the church didn’t know my name. Whenever that happened we joked about it and I made sure to let them know my real name, but it was awkward. I imagine this scenario happens quite frequently in the case of the pastor’s children; I know it happened to my own kids.
So what do we do if we don’t know who is married to the administrative pastor, the youth pastor, the children’s pastor, or the worship leader? Ask someone who does to point out the spouse and then make a mental note to remember the name and the face. Better yet, walk over and introduce yourself to the spouse and strike up a conversation. I guarantee you’ll remember her/him in the future and will be able to greet her/him by name. You’ll feel good and she/he will too. It is good to be recognized for who you are and not just who you’ve married.
Let’s talk about the kids for a moment. It is important to greet the children in an appropriate way. A quick, “Hello, Jack” as you’re walking down the church hallway is appropriate, especially if you don’t really know young Jack. I wouldn’t suggest you hunt down the pastor’s kids and try to strike up a deep conversation. You’ll come across as creepy. Also, if you want to say a word to the pastor and notice that he/she is talking to one of his/her children, be respectful of the child, as well as the pastor, by waiting patiently for that conversation to end, acknowledge the child by name, and then greet the pastor and have your conversation. I’ve watched in agony as my own children were ignored or interrupted because someone wanted a word with their father. I’m sure no disrespect was intended, but my kids felt disrespected nonetheless.
I hope you’ve found this little tip helpful. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of readers don’t know the name of the worship leader’s wife or the children’s pastor’s husband. I’ve just realized that I can’t remember the name of our junior high pastor’s husband. I guess I’ve got some homework to do. Do you?
*We recognize that there are many women pastors and that all posts don’t apply equally to men and women in ministry. We try to be gender neutral and when the use of he/she or him/her is too cumbersome we default to the masculine pronoun. The reverse is true for referring to the pastor’s spouse. We hope that you can read past these masculine and feminine pronouns to the spirit behind each post —- creative ways to be a blessing to those who serve us…..and their spouses.