As pastors’ wives, our families are in a unique position in relation to the church’s property. After all, our husbands work in the church building, we spend hours volunteering there, and our children spend more time there than any other kids in the congregation. We may even live in a church parsonage. That makes it difficult at times to maintain a proper perspective on the church’s belongings. However, it’s essential that we recognize the implications of how we treat church property. Here’s what I mean:
- How we treat church property reveals our attitudes toward God. The church belongs to the Lord. When I pick up trash from the parking lot or scrape mud from my shoes before entering the building, I’m humbly submitting to God’s authority over me. But when I shop for toilet paper in the janitor’s closet or use the church phone to call my cousin in Germany, I am, in essence, stealing from God.
- How we treat church property affects our husbands’ ministries. My husband’s sermon on good stewardship is not as likely to be heeded when the parsonage grass is thigh high, and everyone knows it’s my family’s responsibility to cut it. Yet when the nursery worker hears me tell my daughter she can’t take a doll home because it belongs to the church, that worker has just seen a living illustration of my husband’s Bible study about not coveting what belongs to others.
- How we treat church property impacts our kids’ futures. When my son pockets a package of crayons from the church craft room, I may be tempted to excuse it as no big deal. But what about in a couple of years when he wants money for a concert ticket. Will he think it’s okay to pocket money from the offering plate to get what he wants? On the other hand, when I tell my kids not to run in the sanctuary because that room is set apart for worship, they learn respect for God and His church.
Sometimes all these property-related issues can feel overwhelming, but it helps when we remember the blessings that go along with being pastors’ families…for some of us, it’s living rent-free/mortgage-free in a parsonage; for others of us, it’s taking home the leftover cake or pizza from a church fellowship; for still others, it’s our kids’ free access to the church gym on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Let’s express our appreciation for these blessings in how we care for church property.