What Are You Doing for Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is not on the traditional Christian calendar, but many churches observe it in some way. The church is at the intersection of faith and family life. Many dynamics spill over from family life into church life, because often several generations of families are involved in the church community. In addition, people act out of their family issues into congregational life, whether or not their families are part of the church.

To be most effective as a leader and in pastoral care, leaders need to deal with their own family history and how it impacts their functioning in the present. (Your mother doesn’t need to be living for this to be true!) What are your “hooks,” your emotional vulnerabilities? Learning to be more neutral about your family is a lifetime process. This will help you help the families under your care more than anything else you can do.

2 replies on “What Are You Doing for Mother’s Day?

  • IGalindo

    One phenomenon that comes up often for seminarians who are challenged to clarify their calling to ministry has to do with the realization that, despite previous mystic assumptions about their calling, in effect it was “Mom” who called them to the ministry. That’s not to negate the fact that, as Cowper wrote, “God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform” and often relies on moms to inculcate spiritual values and the moral center in their progeny.

    You are correct, Margaret, clergy often work out their unresolved family of origin issues in their congregations (as do many congregational members). In times of anxiety it’s helpful to remind ourselves that “the chair of deacons is not my father,” or that “my staff colleague is not my little sister,” or, that even if we feel like the “youngest, the baby in the family” when in a room full of firstborns, if we’re the leader we need to function like the leader in our system, not according to our birth order tendencies from our family of origin.


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