Seasoned - Interview #1
“We were so close to being one of those casualties. We were ready to walk away and God redeemed that.”
This may come as a shock - but I don't know everything there is to know about ministry. Neither does anyone on the Joy For Ministry team. I don't have all the answers. But I do know that we can learn from others! Periodically, we are going to be interviewing “seasoned” women in ministry. Women who have been around long enough to pour their wisdom and experience into others. Learning from others who have gone through the journey we are on is priceless. It is a way of having many mentors speaking into our lives.
I had the great privilege of interviewing Rodetta Cook - although she jokingly says that she doesn’t like to think of herself as “seasoned”. Her sense of humor and self described “life of the party” personality is as adorable as it is refreshing. Rodetta and her husband Ron started Care For Pastors - which is an amazing organization that cares for Churches, Pastors, Pastors’ wives, and now Pastors’ kids. I attached a link to our video conversation here and I encourage you to watch it. I am going to go through the highlights now and the things I pulled from that conversation, but feel free to watch the interview to get more in depth details. Rodetta is a wealth of wisdom. And you can learn so much from her just in this short time.
Their passion started early in their ministry when Rodetta's husband, Ron, clearly heard the voice of the Lord speak to him and tell him “one day you are going to have a ministry for Pastors.” Rodetta is honest about the struggles they faced early on when pastoring their churches. I was inspired when she said, “We were so close to being one of those casualties. We were ready to walk away and God redeemed that.” What an amazing testimony to how God uses our greatest hurts to impact our ministry in big ways.
Every time I meet a seasoned Pastors’ wife - I like to ask them this question: What are three things that you wish you could go back and tell your young self as you are starting out in ministry? Rodetta’s answers:
1. Set boundaries well.
2. Don’t try to live up to everyone's expectations.
3. Don’t have close friends in the church. (By the way this is a topic we will talk about in depth in future blogs)
Rodetta has talked to and ministered to many wives over the years. The Confidante, their private Facebook group for Pastors’ wives, has over 1,600 members. So naturally I asked her what I am dying to know. What are the biggest struggles she sees today in Pastors’ wives? Her answer - loneliness and trying to find their own identity. As she puts it, we are surrounded by people but it is a lonely road. That is why joining the Confidante is like joining a community of friends. You realize you are not alone. And when people start opening up you realize your struggles are shared by so many others. You gain wisdom, encouragement, understanding, and of course prayer.
There are a few things that Rodetta said in our time together that kept resonating with me. It is too good not to share. She talked about how it is so important to keep our priorities in order. God, Family, Church. “When church comes before family then life gets stressful.”
“We get so caught up in the doing that the being sometimes suffers.” She cares for herself by journaling, listening to podcasts, and doing bible studies. Like so many of us - she has to work at caring for herself. As she put it she “would rather be doing than feeding."
After my time with Rodetta - my husband asked me what some of my takeaways were. So here they are:
1. If you are in ministry long enough you are going to get hurt.
2. Even the most seasoned Pastors need care and sometimes struggle to find it.
3. Ministry families need help but don’t know where to turn.
4. There are resources out there for the entire family that will not only help us to survive but will also help us to thrive.
My biggest take away - Rodetta and her husband are heroes in the faith. They are truly people that I aspire to be like. They not only listened for the voice of the Lord - they sought it out, heard it, and obeyed the call God has on them. Sometimes it is easier to run away and lick our wounds. They didn’t shy away from anything. They said "Here I am. Send me." For that - I am so grateful. They have helped so many ministry families and through that the church is stronger and healthier.
The vision of Care for Pastors is to see every pastoral family persevering in ministry, developing a healthy church and leading in community transformation.
They offer encouragement, counseling, and also onsite care which consists of a week long intensive. Rodetta shared the three main categories of struggle that they see in Pastor families:
1. Marital challenges
2. Empathy fatigue
3. Church conflict.
They care for these struggles so that families can be healthy and also lead thriving ministries.
Please check out their awesome site. I attached a link our resource page.
Let us know in the comments if you have ever felt like walking away. Has God redeemed that yet or are you in a season of hurt or waiting? We would love to hear from you. Also - please see our prayer link if you need to post an anonymous request. We would love to pray for you.