Heart to Heart by Esther Fenty

I’M HAVING MY MARRIED PASTOR’S BABY

I hope you can help me.  I had an affair with the pastor of a leading church, and am due to have his baby in two months’ time.  My family is standing by me, but I haven’t told them who the father is.  They’d be horrified to learn that the pastor of the church they attend is my baby’s father.  I recognise I’ve behaved badly. I was good friends with the pastor’s wife.  I don’t know if she knew about my affair with her husband, but of late she has stopped taking my calls.  When I told the pastor of my pregnancy, he initially agreed to support me, and we still had sex, but when my pregnancy started to show at four months, he literally stopped talking to me, and we’ve not spoken since, so I don’t know what I’m going to do for finance.  I know I’ve done wrong, and my focus is now on my child and my future.  How should I move forward?  Please help.
Name and address supplied

Esther Fenty says:

In the midst of all this is a soon-to-be-born child, who will later have to come to terms with the deception of both of his parents; your disappointed family; the pastor’s broken family; a betrayed friend, and a grieving church. Although it takes two to tango, I am not sure how much responsibility and remorse you appear to be taking for your part in this situation.

As you have admitted that you have ‘behaved badly’, perhaps the first thing to do is to get your relationship with God back on track. Focusing on the future would mean not just recognising your wrongdoing, but expressing sorrow through asking God for forgiveness with the intention of turning from the wrong, and moving forward in His love. It is not about being sorry that you got caught, nor is it about retribution for the other party.

Having done that, you will be in a position to think about how you handle the pastor. You will need to consider that this might not have been his first or last affair. Therefore, it is important that the leadership of the church is aware of what happened. The pastor should be accountable to either the local leadership team or to a national body, who can investigate and take action on such matters. Allow them to be governed by their own constitution – although you may not agree with the outcome.

If the leadership of the church is aware, it is possible that your family will be informed, since they attend the same church. Therefore, it would be better if they heard it from you. As much as I hope that they continue to support you, do not be surprised if they express their disappointment or withdraw their support. You are just as responsible for this state of affairs as the pastor.

Your relationship with his wife – a previous friend – will be very different, and will take time to heal.

The pastor may give a financial contribution out of duty, but you cannot force him to take an interest in his child. As he is not talking to you, you will need to write to him about his responsibility as a parent. If he refuses, you will need to discuss with the benefit agencies what financial help is available, and whether you want to go down the route of the Child Support Agency at a later stage. Your responsibility is to give this child as much love as possible.

 

 

I DON’T WANT TO HEAD UP THE WOMEN’S MINISTRY

My husband was recently appointed pastor of a relatively young church.  We’re a young couple, and have only been married for a year, so this has been a baptism of fire for us, literally.  I knew my husband had a ministerial calling, but didn’t expect him to be given a church to lead so early. If I’m honest, I thought we’d enjoy married life for a while before being called into ministry.  I’m happy to support my husband in his church role, but what I am finding difficult is that my husband wants me to lead the women’s ministry.  It’s not a role I want, partly due to my youth and inexperience and, if I’m honest, I’m more interested in starting a family. How can I get my husband to see this?
Angela, London

Esther Fenty says:

Anyone, whether experienced or inexperienced, can find that there are teething troubles on their appointment to the pastorate of a church.  However, being newly married adds another dimension.

Perhaps this discussion – around starting a family, etc – should have taken place before your husband accepted the role. However, it is not too late to have one. If you are not able to express your views now, you will end up resenting being part of this ministry. Discuss your gifting and talents; your role in the ministry, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of starting a family now or later.

I am not sure what your church organisational structure is like, and you may need to take advantage of the support systems on offer through a district supervisor, etc. If this is not available, you will need to find a mentor (or mentors), who can support you and your husband in your new role.

A mentor may be able to pray through the issues of leading the women’s group. The apostle Paul advised Timothy that he should not let anyone despise his youth.  Therefore, you will need to consider whether these are excuses, or whether you are not ready for this role at the moment. Indeed, if God has called you, He will equip you.

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