Monday, February 28, 2011

The Parsonage

We live in a parsonage. My husband has been a pastor for ten years and this is our first time in a church-owned house. I think I love it.

When we left the seminary I was dead-set against going to a church with a parsonage. I pictured a sad, neglected house and fights with the property board when the toilet broke.

What I live in right now is a lovely, well-cared for home that has plenty of space for our family. Someone else cuts the grass and shovels the snow. Posh!

The main drawback of being in a parsonage is that the fishbowl effect is magnified. Everyone at church knows where we live. Everyone in our neighborhood knows we are the pastor's family because this house has belonged to the church for decades. My husband jokes about "the compound" - as in, "Today I never left the compound. Home, church, home, church." The church is on one edge of the parking lot and our house is on the other.

I've heard that living in a parsonage can blur the line between home and work but for us, it has made the boundary between more clear. When my husband needs to work he can always get to church, so he rarely works at home.

Ten years ago this would have been an unhealthy situation for us. I would have been too sensitive to being so easily known. I would have felt self-conscious most of the time. Now, however, I am comforted by the congregation's care for us and usually like the easy movement between home and church.

That we are here now reassures me that God knows our needs and He provides for us with wisdom we could not understand. May He lead me to trust Him more.


  1. We lived in a parsonage once, and we really did have fights every time something needed to be fixed. The place really was running down. I went back to visit the old place last summer, and they had fixed and improved everything. Not only that, but the house was like, twice as big now. I guess they didn't like us or something!
    And I REALLY hated the fishbowl effect. I didn't like that anyone could drive by and see if we were home or what we were doing. There was no backyard, so the kids had to play in the front and anything we did outdoors was in plain view of anyone passing by.
    I did enjoy the lawn mowing though. But I enjoy the privacy of our home more. And although some things here are in need of repairs, I'm glad to say it's our own fault!
    I'm glad you're enjoying that part of your life though. I'm glad the congregation is taking care of you in this way!

  2. I'm glad you find peace in the parsonage! Our last church (the ubber dysfunctional one) had a parsonage. It was big and beautiful and well-maintained, but we found that they loved their buildings FAR more than the people in them. Very sad. Oh the stories...BUT! I'm glad it's a good situation for you! If the church people understand it's YOUR home while you're serving them then it should be great! Enjoy your home and the lawn service--which, I do miss... :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. It is nice to hear your perspective on this. We have lived in a parsonage for 17 years...well cared for by the people my husband serves. They have let it truly be our home...and there is peace in knowing that the roof over our heads is owned by this congregation. Sometimes, I long for our own home, especially as we get older...thanks for reminding that there are blessings from God still be given to us here. (I had a few typos in the post I removed.) : )

  5. I'm so glad to read of the way your church family cares for you and yours. Shouldn't it be this way? I often glance across to our parsonage and wonder if our pastor's family feels that fishbowl effect, if it troubles them, and feel a little jealous on their behalf for the pastor's family of another local church which has a parsonage, but in another part of town, away from the church. They can care for their pastor's family this way, but don't need to be peering in the windows.

  6. We lived in a parsonage the first 3 years of Senior Pastoring. It was about 10 feet from the church and it had many pros and a few cons. Actually the cons were literal...the previous pastor had ministered in prisons and given the address for released men to come by and visit!! Yikes! Ha!


Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.