It’s Okay for Worship Styles to Evolve

In today’s church I think you will find a common tension where transition is involved. As a culture (especially one with freedom of religion), we tend to hyper-personalize our worship experience. When I speak of worship in this context, I’m referring to praising God in song within a church service. If we are honest, most of our complaints are rooted in personal preference, not in righteous indignation.

“It’s too loud!” “Why is it so dark in here?” “Where did the piano go?” “Why aren’t we singing more hymns?!”

Something tells me we could hire Josh Groban to lead worship, and there would still be fault found with his performance.

The resistance to change may not be coming from a humble place of honoring Christ. It could very well originate from a place of entitlement to the traditions of an older church culture. Not older as in the age of a church member. Older as in a style that originated from a decade or more ago. It’s not holiness or the quality of our worship that’s being guarded here. It’s the attachment to sentimentality and familiarity.

However, this truth is often deflected with the insistence that moving forward and letting go of traditions, is somehow a move to disrespect or dishonor the past.

Sadly, what is not being acknowledged here is the disregard for our future.

Yes, you were there for the ‘good ole days’. But keep in mind that the good ole days are happening right now for a new generation. A generation with perhaps a different mindset on how we relate spiritually. They aren’t necessarily conservative. They may not cling to the propriety that was once a requirement in the church. They aren’t loitering within the walls of a holy building whenever the doors are open. They are loving people to God’s grace in unconventional ways. Love is not a noun, it is a verb. The church is not a place, it’s you and it’s me, wherever we are. This generation is not telling people about Jesus. They are being Jesus.

Is their way wrong…or just new?

Often times I’ll hear a generalization sung to the tune of,

“These kids and their technology…(insert condescending expression). We’re supposed to be in the world, not OF it. Harrumph!”

To clarify- ‘in the world’ is our location. Being ‘not of the world’ is our origination and ultimate destination. This scripture is meant to remind us why we are here, where we come from, and where we are going. If there is something that won’t please God, don’t do it. If there is a worldview that goes against the will of God, don’t adopt it. Take wine for instance. The Bible tells of Jesus turning water into wine to save the reputation of those throwing a wedding party. (John 2: 1-11) The Bible also says not to get drunk. (Galations 5: 19-21) It’s not a matter of what’s IN the world. It’s a matter of how we (not being of the world) choose to interact with it. Do we honor God and his commands, or the world and it’s indulgences?

But here’s the thing. If you are digging your feet in the sand when your church is boldly trying to move into a cultural norm that might appeal to the non-Christian community of 2019- you might be stunting the growth of the Kingdom of Heaven.

When we look different to the world, it will be because of the way we love one another.

Not because we refuse to accept the evolution of trends and technology. Unless there is a moral objection, it’s as innocent as women wearing pants instead of a dress to church. By clinging to the cyclical steps of your preferred service style, you are in fact planting your flag in the soil of your chosen kingdom. Earth.

Will you die on that hill?

Or will you be a timeless light of love for Christ?

Flexibility is the key here. We must put aside our preferences and allow our leaders to lead in the direction God is calling them. Your pastors are not villains of the faith when they nurture a transition for something more contemporary.

In fact, they are spiritual warriors trying to empower God’s hands and feet while also taking friendly fire! Is this how we love one another? They and your church staff need your support to succeed.

This may mean recognizing when you begin to gossip about a change that is not your ideal. These seemingly innocent expressions could be planting seeds for dissension among your church family. Instead, in that moment, challenge your heart to shift toward thankfulness. Maybe pick up a comment card and encourage the worship team who have been working hard to lead their brothers and sisters in praise.

This may mean that instead of focusing on how good things used to be, praise God that we get to be a part of more than our pocket in time of Kingdom growth.

Now we get to feed into younger brothers and sisters who might prefer a band over a choir. Who might prefer to put the hymnal down every now and then, close their eyes, and worship God with a current hit on the radio. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. I only ask that you allow room for things that might be out of your comfort zone.

As a result, we get to discover how nutritious it is for our souls to learn new songs! Simultaneously, we decrease the risk of our lips going through the motions of all too familiar lyrics.

If you look for the blessings, you will see and magnify them, encouraging one another in love. If you dwell on the differences, you will become a slave to them, embittered and blinded to what God is capable of doing with our new tools and styles.

Are you going to white knuckle the past? Or will you choose to be one in spirit with your brothers and sisters here and now? Let’s not allow our preferences to become a distraction from our vital mission. After we have gathered together to sing praises to our God, then we must go out into the world to tell them WHY we do it. Otherwise, we are withholding the reason Heaven itself rejoices!

In Luke 15:7 it says “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Our salvation is secure! Let’s do what we can to rescue others. Even if that involves a change in musical style.

Frankly, this tension over music in the church is nothing new. Ed Stetzer writes an enlightening article in Christianity Today titled, Church Music Conflicts, illustrating these push-backs as early as the 200’s! Don’t believe me? Check it out! There will always be a battle of the bands, so to speak. It is our task to not let those differences detract from our worship.

10 Usual Suspects in a Bible Study

Have you ever wandered into a Bible Study or Life Group and found yourself strangely unsurprised by the characters there? No matter which group you join up with there always seems to be the Usual Suspects. And now, for your entertainment, a humorous take on the types of people you might find in these groups.

1. The Wannabe Preacher

Bible Studies are a valuable asset to your growth in biblical knowledge and essential in building relationships and having (hopefully) a safe place to be real.

That being said, if the Bible Study is over at 8pm I want to be snuggled in my bed watching my show at 8:30!

giphy (19)

I am not saying there aren’t good reasons to push the curfew a bit. Just as in dancing at your Junior prom, it’s a good idea to leave room for the holy spirit.

giphy (20).gif

The beauty of a life group is it’s casual nature. It’s not designed to be another church service. So if it starts to feel like you are standing behind a pulpit, cross referencing scripture with the original Hebrew language, you may find me glaring meaningfully at the Life Group leader to take back the reins.

A dangerous question to ask if you do have a Wannabe Preacher in attendance is,

“Who would like to close us in prayer?”

Well now you’ve done it! We all know who would like to. And now we also know to add twenty minutes to the clock. Thanks.

2. The Actual Preacher

Unless you know they are the preacher, you won’t know they are the preacher. This is vacation time for the leader who is always ON. They’ll be the one kicking back and letting everyone else talk.

giphy (21)

Sure they might pitch in here and there, but for the most part you can can expect a subtle deflection at attempts to put them on the spot with clever phrases like,

“What do you think that means?”

“I think Jane might have some insight here.”

“I’m getting more cheese dip, anyone need anything?”

It’s best to let the preacher feel like one of the gang. Let the Life Group leader facilitate, and the preacher vegetate.

3. The Emotional Wreck

Every lesson seems to trigger a painful experience that they must immediately share.

giphy (22)

Suddenly your life group becomes a weekly therapy session where personal traumas of all kinds are laid painfully raw on the table for us to gawk at awkwardly. Now we must find a way to appropriately comfort the sobbing guest and segue back to the topic at hand. How do you do that!? Not naturally, that’s how.

The cliff notes version of your hamster dying is perfectly acceptable here.

I realize that sometimes you really need to share the pain you’re feeling, and your life group is more than happy to rally around you in love. But when it becomes a weekly ritual, we may need to consider getting you some professional help. If not that, then you need to find another way to garner attention…(yeah…I said it.) Authentic pain is one thing, but being a professional victim is quite another.

giphy (23)

4. The Freeloader

This individual can come in many intriguing forms.

They have a perfectly functional vehicle but ask to ride with you. (Usually they live out of the way.)

You might buy their Bible Study booklet for them with promises that they will reimburse you for the cost. 6 months later and you’re still short $13.99.

They never bring a snack or beverage for the group, but you’ll see them plastic wrapping a heaping plate of home cooked appetizers to take home for later.

giphy (24)

Even though you bought their booklet for them, they never seem to do the homework, if they remember to bring the book at all.

Basically, they are there for the socializing and the food.

5. The Wise Mute

There is at least one, if not more in your group. A Yoda among you.

giphy (40)

They sit still with a pleasant look on their face, taking everything in. They show no sign of verbally participating. Nor will they. Unless of course, they are directly asked.

Cue the moment the leader decides we’ll go around in a circle and each respond to some question or another.

A silence falls across the room when Yoda steps up to bat. In a calm and steady voice they proceed to lay out, very simply, the most brilliant and thought provoking perspective on the relevant topic.

giphy (28)

With no fanfare, they finish speaking and humbly pass the stage to their neighbor, who unfortunately sounds like a walrus who figured out how to thread sounds together to form a few paltry words after that display of genius.

giphy (29)

We won’t hear them speak again for another two months. But oh how we wish they would.

6. The Hyper Spiritualist

For this person, EVERYTHING requires an action! It’s not enough to meet together to learn more about God and fellowship. We must change the world right this moment!

We shall serve in the homeless shelter on Monday! Tuesday we need to build a new neighborhood downtown! Wednesday we will mentor at least two students in the youth group! Thursday, we put on our superhero costumes and fight crime. Friday, we will walk the mall and convert anyone who tries to go into Hot Topic. Saturday we will sell all that we have and donate it to Africa. Then Sunday we will come together again and plan our holy tasks for the following week.


This is not an awful sentiment. But if put on steroids, it can seem insurmountable and rather exhausting. Perhaps it’s best to help that well-meaning and motivated member to choose one thing, and put all of their energy into that. We CAN change the world. Just not all at once.

7. The Comedian

This is the one who doesn’t take anything seriously. Your general class clown. Whether they are hiding insecurity with humor, or are starving for attention, you can count on them to lighten the mood…or make things incredibly awkward. When it comes to the comedian there are a few sub-categories.

a.) The Cheeseball

These people are puns of fun. They have a pocketful of the corniest Christian jokes you wish you’d never heard. Have a problem with that? I hear God accepts Knee-Mail.

giphy (30)

b.) The Sensationalist

And you thought your 80 year old grandfather was the only one fearless enough to take things to the gutter. Not so, my friend. Not so. If it will make you gasp, cringe or solemnly shake your head at such audacity, this jokester is all over it.

giphy (31)

They can take the most innocent and mundane topics, and make them worthy enough to flush down the toilet…if you know what I mean.

c.) The Not-Funny One

Comic timing is not their spiritual gift. But does that stop them? Nope. Does the awkward silence after the punch line discourage them? Not even a little. Are they in tune with other people at all? Going off of the goofy grin plastered on their face after making an All Dogs Go to Heaven joke after someone lost their beloved pet…I’m gonna go with nah. But we love them anyway.

giphy (32)

d.) The Inside Jokers

This involves at least two, if not more people. They are constantly saying seemingly random and meaningless things before snickering and giving each other knowing looks. Good for you. We are happy you have previously had a shared and amusing experience. We will continue to look on blankly as you indulge in your private jest publicly. Or if we are unfortunate, we too will laugh, thinking we missed something. When you stare at us and say with slight condescension, “It’s an inside joke.”, we will work at slowly ceasing our empty laughter and pretend our phone buzzed.

giphy (33).gif

e.) The Jerk

This is the one who gets their laughs at the expense of others. You either love them or hate them, or want to love them, but then they say something insulting to you. I’ve never quite understood this group. They say it’s out of love, but why does it sting?

giphy (41)

Alright, enough of that. When it comes down to it, we would rather have humor and laughter in it’s various forms than what is coming next. So relax. Unless of course you happen to be-

8. The Debbie Downer

giphy (34)

This person can take anything and make it depressing. Oodles of fun they are. You know exactly who I’m talking about.

Someone says, “My Mom is coming into town this weekend. I’m so excited, I haven’t seen her in almost a year!”

Debbie Downer: “I wish my Mom was still alive. She died in a car accident when I was 16.”


“Hey everyone! We’re going to plan a night out to the State Fair! They have THE best corn dogs!”

Debbie: “Eeew, fair food. Do you even know how they make that stuff? And the people they find to work there are usually ex cons and homeless dudes. Make sure you get your tetanus shots, everyone! Can I catch a ride with one of you? My car got towed and I can’t afford to get it out. It will probably go to auction and get bought by some drug dealer.”

giphy (35)

These people are one of the reasons God included Ephesians 4:2 in the Bible.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”


9. The Player

Single and ready to mingle? No? Doesn’t matter. This person will try anyway. Because really, what better place to meet a nice lady or gentleman than at a Bible Study?

Inherently, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I recommend it highly over the bar, despite Ed Sheeran’s sentiments.


But if it’s the main reason you are joining groups…it’s obvious. Don’t worry. We won’t spoil your game. We’ll just sit back and watch things unfold.

giphy (26)

When you select your target, we all know it.

Everyone seems to have a “spot” they like to sit in after a couple of meetings. Even though that has been established, you get there a little early to steal the one next to your prospect.

You laugh loudly whenever they say anything.

giphy (36)

You try to be extra spiritual in your responses to their input.

You can’t help but let awkward compliments slip out here and there.

Or you’re one of those that likes to pick on their crush. That’s even more obvious.

You casually ask that special someone if they tasted the dish you brought.

And yes, we’ve caught you staring.

giphy (37)

It’s okay. We want you to find love. And this is, by all means, the right place.

10. The Phantom Attendee 

You may see this person once or twice during the eight week study. Commitment is not their middle name. But they will always have a good excuse for their absence.

The first type of phantom is the one that had plans made prior to their commitment to the study.

This week I’ll be in Timbuktu, that week I have people in town, the following week I’m having surgery. But I’ll be there for sure on the last one.

giphy (39)

We are all wondering why you signed up in the first place, but whatever works for you.

The other type of Phantom is the one who obviously does not want to be there.


The call usually comes five minutes before it starts, no matter the reason. Why? Before then they had been battling themselves all day over whether or not they would go. The right thing to do would be to go, but then… they really don’t want too.

Some good ones are,

“I have a fever and wouldn’t want to infect anyone.”

“I totally forgot I was supposed to….”

“I thought we were meeting tomorrow night. So sorry!”

“My kiddos are sick.”

Albeit sometimes these are true. But when it’s every week?

It’s okay though. They promise to be there in spirit.

giphy (38)






7 Things Your Pastor’s Wife is Not

“I want to be a Pastor’s Wife when I grow up!”

This is exactly NOT what I said as a little girl. Or as a teenager. Or as a college attendee. Or a full grown married adult. I didn’t even choose to be a Pastor’s Wife. Would you like to know why?

Because “Pastor’s Wife” is not a career.

Why it’s even a thing straight up baffles me. Yeah, so I married a guy who turned out to be a Pastor. Does this automatically assign me into this phantom career? Because if I’m expected to do things or be a certain way because of this involuntary title, I’d like to know who is paying my salary. And don’t be a smarty pants and say “God”!

I have been referred to as ‘The First Lady’.


I didn’t marry the President.

Now listen.

I’m okay if this is a title meant to honor the poor woman who found herself strapped in matrimony to the churches version of a spiritual Superman.


Because I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how hard it is to live in a glass house with inhuman expectations put on my entire family.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the majority of the congregation are very gracious people. In fact, I’m counting on it. The Elders of our church made it very clear to my husband during the interview process that there would be no expectation placed on me. That’s how I knew we found the right home church. Because there shouldn’t be. At least no more than would be placed on any of my other brothers and sisters in Christ attending.

But the truth is- this IS a thing. So I suppose all that is left to do is embrace it, but clarify some things for you.

Things Your Pastor’s Wife is Not

1. Your Therapist

Would you call your hair stylist’s spouse (a lawyer) to cut your hair?


Why not?


What’s that you say? It’s not appropriate? It doesn’t make any sense? The lawyer wasn’t trained to cut hair, nor does the lawyer work at the salon. And yet…

I get it.

Where a psychologist/therapist/counselor may or may not charge you half of your retirement for a year’s worth of therapy, I’m FREE and available every Sunday in passing.

Picture this.

So here we are, in the middle of a bustling church lobby. You introduce yourself,

“Hi, I’m You-Don’t-Know-Me-From-Adam. I’ve not gotten to meet you yet.”

We shake hands, I smile warmly and tell you my name, even though you already know it, but I don’t want to be presumptuous…

“It’s nice to meet you, YDKMFA.”

“Yeah…I wasn’t here last week because of my failing health. My husband left me for my sister and my kids won’t help me move out of my home into a cardboard box…”

giphy (4)

“I…I’m…so sorry to hear that.” (What else do you say to that!?)

At this point, there’s no turning to greet the seven other church members now hovering outside of this social atrocity waiting their turn. Nope. Now I get to hear about what got her in this place until someone who loves me notices and comes to the rescue.

Situational content exaggeration aside, this approach happens more often than you would imagine. Approach. Introduce. Drop a personal bomb to bait further talk on the topic. (AKA- Impromptu therapy) I’m thinking I’ll start asking for insurance cards so I can bill them for my time. I kid, I kid.

Lady, I am a stranger. I stay at home with four kids fighting to maintain my own sanity. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Maybe if we became good friends, that would be perfectly normal to share…one on one…in a private place…but come on.

I care deeply for people and want to help. But please know, like most people, I am only capable of that with a few people at a time. I try to dedicate that energy to my close family and friends. Although I may be a gifted listener, I am not skilled. You should not rely on me to help you make life choices. Especially if I do not know you.

2. Material for the Gossip Column

It’s weird how ministers and their wives become almost famous in a church community.

I mean, I understand. My husband is, after all, charismatic, entertaining, educated, spiritually wise and face-fanningly handsome. (You can’t tell I admire him…)


God chose him for a reason to stand in front of us each week and guide us spiritually. He knew you would listen to this type of personality.

But we often become fixated on the person and not the material that holds value to our lives. This is how people end up on pedestals. Instead of assessing ourselves and how the information can be applied, we assess the giver of the information and criticize.


This can mean many different things. Perhaps you hold my husband to a high spiritual standard. That’s fine. The Bible states that teachers will be judged more strictly.

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”-James 3:1

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.”-1 Timothy 3:2

So, okay. Valid expectation.

However, is your standard for him (or me) significantly higher than your own?

Be careful how you differentiate a leaders sin vs. your own. Neither have a pretty outcome.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”-Galatians 5: 19-20

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath if God is coming.”-Colossians 3: 5-6

Uh-oh. Losing a little ground on that high horse of yours?


How about looking to my husband and I as your siblings in Christ? We all have the same Father, the same rules, the same endgame. We are all safe in the same life boat. Try not to poke holes on his side. We’ll all end up sinking.

3. Your Trophy Friend

It’s tricky making friends when you are labeled the “Pastor’s Wife”. For many reasons. But let me talk about the most daunting one.


Can I trust you?

I am a very private person living in a glass house. Whether I like it or not, there are going to be haters. As my friend you need to be aware and sensitive to this. I will never be able to make everyone happy, and believe me, that is not my goal. But I would like to avoid as much harmful unproductive criticism as possible. This means I need to be able to trust those I let close to me and especially my children. You will be our protectors. Our defenders.

Keep the details of my life safely to yourself. Particularly the vulnerable parts that throw the door wide open for a judgment attack.


If you are thrilled by the status of being my friend because of who I’m married to- I will sense it and resent it.

The term “Pastor’s Wife” in and of itself robs me of my identity as an individual set apart from my husband and HIS career.

You want to be my friend? Do it because of who I am. Because you like me and we have things in common.

Not as an in to get closer to the pastor.

Not so you can get the inside scoop on the inner workings of our life.

EXTRA EXTRA- hear all about it! (Can we say gossip?)


Not so you can make yourself feel better by observing my shortcomings. (Which there are oodles!)

Not as some power play to get your way in some churchy thing- whatever it may be.

The list goes on. But I’ll stop here.

The church is the church. My husband is my husband. I am just me.

What you need to know is; My name is Tiffany. I could be good to you if you will do the same for me.

4. A Comment Card

If for some reason you believe that I am a side avenue to have your voice heard to the Pastor, please reconsider.

woman telling secrets, pop art retro style illustration

I will not pass along your idea or complaint.

If you have something to share with my husband, please share it with him.

I understand I might be less intimidating, but I assure you, he is an open minded, kind hearted man.

On that same note- if you are being frivolously passive aggressive in a hurtful manner, I will ignore you. Put on your big kid pants and find a way to deal with the issue like a grown up.

5. Your Role Model

I am a strong proponent of individualism. In my time as a leader in our MOPS program (Mother’s of Preschoolers) we focused on and celebrated the differences in parenting. Instead of condemning or envying different methods, we lifted each other up.

I say this to illustrate a point.

I will not fit into your box of the “Should be’s”.

We all have individual standards for our lives down to the inconsequential details. When we place those standards on another person, it turns into expectation. When that expectation isn’t met (essentially when that person isn’t a cookie cutter of our preferences) there is disappointment and rejection.


I may not look like your idea of a “proper” Pastor’s Wife. (Whatever that is…)

That’s because I’m not a fictional character. I am human. I struggle just like everyone else. My hope is that the church will be a safe place to be transparent about it. Not just for me- but for everyone.

Your grace for me to be flawed will pave the way for authenticity. Allow me room for that please. I will do the same for you.

On the other hand, please don’t take anything I say or do as gospel. A role model is only one so long as the person looking to them places them in a place of importance in their heart and mind. I don’t belong there. Give that place to Jesus. I promise you two things. I will let you down. He won’t.

6. Your Bible Wikipedia

I cannot tell you how many times someone is trying to recall a scripture reference and when they can’t summon it, they stare in my direction expectantly.


They fully expect me to pull it out of my hat.

I’m not Siri, people!

Neither am I a Bible scholar. I didn’t magically absorb my husband’s Bible college knowledge through mental osmosis, as much as I wish it were so.

I am a Stay-at-Home Mom who aspires to write fiction.

Non-Christian Fiction.


Keep this in mind. When I attend a Bible study with you, I’m just there to learn. I have no interest in testing your Bible knowledge. I am not secretly judging you for not saying Mahershalalhashbaz’s (Isaiah 8:1) name correctly. I’m there to fellowship and learn. Feel free to relax around me.

7. Your Moral Referee

giphy (5).gif

It is so refreshing to meet a new person outside of the church. Someone who doesn’t know I’m a “Pastor’s Wife”, or even religious. That’s when I get to see the “real” personality of a person.

They’ll drop a few f-bombs (curse words), talk about their favorite R rated movie, maybe even offer me a beer or glass of wine. I’m loving it! Because they aren’t hiding behind a facade.

But the second they find out my “label”, they usually stumble over their words. I can see them mentally rewinding the past twenty minutes tripping over all of their perceived affronts to my sensitive spiritual nature.

That moment is always so disappointing.

The mask flies into place as they frantically apologize for all of their moral transgressions. Even with my assurances that they have not offended me in the slightest, the interaction is never the same.

In fact, it often transitions into another impromptu therapy session. Aaaand we’re back to point one.

In Conclusion

It is my hope that these seven things have provided some helpful insights into the mind of a woman who married a pastor. We may not have been hired on, or called by the Big Guy in the sky to minister in the same manner as our spouses. But this does not mean we love our congregation any less.

Sometimes people just need a reminder that we are not the Co-Pastor. (Unless of course they were hired on as such.)

We sit in the same pews, use the same daycare, and drive home afterward to recuperate from all of the people-ing.

If there is one thing I could hope sticks with you  in regard to who I am, it is this;

I am not here to judge you, I am here to love you.