Pastor Schaffer and his wife Suzanne answered my questions separately, as have several of the couples I interviewed. I thought it would be interesting to put them together for this post.
Pastor and Suzanne, Thank you for your honesty, your heart to serve Christ and His Church and for your sense of humor.
For a bellyful of laughs and sometimes a good Gospel kick in the pants, visit Suzanne’s blog at: http://notenoughchocolate.blogspot.com/
(The scripture above is my contribution to this post.)
Pastor Wayne & Suzanne Shaffer~ New Life, Altoona PA
Both raised in Christian homes.
Born Again: Pastor Shaffer 43 years / Suzanne Shaffer:40 years
Married: 25 years Children: Son 22 & daughter 19
Full time ministry: 25 years. Lead pastor: 16 years. Pastored: 3 churches.
Missions trips to 5 countries.
Did you think when you became a Christian you would be pastoring one day?
In high school I had a desire to be a pastor’s wife. I have no idea why! If I had known how hard it is I never would have wanted it. PW
Why did you become a Pastor?
The call of God. I was called when I was 16 traveling with a Christian singing group. -P
I have heard people say “The pastor has it so easy, he doesn’t have to go to work. What does he do all day? All he has to do is write a few sermons a week. So, the following few questions are aimed at setting the record straight. What does a day in your life as a pastor look like?
I wish I knew. It is never the same!
What are some duties you perform for the church on a regular basis that your congregation may not be aware of?
Building/grounds maintenance, bulletin, counseling, vehicle repair/maintenance, visitation, set audio, lighting and video, checking on financials, etc… -P
On average how much time does it take you to put together a sermon, including research, study, etc.? How much time in personal Bible study,praying?
8-10 hours for a sermon. 30 minutes -1 hour
What has being a Pastor cost you?
It has cost me nothing yet everything. There is no price too great when serving the Lord.
What has been the most unexpected hardship to Pastoring?
Mean “Christians” (in quotes because I’m not sure they’re all saved!) -PW
Living in the fishbowl. I knew it was there (I’m a PK), but wow! It can be so draining. -P (Pastor Shaffer is a 2nd generation pastor and their son recently became a Youth Pastor.) 🙂
What most breaks your heart?
People who hear the Word week after week and never allow the Spirit of God to transform them. -P
People going to the altar week after week for years but not willing to change. -PW
Do you ever want to quit?
I quit every Sunday and hire myself back every Monday. P
Most of the time. -PW
What keeps you going?
It truly is just being obedient to the call of the Lord. If God ever tells me to stop, I will. -P
The thought of retirement in the next 20-25 years ha ha. Knowing that a life outside of God’s will is a miserable life. -PW
Pastors and wives: Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, direction, encouragement, prayer, someone you can be really open with? What about friends?
Yes I do. I have several individuals I can confide in and seek counsel from.
Yes. Long time friends. No one local. -PW
What most encourages you?
I have an incredible church board. We spend most of our meetings rejoicing in what God is doing and praying for direction and more of the Holy Spirit.-P
Who inspires you?
Pastors that have been faithful through so much. I have had incredible pastor role models and mentors.
What has been the most unexpected benefit to pastoring?
Having one of my students, then youth pastor become the District Youth Director of Illinois.
What kind of challenges do you face as a Pastor’s wife raising Preacher’s Kids?
Expectations. People telling me I need to be more involved.
What is the hardest thing about being a Pastor’s wife?
Being in the spotlight, expected to be perfect, people twisting my words.
What is your favorite thing about being Pastor’s wife?
Knowing that it’s what God wants. -PW
How do you keep your heart and zeal for people and God, in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?
Years ago I came to the conclusion that we are all sinful by nature and that without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life on a daily basis they will always give in to that sinful nature. So I don’t take it personally anymore. -P
Learning to let things go as soon as they happen. Not allowing bitterness to creep in. -PW
What is the hardest part of being a Pastor?
Balancing home, work and ministry.
What are some things your church could do to lighten your load or refresh you and your family, so you can better serve God and them?
Convey to the congregation that we have office/working hours just like they do and to try and be considerate of our personal time. Don’t call unless it’s an emergency and don’t expect to get a call or text back on my day off. -P
If you could tell your church anything about yourself, your family, or anything else what would it be? What’s on your heart?
We are people just like you. Same struggles and passions. Same tragedies and triumphs. Don’t put us on a pedestal, but imitate us as we imitate Christ. -P
Stop playing church and get serious, want to see the miraculous in your life? Get right with God every day of the week.-PW
What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?
Apathy to the Gospel and a false gospel of law and legalism as opposed to grace being preached and taught in many churches. -P
Christians who are legalistic and just plain mean. -PW
What do you believe is the key to revival?
When the people of God on an individual basis go after God with everything in them, this will bring revival. -P
Hearts that seek God and His kingdom with everything in them. -PW
What are your favorite memories of pastoring?
The joys of seeing a family share in that moment of a family member coming to Christ or Water Baptism. -P
The weddings, the baptisms, the people who have had life-changing encounters with the Lord. -PW
What is the funniest or craziest situation you’ve experienced during your ministry that you are free to share?
The guy who would shout out, “And women too” whenever anyone would close in prayer with “Amen.” (This is actually a very mild story. I have hundreds I could share, but that’s for another book.) -P
I have way too many to list! (Some will be in my own book) One is the lady who told me, “You’re so different from (former pastor’s wife), I think I need you in smaller doses.” Who says that? How was I supposed to take that? -PW (…WOW!)
Is there anything else you would like to share that hasn’t been covered?
Trust God, stay faithful and persevere in all things! -Pastor Schaffer
Share some words of appreciation for your pastor and he will be listed on the Wall of Honor and entered to win a retreat at the Energize Lodge.
Pray for your pastor! Text the word PASTOR to 74574 for daily reminders and prompts to pray for your pastor.