Where Shall the Minister Locate?

Dealing with the issue of ministerial housing problems.

LOUISE C. KLEUSER, Minister's wife.

The January, 1958, New Christian Advocate discussed some ministerial housing prob­lems in an article under the title "For Mrs. Preacher," signed by "Martha." These are of more than Methodist concern; some of them find their counterpart in Adventism. Granted that the Methodist parsonage plan has not been adopted in our ranks; but other housing prob­lems discussed by "Martha" in her church jour­nal have become the business of Adventist con­ference officials when calling new workers into their fields.

As a denomination we have good reasons for remaining conservative in our way of life. The very nature of the lofty message we pro­claim induces us to harmonize our ministerial homes with the faith we live. But those who ob­serve us also analyze our attitudes as well as our preaching. It is never timely to refer to our "missionary wages" while making excuses for what we lack in our homes. We may do well to heed John the Baptist's counsel to the sol­diers of his day to be content with their wages.

The Adventist ministerial home should be an example for the community, but not necessarily in its up-to-date improvements or the best in household gadgets. It is better characterized by its attractiveness despite its simplicity, and its cleanliness and neatness. It is the spirit of its occupants that draws guests and neighbors within its sheltering walls. While Adventist workers have always considered themselves temporary occupants of their earthly abodes, there is no excuse for neglecting their appear­ance and upkeep.

Although our Adventist ministers' children are usually well trained in obedience and cour­tesy, they are nevertheless quite human. But when these children are careless with another's property, the offense becomes far more grave than among a less privileged group. It is right that parents give constant thought to the price they must pay for their leadership. While the idea does not seem to fit into the thinking of some Christians today, it is still proper that ministerial parents, in love and with kindly persuasion, teach their children these respon­sibilities while they are still young.

This would apply especially when the minis­ter's family lives in rented quarters. True, chil­dren must have play space for developing sound minds and strong muscles, but that does not allow for the destroying of property the family rents or owns. To ride his bicycle over a neigh­bor's prized lawn may be an act of thoughtless­ness until it is brought to the child's attention; but good public relations are not fostered by such inconsiderate conduct. On this point young children are not the only offenders, for adults are also apt to become involved. The minister should lead out in building up a good com­munity spirit, and here again Adventists can well be in the lead.

We would suggest a few practical points for discussion at the next Shepherdess meeting. When these questions are assigned to capable speakers who will have time to prepare inter­esting points for the shepherdess, the meeting will bring new courage to all, and especially to younger workers. The sound suggestions of a conference official on such matters as renting and buying property, automobiles, et cetera, will be appreciated by the workers. The extra car for the family who cannot afford it is a point of extravagance. But added to this is the re­sponsibility of transporting children to and from church school. Here caution becomes conference business.

Discussions:

  1. What to do when places to rent are scarce or undesirable for the minister's family. Find­ing play space for the children.
  2. Locating adjacent to the church school and within easy access to the churches the min­ister must pastor. Avoiding the maintenance of two family automobiles.
  3. Training the children to take care of the family property, also the property of the land­lord and the neighbors.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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LOUISE C. KLEUSER, Minister's wife.

January 1959

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