March 29, 2011

Kelly Matte on Priorities

In the last post, Kelly Matte shared how she strives to be a helpmate to her husband, Gregg, pastor of Houston's First Baptist Church. Today's post includes the final part of my interview with her, in which she gives specifics about guarding her main priorities.

What do you enjoy about being a pastor’s wife? What is harder to enjoy about it?
I enjoy knowing so many wonderful people and seeing Jesus at work in multi-generations.  I enjoy the depth of relationships and ministry that is able to take place when you invest in the same body for an extended period of time. I enjoy being able to journey with the people through numerous seasons of their life, rejoicing when they rejoice and grieving when they grieve. I enjoy spreading the gospel in our city, impacting the world, and being a part of something so eternally significant. My love for our congregation and desire to serve them grows stronger with every passing year.           

As far as what is harder for me to enjoy, I would say the pace and public-ness of our position. I grew up in a tiny town out in the middle of the country.  Things were simple and moved at a much slower pace. I absolutely love the life God has given us but sometimes the schedule, crowds, and attention can overwhelm me.  The good thing about it though is that I believe Gregg and I complement one another well and the pressures I can sometimes feel keeps me on my knees. For that I am grateful.

How do you protect your marriage and children from the demands of ministry?
Thankfully our church body has been extremely respectful of our family needs.  Also, Gregg has done an excellent job of establishing healthy boundaries that have blessed our family tremendously. Of course certain seasons are more full than others but on a usual week he seeks to only have 2-3 nights with church responsibilities.  He prepares his sermons during the weekday so he can have more time with us in the evenings and on the weekends. The kids and myself know that we have automatic access to Gregg at any time he is at work (though we try not to abuse this). We try to make the kids feel super welcome in Gregg’s office (toy drawer and M&M machine just for them!)

Gregg does not pray alone with other ladies and if a meeting is necessary it takes place in his office with windows in the door and his secretary sitting at her desk. He takes me out on dates often and overnight getaways when we can.  These times are essential and I’ve learned to put forth whatever effort is necessary to make them happen.  He uses his vacation time and does his best to give us his full attention.  Each summer he is given a 4-week study sabbatical where he works half of the day and then spends time with us the other half. 

We do not make our kids go to every ministry event however now that our son is 9 years old he gets to go with Daddy as his helper to all sorts of different things.  Involving him in as much as is reasonable allows him to see ministry as a blessing and not a burden. He’s been on numerous mission trips and loves serving in various capacities alongside Gregg and myself.
Gregg and I highlight the joys of ministry often with our kids in conversation and prayers of thanksgiving. We seek to be authentic and cultivate in our children a heart that enjoys God and lives to please Him, through dependency on Christ, above all else.  We truly love Jesus and His church and so far by grace we are seeing that same love developing in them. 

Thank you, Kelly! You have given us good things to think about.