Friday, October 29, 2010

"Good Job God!"

One of my passions in the church is the children....of all ages.

• They love to talk about God
• They invite EVERYONE to church.
• They will sing as loud as they can
• They will pray the sweetest, most innocent prayers.
• They will thank God, praise God and worship God.
• They are so excited about everything!

I have taught children of all ages (from birth to teens) at our church. I currently teach the pre-school class on Wednesday nights. I feel like the earlier we reach out to them the stronger their faith will become.

Children do not hesitate to Praise God. One of my favorite praises came from one of our two year old church boys. His mom was showing him the beautiful sunset and was explaining that God made it, when the little boy looked up in the sky, gave thumbs up and said “Good job God!” The little fellow was praising God and did not even realize it.

My husband does a Children’s Message every Sunday morning that goes right along with the regular message. Over a year ago, he had a memory verse learning contest and even though that is over, the children all continue to learn new memory verses every Sunday and he allows them time to recite their verses in the microphone. It is amazing the verses that even the pre-school children are learning.

Many lessons can be learned from our children. Their eyes have not been clouded by “experience”. They are innocent and honest and use every opportunity to Praise God! My challenge to you is to stop and observe the children. Oh, if we could only have the faith of little children.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bi-Vocational----NOT Part-Time

Contrary to popular believe, Bi-Vocational does not mean Part-Time. Bi-vocational means that you have two full-time jobs and you must be creative to be successful at both.

In my fourteen years as a bi-vocational minister’s wife, I have discovered that since our church is bi-vocational, I must really put into action the work of a “help-mate” because my husband needs my help. Bi-vocational churches have the same wants, desires and needs as a full-time church…they just have less funding and they also have less members to help do the work.

Being bi-vocational means we have to find ways to stretch our time, energy and work. Also, being bi-vocational means that you do not live in the “church parsonage” and if you are like us, your home is over thirty miles from church. (We live in Rhea County. Our church is in Roane County.) The hospitals that our members attend are in Knox County, which is even further from our home.

Creativity is the key to success. We can not always “be there” in body but we can:
• Make sure our members feel loved all the time.
• Make phone calls
• Send e-mails
• Send text messages
• Send cards and/or notes

Bi-vocational churches still have hurting members, sick members, dying members, marrying members, etc. so there is always hospital visits, funerals, weddings, etc. We are fortunate to have a congregation that understands and forgives us if we are not there in body all of the time. We are always there in spirit and try to be there in body as much as possible.

Two years ago, Bro. Ray Gilder asked our daughter, Kacie to give her testimony at the Appalachian Bi-Vocational Ministers Conference and tell everyone what it was like growing up in a bi-vocational minister’s home. She pretty much summed everything up. She said….”whoever said that Sundays were a day of rest, lied. That is the day that bi-vocational ministers do a lot of their visiting and ministering.” Our children learned to do a lot of traveling…and not usually to places they really cared to go. Through it all, they learned how to:
• Visit in homes that did not always have children
• Visit people they did not know
• Eat food that they were not particularly fond of
• Visit hospitals
• Visit the elderly
• Visit nursing homes
• Visit funeral homes.
• Truly Love People

It was just a way of their lives!

Bi-vocational ministers work 8-10 hours during the daytime at their secular jobs and the evenings and weekends are spent doing “church work”, while making time for our own families. My husband and I do the work together and while our children were at home, we did it as a family. It wasn’t always easy, but it was certainly worth it.

Being a bi-vocational family is very challenging, yet rewarding ministry.
Joshua 24:15 “…As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord!”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God Uses Ordinary People

While we were dating, Roger told me he felt that God was calling him into the ministry. I cried when I got home from that date. My dad was a minister and that was fine and good, but I did not think that I wanted that for my life. I wanted for us to be active in the church, but I just wanted a “normal life”. At the time, Roger assured me that God was calling him into the ministry, but he did not feel he was suppose to pastor, especially at that time. Whew….that was a relief!!!

We went ahead, got married after seven years of dating and together served God in many areas: Bus Ministry, Children’s Church Ministry, Puppet Ministry, Youth Leaders, Teachers, etc. My husband served as Youth Minister, Minister of Music, etc. for seventeen years. During this time, Roger would fill the pulpit when asked to, so it was not unusual that Whites Creek Baptist Church would call him to supply that cold Sunday morning in January 1997.

The first Sunday we were at the church, they had twelve for Sunday-School and thirty-two for preaching and we were four of those! The youngest deacon’ at 77 years old, praised God that Sunday morning for the large crowd they had for the visiting minister. (I might add that the church building was brand new. The state changed the two-lane to a four-lane and got the old church, so we were in a very nice, but empty church.)

After several weeks of “filling in” as pastor, the deacons came to my husband and told him that God was leading them to call him as their bi-vocational pastor.

We prayed and prayed about it. I was scared to death. We both felt that was where God was leading us. I kept telling Roger that I did not know “how to” be a pastor’s wife. I told him that we had sat under "good pastors" and "bad pastors" so he had something to go by. I could not think of ANY pastor’s wife that was "anything like me", so I just did not know how I could fill those shoes.

After lots of praying, God revealed to me that he was calling Roger and me to the church. He did not want me “be like the other pastors’ wives, he wanted me to be ME!
Isn’t God Awesome!!! For fourteen years, he has used ME as a pastor's wife...and

  • I do not play the piano, except "a hunt a peck."
  • I can not "sing."
  • I am not "Ms. WMU."
  • I am not "Ms. Fashion Queen."
  • I am not full of "Great Wisdom."

I am just “Kathy” and God has used me more by just being me. He called me and He does not make mistakes. He knew that even though I did not fit the “normal characteristics” of a Pastor’s Wife, He could use me and has for the past, almost fourteen years. (I will address my roles in the church in later posts.)

Are you allowing God to truly use you? Are you being true to yourself and being “You” so he CAN use you? He wants us to be ourselves so He can use us. He made us all special and for a purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beauty of Fall

Just Plain ‘Ole Me

I am very humbled and honored to be a part of this talented and spiritual writing staff. I do not feel worthy or adapt in joining it, since I have never “blogged” before, but Lana asked me. I prayed about it and God said “do it”. Who am I to argue with that?

I will give you a brief bio; which is a joke in itself. I am a very detailed person and my husband is a very “to-the-point” type person, so he is constantly telling me to go ahead and "birth the baby…he does not need the nine months of pregnancy". Smile. I am sorry, but in this blog, you will get just plain DETAILED me in the nine month version.

My name is Kathy and I am a bi-vocational minister’s wife. I have been married to Roger Britton for thirty-one years. We are both originally from Alabama however we have lived in Dayton, TN for a little over sixteen years. God has blessed us with two beautiful Christian children, a Christian son-in-law and a Christian girlfriend. Kacie is a Math teacher and is married to Chase. Cody graduates from college in December and he is dating Melanie. Some people have grandchildren….we have grand-dogs; Fanny, the Australian Sheppard that belongs to Kacie & Chase and Lady Bird, the Jack Russell that belongs to Cody which he shares with his girlfriend, Mel. As my husband says, “We are having fun practicing on our grand-dogs. One day we will have real grandchildren and the dogs will become just dogs.”

I taught school for six years and then was a stay-at-home mom for a total of 17½ years. When our daughter was a senior and our son was in the 8th grade, God blessed my husband with a secular job where he could work from home. (He is a computer guy.) I went back to college to get re-certified after 23½ years and have been teaching in the public school system for eight years, where I currently teach Technology/Computers to 6th Graders. (God has a sense of humor....I learned to type on a manuel typewriter!!)

I have been a pastor’s wife for almost fourteen years, but I will address that in another post.

When Lana first approached me about being a writer for the TN PRIME RIB Blog, my first thought was…why me? I am just plain ole Kathy. I don’t have anything to share. Who would want to read what I write? And then God spoke to my heart. He created me in His own image because of this…I am not just plain ole Kathy and with His help, I will attempt to share my heart in these blogs.
Psalm 139:13-14. 13” For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Totally Unrelated Additional Question

Okay Ladies, I am sure you can tell there is a lot going on right now at the Vinson house. It seems as though my days just run together with tasks, big and little. God is blessing and teaching so much to all of us along the way. I have had to learn to make myself stop multi-tasking and just focus on the moment. However, this is not one of those moments.

It is looking like I will be hosting the Vinson family Thanksgiving dinner this year. It is only my second time to host and I am extremely thankful for a father-in-law who will smoke more turkey than we could possibly begin to eat. Everyone brings a dish or two and I know it will be a great time.

So, because I know that Thursday will be here before we know it, and I don't think I am blogging again in time, I would love to know what holiday dishes, traditions, and decorations that have become a part your Thanksgiving days. Are there special spiritual components that turn your family's focus back toward God? Having small children, I am always looking for new ways to point them back to their Heavenly Father.

I am hoping that asking this early will give us all an opportunity to try something new this Thanksgiving. Who knows, maybe it will become another family's tradition?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Apology and a Question

Is it my turn already? Please forgive me ladies for not posting earlier this week. I know you can all relate when I say that it has been one of those weeks. I should have double checked the schedule earlier in the week. I am sorry.

Believing you to all be gracious and forgiving, I now have a question for you:

What are you reading?

Is it fiction? Non-fiction? Spiritual? Secular?
Are you reading magazines? If so, which ones?
What other blogs do you follow? Websites?

I enjoy a good read and would love to know what sparks your interest. I am always looking for something new.

Right now I am looking through two secular mags, Family Fun and Real Simple. I have just begun Ted Dekker's novel Green (I finished Black, Red, and White a long time ago). This year, my husband and I are reading through the Bible together. This week we read Lamentations and have begun Ezekiel.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pastor Appreciation: Random Thoughts

Shawna's and TXGirl's comments have kept me pondering this whole idea of appreciating our pastors....whether they are our husbands or someone else. Here are a few final random thoughts.
  1. I LOVE the idea of doing something special for our pastor husband in appreciation for what he does!! Because, if you are honest, there are times when you definitely do NOT appreciate what he does!! Especially if you have small children, if you are not careful, you can grow to resent his time away. Fix his favorite meal, wear his favorite _____:), go with him to do what he loves to do....or watch what he loves to watch....even if you do not.
  2. As my husband and I were discussing last night what we might do to honor those who serve on staff with us, it occurred to me that we must be sure our motive and attitudes are pure. If our attitude is... "FINE!! If YOU all won't appreciate us, we'll just do it ourselves!!".... then we must halt....stop....go to the Father and confess! Pure motives only!!
  3. If your husband is the senior pastor you might suggest that he share publicly with the Body either through the pulpit or a newsletter article his appreciation for those who labor with him. Or, perhaps give an extra day off one week to spend time with their family....and your husband could pick up the slack!! Have them over for lunch, invite the wives and see if the church secretaries would mind keeping children. I know there are many wives who work outside the home and this would not be feasible for them....just throwing out suggestions!!
  4. Do something special for the wives you know. Notes. Lunch or tea or after dinner dessert at your home.

Finally, just in case you don't know it....YOU, my friend are appreciated!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pastor Appreciation: Praying for Them

In the last post, I mentioned that we might "think outside of the box" when it comes to pastor appreciation month and one of the most essential and practical things we can do for our pastors.....pastor husbands to pray. Below is a list I compiled that you might want to use as a guide for some specific things you can pray. Perhaps you might want to post these on your refrigerator or mirror as a constant reminder to bring them before our ever hearing Father.

What better way to show your appreciation for all they do than to let them know you are praying. There have been many times when I honestly thought I was the only one praying for my husband...and it is a heavy load to bear. Just like in Exodus 17 "As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset." Ladies, what a ministry we could have!!! Our pastors grow weary and tired and we MUST "hold their hands up" through prayer so that the enemy would not win!!

Why not make a list of what you are praying and send it to another pastor or even their wife? Oh, what incredible joy and comfort it would bring me, as a pastor's wife, if I knew there were people praying these things for my husband! Why not let your husband know you are praying these specific things for him?

1. For protection from the work of satan and from sin.
2. For insight into scripture and an understanding of how to apply it to people.
3. To help him keep a soft heart in the face of difficult people.
4. For his personal spiritual growth and time with the Lord.
5. For a passion for the Word and for God and for His Church.
6. For boldness to speak the truth, and grace to speak it with humility.
7. Grace to hear and respond to Godly, constructive feedback.
8. That he would persevere through whatever trial he is facing.
9. That his children would grow up with a love for God and the Church.
10. That he would remain pure, and that his love for his wife would increase.
11. That you would know how to encourage him today.
12. That he would be saturated with the Holy Spirit.
13. For Godly wisdom to lead.
14. For him to make wise choices.
15. For his wife and children

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pastor Appreciation Month

Did you know that according to, that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month? National Popcorn month? International Dinosaur month? Diversity Awareness month? National Stamp Collecting month? Yet, somewhere I heard that October is also Pastor Appreciation month….I wonder why they don’t mention that?? and/or your church might not know that October is Pastor Appreciation month….but I am pretty sure that you are definately aware of it.

Many of you and your husbands will be showered with “attaboys” and “sussys” (that is what I affectionately call gifts, surprises, etc.) and cards and encouragements to let you know just how much you are loved and appreciated. Your church consistently communicates to you, not just during the month of October but during each and every month, that God is using you mightily and that they are thankful for the time and love and sacrifice and service you so willingly pour out.

However, there are some of you who each year as October approaches wonders if this will finally be the year that your church does something to recognize your husband. You would be thankful for just one card from someone who says they are praying for you all. Just a word of encouragement. Something. Anything. And yet the month goes by again without a word.

What are we to do? We have options. We can pout and get discouraged and depressed and maybe even bitter and angry. Or we can know, Biblically, that “our labor is not in vain in the Lord”. That “whatsoever we do, do it unto the Lord and not unto man”.

Here’s an idea. Whether you are in the first group mentioned above….totally lavished upon….or the second group….feeling totally put upon….why don’t YOU do something for another pastor and their wife/family? Why should we think that the appreciation has to come from "them" and not "us"? If you are in a multiple staff church….do something special for the other ministers/pastors and wives/families. If you are the only one on staff at your church….why not bless another pastor in your association or city? Or bless a minister’s family that you know of.

There are countless things that we could do….ideas that are not costly or difficult. Would you share with us any ideas and/or suggestions you have with us so we can be a blessing to another? There are lots of days left in October....go for it!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Money Saving Tips

Girlfriend, the weather is begining to change and the days are growing shorter. God is splashing color on the leaves. I love this time of year. However, I know that the holidays are approaching as well. It means gifts to purchase and food to prepare. It also means chocolate fudge, cocoa, and other chocolate goodies. In addition to the holidays financial stress can become an issue with all the extras that take place.

I am a couponer. I love to get items free. One of my fellow staff wives is the "coupon queen" and she is always telling me about her awesome "deals" she has scored. I just get excited when I score husband's body wash and deodorant for free when I catch them on sale and use my coupons. So with the holidays aproaching quickly, I thought it might be fun to share some of your money saving tips with all of us. I would also love cheap, fun, cute gift or party ideas.

One of my favorite haunts for shopping is Michael's dollar bins. I purchase cute notepads, sticky notes, and journals to name a few. Throughout the year I give these items as "love ya" hugs to different girlfriends. They also make great stocking stuffers. Another fav is to head to Bath and Body Works with coupons for free trial size item. I save these goodies and make cute little Christmas bags for the female members of my family.

One minister's wife shares that she buys toys early in the seaon. For instance, she heads to Target usually in February and again July/August and purchases toys for up to 95% off. She also does shopping the day after Christmas. This year she plans to purchase lots of girly lotion/makeup for all her daughter's friends and give them at the birthday parties throughout the year.

My "coupon queen" staff wife says she uses eBay for toy shopping. Many times she will score toys for $20-$50 cheaper. She also uses and gets Hasbro and Fisherprice coupons quite often.

So girlfriends, do you have money saving tips, favorite websites for saving, or gift and party ideas? Please share them with us. Let's get these comments coming because the holiday rush is on!

Websites you might want to check out:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Don't Know What I Need

During worship service Sunday I heard a beautiful song. I do not recall the title or who it was by. However, there were a couple of lines that captured my heart's attention.

When I don't know what I need,
I need to get on my knees.
When I don't have the strength to stand,
I need to reach for Your hand.

All I could whisper was "wow" to those words. Sometimes I cannot find the words to voice to God because I truly "don't know what I need." Only the Father knows exactly what I need from Him that day. Sometimes my strength is zapped from overwork or too many obligations. All I really want to do is to stay in bed for a few more hours of sleep. There are times when the enemy has attacked my life and I question "what's the use?" That is when God's hand is reaching out for me to take hold of. He helps me stand again.

However, you will notice in the lyrics that the action of doing something about our need or strength has to come from us. We have to KNEEL. We must REACH out for God's hand. We are the ones who have walked way, turned our backs, or tackled too much stuff. The Father is still right where we left Him. He never moved. Sisters, I hate to be the first to admit it but chocolate will not even help. We have to get to a helpless state before we really cry out to God and say "I don't know what to do or what I need."

So Sisters, what do you need today? Are you on your knees? Is your hand reaching for the Father's hand?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Great Escape

I think middle Tennessee is safe from an explosion for a while longer. I personally know that a disaster was averted and peace has been restored. Maybe I should explain in more detail.

Over the past few weeks and months I have been overwhelmed with issues. In the spring I suffered a severe allergy/sinus infection. May brought the flood of the century. During the summer months I spent my time recovery from a herinated neck disk. Top all these issues with church and family responsibilities and you have one stressed-out, overwhelmed, empty and weary minister's wife. I even told my church staff wives that if I did not get away I was going to explode all over Bellevue. I was literally on the verge of running away and only taking a five pound bag of peanut M & Ms with me!

Instead God had other plans. He already knew what my life was going to be like. Several months ago He nudged Lana Rose, who heads up ministers wives events through the Tennessee State Convention, to pull a group of ladies together to plan a fall retreat for ministers wives in our state. He knew that to prevent the burnout of a minister's wife that the retreat needed to be in the peaceful, beautiful setting of the foothills of the Smokies. He knew that other wives just like me would be attending. We all would need encouragement, rest, laughter and chocolate.

Well sisters, the retreat was just last weekend and it was perfectly timed by a Lord who knows just when to step in to renew His children. I for one was completely blessed through the fellowship, breakout sessions, and the love poured on all of us. We came in very casual clothes; not Sunday dress up garb. Sisters, there were no panty hose at this retreat. Jeans, flip-flops, and ponytails were welcome. My only regret was that the retreat ended all too quickly and all the sisters had to go back to the real world.

The drive home with my staff wives from my church was a blessing. We talked, laughed and enjoyed an array of chocolate goodies. At one point during the ride home, I remembered that Jesus had to escape the crowds and demands of ministry so He could be renewed and communicate with the Father. I even asked the question to the Father if His Son ever felt like exploding because He was overwhelmed.

So sisters, when was your last great escape? Was it a retreat, a spa day, a lunch date or a walk in the park? If you attended this retreat, I would love to hear your thoughts about the weekend.