Alright everyone. Hopefully by now you have read the last blog entry, Confessions from the Pastor’s Family: PK Thoughts 101. If you haven’t...you should! However, October is clergy appreciation month and this month instead of highlighting the clergy members, I am shedding light on their family. I was able to sit down with a first lady who is new in the game. Please meet Domineak Miller.
Domineak was born and raised in Chicago, IL and went on to attend Southern Illinois University - Carbondale for her college career. She has resided in Southern Illinois for nearly two decades. Domineak is a woman with many roles but the roles with highest priority are wife and mother. This coming December Domineak will be celebrating 14 years of marriage with her husband, Chaise. Domineak has even shared a few of the lessons she’s learned thus far in marriage in her debut book, “Submission: A Two Way Street.” She is even following that release up with a journal to commemorate her anniversary this December. Married couples, be on the look out for “Steady Love.” Together they parent three children and have recently celebrated one year of pastoring their church.
Growing up in a family that attended church on a regular basis was something Domineak was relieved to get away from when she initially left home and started her college career. No one could “make” her attend church every time the doors opened. She welcomed the freedom. However, little did she know, her then boyfriend, now husband, would bring her right back to church. While dating, during their time in college, Chaise had a desire to attend church and wanted Domineak to attend with him. They found themselves at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Carbondale, IL. It was there that Chaise answered his call to ministry and became a licensed minister, then ordained elder. After some time of spiritual growth and ministry service they moved on to Southern Illinois Worship Center in Herrin, IL and found themselves once again growing in their relationship with God and giving of themselves through ministry service. Now, one year after Chaise has taken on the role of pastor at First Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo, IL Domineak is able to reflect on the difference of serving as a volunteer, serving as a leader and serving as the First Lady.
“No one can ever tell you how it will be, being a First Lady. Everyone has their own experience,” said Domineak. Every pastor and their family has a different reality when it comes to their experience as the First Family of the church they attend. Some have horror stories, some have success stories, some have wisdom, some have useless information but everyone has something. In just one year Domineak has been able to reflect on what her life was like prior to being in her new found role as First Lady and what her life is like now.
Domineak has seen growth in her attitude and more particularly with her mouth. Her attitude and mouth were big challenges for her in the past. Thinking of her past actions, she recalls speaking first and thinking later. Eventually she learned that once her words were out for someone to hear she couldn’t take those words back. “I understood that I am in control of me. When things go left, you don’t have to go with it because you can miss your moment,” said Domineak. Domineak didn’t want people to exclude her husband from invitations in an effort to avoid dealing with her and her attitude. This issue is all too common among pastors and their families. They can easily be dismissed for opportunities of ministry because of character flaws/challenges from their family members. While Domineak is an adult and can recognize the areas of her life where changes can be made, there isn’t always the same grace granted when it comes to the pastor’s children.
Domineak and her husband make it a point to encourage their children and refrain from putting unrealistic expectations on their children that other people may place on them. As parents they allow them to have free range to do certain activities with certain guidelines. “We don’t want them to grow up and not have a desire to be apart of the church. There was a point when our oldest was expressing that we’re always at church. Adjustments have been made but the children have also taken to becoming involved in the church,” mentioned Domineak. While the children are becoming involved in the church ministry, Domineak assures that they don’t make their children do particular things. They allow them to serve where they show interest, not out of requirement. Not only do they make it a point to have free choice for their biological children, they also encourage all of the youth at their church to become a part of the ministry and if there is an area that is not already available, they work to create an area for them to serve that involves their passion.
“There must be a heart for the people because it will affect the congregation,” said Domineak. She may not be holding a microphone on a weekly basis to encourage the congregation as her husband does, but she has found herself heavily involved with the women’s ministry. In the past she found herself skilled more on the administrator side of things and thought working with women in ministry would be something she would NEVER do. “Women can be very emotional, everyone comes with their own baggage. I have felt like I wasn’t getting what I needed from past leaders before, and thought it was in the best interest of the ladies who are in the church not to be led by me because I don’t think I can give them everything that they need,” said Domineak. However, her experience in this short time has been beyond what she expected. The ladies love and accept her for who she is. They are always excited to serve, even when she lets them know they don’t have to serve. Domineak is currently preparing for a women’s conference that she is hosting. The Women of Worth Conference will be taking place on November 15th-17th at her church in Cairo. If you are in the area and haven’t put this event on your calendar yet, you need to add it and attend.
First Lady Miller humbly admits that she doesn’t know all there is to know about being a pastor’s wife. But one thing she knows for sure when it comes to the congregation is that, “They will follow by example. I try not to set bad habits.” It’s a daily choice to be able to operate from the heart of God when it concerns his people instead of reacting from emotion whether it be high or low moments in ministry. With the month ending you may have already taken the time to thank your pastor, but please remember the family serving with them. They have a heart for the congregation, they can use a little grace as they learn their way.