Being a pastor’s wife is not an easy journey. She is expected to be nice, perfect and always available to others. Her family is the poster of Christian living (completely unrealistic). And if you’re looking for her, she can usually be found sitting on the front row supporting her spouse. Oh … the stereotypes! With that said, it was no surprise to me to know that a survey found that eighty percent of pastor’s wives say they feel left out and unappreciated by church members. I personally know this is true—as a pastor’s daughter, I sat on that front row with my mom, the pastor’s wife. I felt and watched the real struggles leadership families face. In fact, I wrote a book about it when I couldn’t find anything or anyone that addressed my needs.
Lights, camera, action! That was how I once felt during every worship service within the role I had. Even with good intentions, I still somehow was missing the mark. Then, God revealed to me my real role and purpose—not just as the pastor’s daughter but as His daughter. Today, I am starting a conversation or “life line”—a venue for pastor’s wives to connect. There is nothing worse than thinking you are walking alone on this journey; you aren’t—God has given you other sisters to share the journey with.
The pastor’s wife opens her home, leads women’s groups, and serves in any areas of the church that are lacking. Many don’t see her needs because she often portrays the image that everything’s under control. But after the service is over and the last car has pulled out of the parking lot, who ministers to her needs?
When pastor’s wives join together, it truly is a time of fellowship. It helps to see that other pastor’s wives are facing similar issues—without the fear of judgement or self-righteousness coming back at you. And it’s a relief to know you aren’t losing your mind. You can extend a hand and receive a hand, helping each other finish the race and fight the good fight. It is a safe place where your good name won’t be smudged. I understand. I get it. Together, let’s defeat the lie of loneliness that has overstayed its welcome, making room for the joys and blessings that come with being a pastor’s wife.
Utilize your skills and abilities
God provided, through His Spirit, many gifts. One in particular I would like to believe pastor’s wives automatically inherit is the gift of discernment. This gift is mentioned right after prophecy. Why? Because you often see things that your spouse doesn’t see. The pastor’s heart tends to always see the best in people, which is great, but not all people want to be the best they can be. You are the other half to the success of the ministry. God gave man the woman he needed from the beginning of time; you are the one your spouse needs to walk in fullness of God’s purpose for the call. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Gen. 2:18). Understanding your spiritual gifts is just as important as using them. The Bible addresses the pastor’s wife and how to be a pastor’s wife.
Being a pastor’s wife sometimes comes without warning. One minute you and your spouse are doing “normal” married things (i.e. a 9-5 job, weekend trips, starting a family, etc.) Then, the next minute, you are told that God called your spouse to the ministry. Perhaps you are not sure how to handle the new position, so you just do what comes natural—wing it! But there may be questions you have, like how do you handle boundaries between church and family life? Is it okay to work outside the church? How do I protect my heart from being hurt by the church? These questions, if not answered, can become resentment. That’s why having a conversation or “life line” to call with other pastor’s wives can be helpful; there are some wives who have been where you are so can give wise counsel and there are others that you can share your experiences with to help them avoid the traps of despair.
One size does not fit all
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (Rom. 12:6-8, NIV). Yes, you are public figures, good or bad, within the church and community. And it truly can be a blessing, not just for others but for you as well if you rely on God and His Word to help you understand the role of being a pastor’s wife. It’s better to look at it like an adventure or opportunity to serve as Christ’s woman, instead of as a burden. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2:10, NLT). You have a tremendous opportunity to influence the church and community.
This is a great paraphrase from Proverbs 31:10-31: “Her husband has every reason to have complete confidence in her as his partner because each day she brings him good and not harm. With her hands she makes beautiful things. She works diligently for the good of her husband and family. In the community she is known for her kindness and wisdom. She handles money well and is very capable in business. She is able to initiate great projects and lead others well. Her arms and her heart are open to the poor and needy and she does not neglect her own family. She is strong, elegant, and happy. In all that she says and does she brings honor to the Lord.”
The power of praying together brings unity. We need more prayer—more pastor’s wives praying together on a consistent basis. We know that there is power in prayer before the Lord and it makes a difference in what happens. Our understanding of prayer will correspond to our understanding of God. Together seeking God, He will respond when we faithfully pursue. Praying together leads pastor’s wives, as a whole, to a greater communion and understanding of His will.
All pastor’s wives are welcome to join this teleconference dial-in conversation—the “pastor’s wives’ lifeline”—every Tuesday at 7:00 pm EST. Join us at:
Access phone number: 605-475-5623