The ‘Unemployed’ Pastor’s Wife – Part 2
In the current generation, it is rare for the church family to assume that when they hire a pastor they are getting a “twofer” – as in two for the price of one. In many interview situations, the wise pastoral candidate communicates clearly that “If you choose to offer me the position, you will only be hiring me." Gently setting the ground rules is a healthy way to eliminate unintentional disappointment or conflict when any unwritten expectations are not met.
When both the church leadership and the church family are able to embrace their pastor’s wife as a fellow team member the pressure to perform is greatly lessened. Whether a volunteer, or an actual employee of the church, every pastor’s wife has a variety of unique dimensions within her world. Last week we looked at five different perspectives unique to the pastor’s wife. They were –
1. Ministry - God has given you talents and spiritual gifts to be used for His glory!
2. Distinction - Focus on helping to carry the load that is most beneficial and lessens the load of your pastor.
3. Individuality - God created you with unique giftedness and natural strengths.
4. Sanctuary – No matter where you live, create a “safe haven” within the pastor’s home.
5. Connection - Creating healthy connections takes time and energy – and greater understanding.
This week, we’ll look at five more perspectives. While not an exhaustive list, each are worth reflecting on and may even spark a new understanding of what God is doing in you and around you. You may not be employed by the church, but you have been given a great privilege to serve and bless others through these dynamics.
Initiating a friendship takes a lot of courage for many. Whether a friendship is reciprocated or not, God has given each of us a whole church full of potential friends and a community that is looking for someone who will simply care. If God has blessed you with friendships within your family, cherish and nurture those relationships regardless of any distance between you. (The Marco Polo app is one great tool to stay connected!) Thank God for friends who have been a part of your life - even if but for a season. Choose to be vulnerable and make room to reach out to those who God brings into your life. And always strive to be the best friend you can be to others.
There are days when you may feel like a single parent, but be the best mom you can be anyways. Impress on your kids the partnership that you have with their father. Live by example! A family is a team, and teams always support each other. Let your kids enjoy being your kids – without any unsolicited expectations from others. Remember to embrace motherhood with much prayer, a sense of humor and plenty of God’s grace. You are not alone!
Crisis happens and schedules change. While it is a privilege to serve, sacrifice is a common calling for all believers. So, when facing overwhelming moments and disappointments, check your attitude often and refrain from voicing comments that may embitter your children toward their father, their Heavenly Father or the church as a whole. Instead, enjoy the flexibility that vocational ministry often affords. Do your best to adapt to the unexpected and prayerfully seek ways to live out true servant leadership at home and beyond.
All married couples who profess a faith in Jesus Christ will, therefore, serve as an example of what a Christian home and marriage should look like. While there is no perfect pastor or pastor’s wife, the reality is that their relationship and marriage may be used by others in unfair comparison, be idealized, or be targeted with unwanted attention. Remember that Satan targets Christian marriages for attack—including the pastor and pastor’s wife. Be the best wife you can be, regardless of how well your husband is doing on the ‘best’ scale of good intentions. Show mercy. Give grace. Assume the best. Hold your tongue. And, pray! Commitment is a choice. Love is a by-product.
A pastor’s wife who is growing in the Lord will be more content and at peace in life. A pastor who is happy at home will be a more effective pastor for the church body as a whole. If our lives, as believers and leaders, is based on sharing the love of God and the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ, it is key to be creative in our homes and marriages. Take advantage of the free get-aways that are available for ministry couples. Find inventive ways to enjoy your days off or vacation time. (You are taking vacation time off together, right?) It doesn’t have to cost much. It doesn’t even have to be a whole day. Even an hour or two, every once in a while, can help to keep you connected and encourages intimacy, teamwork and love.
After all is said and done…
One of the best jobs a pastor’s wife is entrusted with is that of loving her husband (and his children) and meeting the unique needs – and wants - that no one else in the world could ever truly fulfil! Don’t ever stop investing in your husband and your church. God has given us an amazing opportunity to live out a Christian life, and marriage, before others. Let’s do our best to shine our light for Christ, love our husbands and be the best that we can be!
“Show hospitality to one another without complaining. As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:9-10
Note: The above was adapted from the UB Pastoral Ministry Handbook. An article I authored years ago and is available for all churches as they assist and encourage their pastors and their families. https://ub.org/pmh/pm-pastors-wives/
For more articles like this and resources for pastor's wives, visit yokemates.blogspot.com.