You’ve heard the expression that “behind every great man, there is a great woman.” I don’t consider myself a great man by any stretch of the imagination but I can tell you that the great woman that is behind me (or with me) is a huge reason I can accomplish the things that I do in ministry. So often pastors are underappreciated but I think that the pastor’s wife suffers from this the most.
Here are some ways that I want to encourage you to show appreciation for your pastor’s/pastors’ wives:
Respect her space and her primary role as a Christian, a wife and a mother first. She is not part of a 2-for-1 deal when the church hired her husband. Her husband is on staff at the church, not her. She doesn’t have to do anything that she doesn’t want to do beyond being a member of the church. Don’t bring your complaints about the church or her husband to her. Don’t expect her to neglect her husband or children for the sake of the church.
Don’t expect her to fit into some “ministry wife” mold. If she doesn’t want to wear home-made dresses down to her ankles, teach a Sunday school class, lead a women’s bible study, or sing in the choir, SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO. Don’t ever use the line “but you’re the pastor’s wife” or compare her to other/former ministry wives. And for crying out loud, don’t refer to her as “Sister (her name)”
Encourage her. Ministry is discouraging at times. So often ministers face burn-out, feel like they aren’t as fruitful as they should be, and often feel unappreciated. And the wife bears the weight of that as well. She is her husband’s main listener and source of encouragement. So try to encourage her so that she can encourage and minister to her husband. You can do this saying encouraging things to her, writing her a card and simply…
Be a true friend to her. Ministry can be a very lonely life. Your pastors and their families have, more than likely left behind the chance to be around their parents, extended families and long-time friends and will struggle with the reality that their children are going to be raised several miles away from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to come love and serve you. Women need deep and authentic friendships, so be a friend to her. This will have a direct impact on the fruitfulness of her and her husband’s ministry to your church.
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