As the culture of our churches is changing, the role of the pastor is evolving and with that, the role of the pastor’s wife is changing too. What’s life like as a pastor’s wife? I cannot speak for other pastor’s wives, but I will tell you about my life. (Other pastor’s wives and pastor’s kids, please comment below and share your experiences.)
What’s Life Like as a Pastor’s Wife?
- I’m just me. Above all else, I am who God is calling me to be. I’m Mike’s wife. I’m Rebekah’s, Kiersten’s, Josiah’s, Paul’s, and Zack’s mom. When we were at our first congregation in Indiana, I asked the senior pastor’s wife if the church had any expectations of what pastor’s wives were supposed to do. Her response was perfect. She said, “If they have any expectations, no one has told me what they are!” (Thank you, Margy!) So, I forged my own way based on the abilities God has given me. I don’t quilt or play the organ, but I teach Bible classes, lead programs, and visit people because these are my gifts.
- Our schedule is weird. Church activities happen when other people are done with their work day, so my husband often works at the office during the day and then again in the evening for meetings or events. Our church has programs every Wednesday and worship on Saturday night as well as Sunday morning. However, the benefit is that he takes Monday off (we’ve learned to be very protective of his day off!) and has a flexible schedule so is often able to take time away for the kids’ doctor appointments and school meetings which has been a huge blessing.
- Satan attacks — HARD. We are in the business of proclaiming God’s Word on a regular basis. Because of this, the enemy will do whatever he can to drag us down. It’s not unusual for our family to go through one crisis, after another, after another, on top of the challenges of ministering to the needs of many people at church. We don’t always share these additional stresses because we don’t want to burden the people we minister to who are already hurting, but we greatly appreciate your prayers for us.
- I’m fiercely loyal to my husband. I’m incredibly blessed to be married to Mike. I will love him to the end of my life. I know he’s not perfect and our church isn’t perfect. If you share your frustrations with me, you will surely not be telling me new information. Yet I see so much you don’t see. Please don’t share your church frustrations with me in the effort to somehow get closer to the source. I see my husband’s continual dedication. I see his hours spent reading and growing in knowledge of God’s truth. I see him walk into situations in hospitals, funeral homes, and homes where few people would go, and he does it with a peace and grace that can only come from the Holy Spirit. My husband is a man dedicated to serving God, and I am dedicated to supporting him.
- I’m over-the-top proud of my kids. My kids are growing up as pastor’s kids (PKs). One of my daughters shared with me that the unspoken expectation is that they are going to turn out as one extreme or the other. The assumption from the world is that they are going to be the good kids who do no wrong, or the wild-child rebels who hate being pastor’s kids. My kids aren’t either one. They are just kids — awesome, faith-filled, sinful, inspired kids who are fully normal young humans. Each of them love Jesus and church, which I consider our greatest joy as parents. We make ministry a family effort. The kids help Mike set up for worship or lock the doors before heading home. Like me, they serve in ways they enjoy serving.
- I’m vulnerable. I’m human. I mess up, and sometimes you all get to see it. This article asserts that the pastor’s wife is the most vulnerable member of any congregation. The pastor and his wife are not a 2-for-1 special and yet there is no doubt about her role. Pastors and ministers are shepherds, and as Pastor Jeff Schrank shared at Best Ministry Practices conference, “Sometimes sheep bite hard.” You can tell me it’s not personal but…it’s personal. We pour our heart and soul into ministry and we hurt. Cut us and we bleed. Thankfully we have a God who mends broken hearts and makes them whole again.
- People in our congregation take great care of us. We have been blessed by the outpouring of love and grace by members of our congregation time and again. To just say “thank you” never seems like enough. If you have gifted us, I hope you realize how much your kindnesses have been an encouragement. We receive gifts at Christmas and occasionally a “just because” gift card to go out to eat or an offer of help in some way. When you offer to help us with the kids or to take us out to lunch, we love it. Thank you, thank you.
- I love being a pastor’s wife. When I think about my role as a pastor’s wife, I get such a warm feeling in my heart. We have been so honored by the opportunity to serve God’s people. It is humbling. Who are we to serve? We are not special — we are just regular people who are doing our best to serve a majestic God. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says it best, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” We are weak, yet God uses our weaknesses to grow His kingdom. My privilege is that I’m allowed to be part of this process.
Here’s your opportunity to bless a pastor’s wife in your life: In the comments below, write a short message of encouragement to a pastor’s wife you know. Then forward her a link to this page. You will make her day!
Sara is a writer, speaker, and 100+ pound weight loss success story. Her website The Holy Mess reaches millions of readers. At Faithful Finish Lines Christian weight loss program, she helps women lose weight and grow in faith with an impressive 36,000+ completing free weight loss challenges under her guidance to date. Click here to read Sara's amazing 100 pound weight loss story. Feel free to send Sara a message here.