10 Thoughts from Pastors’ Wives and a Few from Me

Recently, I conducted a poll asking pastor’s wives to tell me their greatest joys and greatest frustrations in ministry. You probably won’t be surprised by these findings:

Greatest joys:

  1. Seeing lives changed. Everyone involved in ministry loves to see people transformed. In fact, it’s that joy that keeps some ministry families in the game when doing church is difficult. 
  2. Walking beside a husband enjoying ministry. Most ministry wives I know can find happiness almost anywhere when their husband loves his work.
  3. Doing ministry via their own gifts. Wives who most enjoy the work of ministry discover their spiritual giftedness and find their niche to be supportive of their husband – even if that niche is something different than the “typical” pastor’s wife.
  4. Getting to know people. Few people have the opportunity a pastor’s wife has to meet and know the people in the church. Some of those folks are headaches (see below), but most are precious gifts. 
  5. Teaching others. All around the world are Christ followers who first learned about Him through a faithful ministry spouse. They love to see others grow. 

Greatest frustrations:

  1. Mean people. It’s hard to underestimate just how mean some church members can be – and they often complain to a spouse rather than the pastor. The actions of some “believers” suggest they may not be Christian at all.
  2. Unachievable expectations. No pastor, no pastor’s wife, and no pastor’s children can live up to the expectations of some people in the church. The only possibility is disappointment when members seemingly expect perfection.
  3. Lonely moments. The “fishbowl” is real, and ministry spouses sometimes feel isolated and alone. Then, they sacrifice quietly as their husbands minister to everyone else.   
  4. Unwilling members. It’s tough to watch as their husbands plead with members to get involved, but those believers remain in the pew while pastors work overtime.
  5. Ungodly apathy. Similar to the previous frustration, wives who continually give for the work of the gospel struggle with church members who seem not to care about God, the Word, the church, or the world. 

My suggestions: 

Love your pastor’s wife today. Pray for her. Send her a word of encouragement. And, if you’re one of the mean people, get over it. Repent.     

4 Comments

  • Ken says:

    Good stuff. #3 under “frustrations” stood out in particular. To all pastors that are reading this blog: always remember that your FAMILY comes first, not the church. Don’t let anyone try to tell you differently. If you fail as a pastor, you can always try again somewhere else, but you only get one shot at raising a family.

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    Good thoughts, Ken. Thanks.

  • “And, if you’re one of the mean people, get over it. Repent.” –LOVE it! I have nothing profound to say in response to this; just “yes!”

    We need to love the women who love the men who care for our souls.

    Bring her flowers just because, give her a gift card for a coffee or dessert date night (and offer to keep the kids– for free!), invest in her children, send her text messages or pictures that brag on her kids and build them up, make and pack up some freezer meals for her to keep on hand for when the days get too long and her time gets too short.

    There are many tangible ways we can care for these women. I’m not a pastor’s wife (or anyone’s wife, for that matter) but I know they pour out so, so much; we need to be intentional to pour back into them. A little sunshine goes a long way 🙂

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