This season has brought big changes for our household. After 10.5 years of student ministry at New Prospect Baptist, the Lord has called my husband to be a senior pastor at a new church. We loved student ministry, but also felt for some time the Lord shifting both of our hearts toward this new role. It’s a wonderful privilege to be Jack’s wife and serve alongside him in ministry. I know firsthand the unique challenges and blessings that come along with it. Today, let’s look at some biblical principles and apply them to supporting our husbands as pastors.
For those who aren’t pastors’ wives, I encourage you to continue reading! Since these are biblical principles, they can be applied to how you support the pastors in your local church. For those who are married, these can also apply to how you support your husband, no matter what career/role he may have!
Be a unifier, not a divider. Satan desires to stir up disunity in the church. As a pastor’s wife, he’d love to use our roles for that purpose. However, we must be on guard against this and be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3). We’re to be the number one cheerleaders of the vision and ministries in our churches. If negative conversations arise, we don’t “stir the pot” or engage in gossip. Instead, we bring to light the good. We also unify by including those who might be more prone to be left out.
Be joyful, not grumbling. There are unique challenges with being a pastor’s wife. Sundays are work days for our husbands, and our ministry is often at home while our husbands are away at meetings, events, etc. It’s easy to have a “woe is me” attitude and complain. Such attitudes could make it more difficult for our husbands to serve as the Lord has called them. Philippians 2:14 commands against grumbling, and Proverbs 27:15 teaches a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. Instead, we’re to rejoice always (1 Thess. 5:16). We rejoice that the Lord has chosen us to serve him in this way. We rejoice knowing holding down the fort at home while our husbands are away is indeed an important part of ministry. As we rejoice in the ministry the Lord gives us, our husbands will be encouraged to rejoice as well.
Have a gentle & quiet spirit (1 Pet. 3:4). This doesn’t mean we can’t have opinions or share thoughts. However, it does mean we use wisdom with those we voice, who we voice them to, and how we voice them. If we’re overly-opinionated on happenings in the church with anyone who listens, that’ll most likely provide harm instead of support to our husbands. This also applies to social media. If we’re “loud” on Facebook about hardships as a pastor’s wife or ways we’re hurt in the church, this could bring more discouragement or burdens for our husbands to bear. Be discerning. The Lord gifts us with unique thoughts we can share at his leading. Before sharing, let’s check if our thoughts are biblically sound and if our attitudes are Christ-honoring. Then, we can shed light on situations and share ideas in a way that honors both our husbands and the Lord.
Create a safe and encouraging home. Our husbands bear many burdens. One way to daily support them is for our homes to be an enjoyable place to come home to. There are some days my husband comes home and needs a break from ministry conversation. Truthfully, I work at being mindful of this, and we’re learning this balance (since I long to have “adult conversation” after being with kids). Our homes should be a breath of fresh air where our husbands can receive much-needed encouragement and breaks.
Use your giftedness. Friends, “pastor’s wife” isn’t our only or main identity. Ultimately, we’re Christ followers. We’re individually gifted, and this is vital to our churches. For me, this often looks like teaching God’s Word and baking desserts. For you, it might be serving in the children’s or music ministry. One thing I’ve learned is I don’t have to say, “yes,” to everything, and I must serve how I’m gifted, not how someone else is. Simply being an engaged member of our churches will support our husbands in wonderful ways as it serves the church he pastors.
Be honest. Though the demands of ministry can be daunting, it’s important to remember our first ministry is to our families. When our plates are too full, we must be open with our husbands about that. We need to share with him if we feel like ministry is taking priority over family. We can also be honest about ministry ideas or sermons.
As I write this, I can’t help but think about my mom’s words after my brother accepted a call to vocational ministry. She said we must be in prayer for his wife, for she’ll be called to ministry alongside him. At the time, I hadn’t met my husband, but her words stuck with me. Ladies, though our calling is different than our husbands, we’re still called. We’re called to love him, support him, and pray for him as he leads both our families and churches. Honestly, our actions and words impact their ministries greatly, and it’s up to us whether it’s for the good, or for the bad.
Ultimately, we have insight to our husbands others don’t have. We see him struggle to make decisions, plan events, or be discouraged when things are tough. Therefore, the Lord has given us a wonderful position to be his main encourager. Because we see things others don’t, we can encourage in ways no one else can. Most of all, we can’t forget the very best way we can support our husbands is by individually pursuing Christ, and encouraging him to do the same. As we seek the Lord, may he open our eyes to ways we can love our husbands and churches well, all for his glory.