In many churches, the most thankless job is that of the pastor’s wife. Though the pastor alone is paid, the pastor’s wife is often still saddled with a host of responsibilities and expectations. She is expected to be a model wife, nurturing mother, friend to everyone, run a women’s ministry, throw every baby shower, and cook every meal. These expectations are often unfair, unhelpful, and most importantly, unbiblical. “Pastor’s Wife” is not a secret third office of church leadership. The Bible contains no job description for the pastor’s wife, which is why extra-biblical expectations are often placed upon her.
Biblically, the only expectations you can have of your pastor’s wife are the ones Scripture places on all Christian wives: She should love Jesus, respect her husband, shepherd her children, and serve the body with the spiritual gifts the Spirit of God has given her.
Instead of enslaving the pastor’s wife with expectations, we should seek every opportunity to love and serve her; this is especially necessary on Sunday mornings, as she doesn’t have the help of her husband. So here are six simple ways you can serve your pastor’s wife on Sundays when your church gathers for worship:
1. Remember that Sundays are different for her
Sundays are different for your pastor’s wife. It’s a work day. She is essentially a single mom on Sunday because her husband is preaching, leading worship, or shepherding others throughout the day. Furthermore, if all goes according to plan, she will always attend church by herself and will rarely, if ever, experience the joy of attending church as a family. Remembering that Sundays are different for her will radically alter your heart toward her.
2. Pray for her
I can’t speak for all pastors’ families, but my family never experiences more spiritual opposition than on Sundays. The devil doesn’t want us pointing people to Jesus. More often than not, it seems the devil is lobbing all he can at us on Sunday mornings. Don’t just pray for your pastor, pray for his wife. Pray that Lord would protect her. Pray that she would hear God through the preaching of His Word. Pray she would connect with others in a way that’s edifying. One of the most important ways you can serve your pastor’s wife on Sundays is by praying for her.
3. Have realistic expectations of her
No two pastor’s wives are the same. Some love having others in their homes. Some sing or play an instrument. Some love shepherding the women around them. Some are extremely outgoing. Interestingly, those tend to be the expectations that are placed on all pastor’s wives. The problem is that some pastor’s wives are very shy. Some don’t like large groups. Some find it difficult to build relationships. Pastor’s wives, just like every other group of people, are different. Have realistic expectations. Some people expect their pastor’s wife to be someone God never intended her to be. This is simply unfair. Have realistic expectations of your pastor’s wife.
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Ryan Huguley is a Christian, Husband, Daddy, and Pastor.