Five Things to Expect from Your Pastor and His Wife
1. Bad days. We all have bad days. Yet somehow, in the ministry, you feel as though you aren’t allowed to have a bad day, as though it is a lack of faith to not be particularly joyful or happy all the time. If you happen to run into your pastor or his wife and he or she seems off, don’t assume it’s you. Most likely, it’s a bad day. The pastor and his wife experience all the emotions, even the ones you can’t imagine. Let them have bad days without taking it personally. Maybe consider it as a good reminder to offer some encouragement.
2. Humanity. We’re going to disappoint you, I promise. And it’s not because we aren’t good Christians; it’s because we’re human and we can’t please everyone. Even the Son of God walked most places on foot, slow step-by-step progress wherever He went. He disappointed people, too. He saw the tears of Martha because He was too late to save Lazarus. He wept over the piercing pain of disappointment and grief to see her sadness and His friend’s corpse. Jesus couldn’t be everywhere at once, and He knew God wasn’t calling Him to be. We know this, too. Please understand that we can’t always be where you want us to be either. But we do promise to try our best to be fully present, wherever we are, doing our best to minister for the glory of Christ.
And a special note for pastor’s wives. Please, please give your pastor’s wife oceans of grace. I have been extremely blessed and fortunate in our churches, but I know of pastor’s wives who have been very wounded. Sometimes churches will be more gracious to the man behind the pulpit than the woman sitting alone with her children in the front row. That woman needs more grace than you know. She, too, worries about what to wear on Sunday morning, but she’s in the spotlight more than other women. She, too, wrestles to get her children ready for church, sometimes fighting over clothes or hairstyles, but more people notice if she’s late. She, too, has private hurts and hardships, but she isn’t always free to share her pain. Know that she is flesh and blood and lavish grace on her abundantly.
3. Love and presence. Even though we can’t be everywhere, always, we do want to know about your significant life events. Tell us! Send us a message or a text letting us know when a family member is having surgery. We want to know, we care, and it makes us feel involved in your life. We know what to ask about when we see you next, and we love this. It means so much to us to be present during significant moments of your life. You are family.
4. Clear and Biblical teaching. When it comes to pastoring, it’s a tricky career to evaluate success or failure. How do you know if it’s a good sermon? The number of positive comments? The number of people who come to the altar? Both of these are erroneous ways to measure success and could lead you either to pride or discouragement. Once, when my husband felt down after a Sunday morning sermon (that I had thought was fantastic), I asked him how he measured success in preaching. His response was that he considered it successful if it was clear and Biblical. The message should be easy to follow, and the points should come directly from the text. This is how you should also evaluate your pastor’s preaching. Please don’t go to lunch afterwards and say that the message was boring because it didn’t apply to you. If your pastor is preaching the Word of God clearly and concisely, thank God, thank your pastor, and consider it a privilege to grow in your knowledge every Sunday.
5. To do our level best. When a church hires a pastor and pays him a salary, sometimes it feels like he suddenly has a multitude of bosses who all have opinions on how things should be done. No one pastor can please all his people. He will have strengths and weaknesses, blind spots and visions. But when you consider how your pastor is doing, ask yourself this, “Is he doing his best?” Most likely, he is working as hard as possible to do well at his job, even if he’s not doing exactly what you want when you want it. Be grateful, be appreciative, be understanding. Pray for him. Give him grace. It’s not an easy job, but the results echo into eternity. The more you support him, the more he will flourish.
My husband and I are approaching nine years in vocational ministry, exactly the amount of years we have been married. We are grateful for our calling and we give a special thank you to those people we love and serve in the body of Christ.