“Megan Minister’s Wife” sits on the front row of her church on Sunday morning, deep in thought. She attempts to worship, yet she can’t help but reflect on her ambiguous role. In spite of giving her all, she is painfully aware of the fact that she is not measuring up to what is expected of her by the congregation and herself.
A minister’s wife finds herself in a unique position. She’s not on staff, but she’s more than a lay person. She’s in leadership, but she has no job description. She’s expected to be competent in a variety of areas of ministry but often with no training. In addition, she must deal with her own expectations and church members’ preconceived ideas of what a minister’s wife should be and do.
There is a trend toward a new model for ministry wives, especially in church planting circles. Compared to 30 years ago, there is much more freedom for women to pursue their passions, take leadership positions and use their gifts, and many churches are recognizing and embracing that. Women are pursuing seminary degrees and taking theology and leadership courses. If handled Scripturally and with the proper balance, this adds value to the church and their husbands’ ministries.
For centuries, ministers’ wives have had role-related concerns. For years, I have searched for some sort of job description, but it does not exist. There is no biblical model, and thank God for it!
Christine Hoover with Grace Covers Me Ministry speaks of some general principles that can be applied to each unique woman: Calling, Season and Context. As they intersect, ministers’ wives can find freedom to fulfill their unique role and contribution:
What are your spiritual gifts, abilities and personality? What are you drawn to, and what do you like? What do you see within your church that God has you there for? How do you bring value to the ministry? What is the dream God has placed in you? Be yourself—not someone else. You have the gifts you need to do the job God wants you to do.
What season of life are you in? What are the ages of your children? Are you caring for babies? If so, your time will be limited, and that’s OK. You’re right where you need to be. Are the kids in school? Do you homeschool? Are you employed? When do you have blocks of time? All these factors will determine what you do and how much you can do. Remember, seasons are just that—temporary.
What is the current stage and setting of your church? What is your husband’s position, and how can you support him? What does your church need from you within the framework of your calling and season? What’s unique about the city or town in which you live? What circumstances do you deal with in your family? In nearly 35 years of ministry, my husband and I have served in three different pastorates: a church plant in a suburb of New Orleans, a young church in Stillwater, and a traditional church in Oklahoma City. Looking back, my service aligned with my calling, season and context.
There is great freedom when you give yourself permission to be you and rest in your calling, your context and season of life. Don’t be miserable. If you are miserable, your family and church will know it, and it will have a negative effect on your husband.
When we’ve determined and accepted the calling, context and season, it eliminates the temptation to compare ourselves to other women or other churches. God has made you unique. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others who have a different calling, contextand season. We do ourselves a disservice when we compare ourselves to each other.
Have you thought about your unique calling? What do you see within your church that God has you there for?
To be continued…