How a Minister’s Wife Determines Her Role in Ministry (Part 2)
In light of the three considerations of calling, season and context for ministers’ wives, which could be found here, there are also some considerations to take into account.
Change is constant
Just when you think you’ve found your niche, it may all change! The church is growing and changing, and we also grow and change. Your season will change, and the context of the church will change.
God often calls us to shift where we’re serving to use us in different ways. Expect it! Oftentimes, in church plants and growing churches, leaders need to be identified and developed. Train up leaders then pass off responsibilities to them.
As the church grows, you’ll have to release some responsibilities—you may like that idea, or you may not. Your role in a growing church will change, and it’s important to be flexible. A former pastor of mine jokingly talked about the Beatitude that Jesus forgot, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.”
Marriage, family and home are a priority
With the advances of women in leadership roles, this is very important. Your husband and family are your primary ministry. You are the only wife your minister-husband has and the only mother your preacher kids have. I believe that the best thing you can do for your church is to be a great wife to the pastor. The age-old wise advice of keeping priorities still applies today– God, husband, children and then ministry and work!
In The Church Planting Wife, Christine Hoover wisely addresses church planting wives, but her advice applies to all:
“Being the helpmate to a church planter (minister) does not mean that we are helpmates to the church. We are not married to the church. We are not the pastors. We are not on staff. We are not on call for the people of the church. We are not the catchall person for ministries or tasks that need a leader. We are not the ones who meet every need or fulfill every responsibility. Our attention goes first to our relationship with God and then to our husbands, children, homes and then to ministry and work outside the home…if we become a helpmate to the entire church, we will not be available to our husbands and children—the people who need us most. Being the helpmate to the church planter (minister) does not mean that we are as equally responsible for the church’s success or well-being as our husbands… our burden should be for the spiritual, physical and emotional health of our husband as he carries the burden for the spiritual, physical and emotional health of the church.”
What are some things your husband needs that only you can provide? Perhaps listening as a confidential sounding board, providing a home that is a safe haven, building rest and fun into the schedule, helping maintain health or providing intimacy?
Guard against exhaustion
Many ministry wives are exhausted. In an attempt to not be selfish, we run the risk of neglecting to take care of ourselves. While we are called to live sacrificially, the goal is to finish our lives well.
Taking care of ourselves is like stewarding our gifts. Guard against getting physically, emotionally and spiritually depleted. It is wise to take a long-term view. Ministry is a marathon not a sprint.
If exhausted, we run the risk of discouragement, bitterness or burning out. Exhaustion makes us vulnerable to temptation. Don’t let yourself get so busy or tired that you can’t love people, listen and be present.
Can you sustain your current pace and lifestyle for another five years? Ten? What are some things you can do to replenish?
Perhaps guard your quiet time, cultivate dependence on God, schedule some alone time for you and your husband and take care of your health? Encourage your husband to take his day off and take your vacation. Even if it’s a staycation, go visit other local churches.
In light of your calling, context and season of life, how can you make the best contribution in your church right now? Whatever it is,
“…work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).