Pastor's Wife: Purpose & Security

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I become a Pastor’s wife around 7 years ago. I was blessed to grow up watching a virtuous pastor’s wife (my mom) which has given me a healthy perspective of that role. The interesting thing about being a pastor’s wife is that most people seem to have an opinion on how I should behave. I have learned that it is important to establish a foundation of security as well as a sense of purpose in my life, otherwise the outside pressure can be overwhelming.

My mother has always been a great example for me in this area of life. She was not worried about fitting in for her heart was to serve God. She always had a strong sense of purpose which drove her to work and make an amazing contribution to the ministries she was a part of. A strong sense of purpose helps you navigate the different seasons of ministry, whether you are really hands-on with daily activities or you play more of a supportive role. Have you asked yourself what is your purpose as a pastor’s wife?

The reality is that most ministries do not have a handbook written for the Pastor’s wife, thus I often ask what are the expectations of that particular church leadership. I really came to grips with this after getting professional counseling. I realized that I never signed a contract with the church but I do have a covenant with my husband. I’m his wife and that comes before anyone’s expectation of what my role as a pastor’s wife should be. This has developed an amazing sense of security in my life. It is a joy to know that I am God’s child and Zeke’s wife. My covenant is well established and secure.

Being a pastor’s wife is a unique experience because there isn’t a manual or a script written out there that I can read. It is important that I am secure and I have a strong sense of purpose so that God can be glorified and my husband can feel honored in all I do. I learned it is important that what Zeke thinks comes before what everyone else thinks.

Establishing this foundation of security and having purpose gets me out of the so called “fish tank mindset." I realize that people have a tendency to watch those in leadership closely but I know that people were also observing my habits 14 years ago when I was a single woman in college. I don’t believe I became more noticeable because I’m a pastor’s wife for people look for fruit in your life all the time. I refuse to feel restrained in any way with this mindset so I decided to be free from pressure and live in community. Christ never said that some members of His body have more prominence than others (I Corinthians 12:12-27). He’s called us to be all united in love.

I have found a lot of freedom knowing who I am in Christ and in what I have been called to do this season. My prayer is that every Pastor’s wife finds security and purpose so they can serve God, their families and others to the best of their ability. By the way, if you see a Pastor's wife this week, give her a big hug and affirm her. It will really bless her!
Anonymous said...

Excellent, Cintia! Yes, yes!

Regarding service - I would encourage anyone in our shoes to start out like you can hold out. I have a friend who has been serving in this role of pastor's wife for many more years than I have, and when they came to a new church a few years ago, she jumped in to every ministry and showed up for every everything and then complained recently how the church expects too much of her. I sense she has done this everywhere she's gone, because she is absolutely exhausted and weary of ministry life. Not good.

I think if any of us has allowed people to place these expectations on her shoulders or have even put them on her own shoulders, it's time to recognize this is not just unhealthy for you but is unhealthy for the church. WE are the body of Christ; you aren't every part all by yourself. No one else is growing through service if you're doing all of it. You could actually be stifling the growth of the kingdom by doing more than you should.

As you said, Cintia, what is our purpose? Each of us gets called to specific ministries, and we should do those well - pastor's wife or otherwise. Set this example in a loving manner and perhaps others will be inspired to serve alongside you!

Cintia Listenbee said...

Thanks for reading my friend! I agree, being exhausted in ministry (and life) is not healthy at all. I also agree that we have to allow others to serve. I keep telling myself that lately: "there are X amount of people in the church, I don't have to do it all." Oh, I also used to say "I'm not the church police - I'm not the church police." :)))

Rachelle Wooten said...

Great post Cintia! I believe that when we accept the gift of salvation we are all called to a live our lives "brightly" for all to see. You are right it doesn't matter if you are a pastor's wife or not! I also think we are most happy in life and in our service to the kingdom when we "bloom where we are planted". Thanks for sharing this encouraging word. :)