chime in: questions from you (6)

>> May 15, 2009

Question from a reader:

"What is your role as a pastor's wife...we are in the process of planting a church and sometimes I don't know where I'm supposed to be and what I'm suppose to be doing. Just wondering what is a way to be at your maximum for your church and husband and home too?"


Anonymous,  May 15, 2009 at 1:35 PM  

This is a great question and something I always wonder about other churches. I feel extreme pressure to be what others expect me to be. We have been in ministry for almost 10 years, and I feel as though I am just taking the reigns in my own ministry. By that I mean becoming aware of the fact that ministry is 24/7, it never turns off. So even though others look at what I do and expect me to "do this," ministry is going on when they don't see it in our home. They get to go home and take a break, we don't. Therefore we are actually re-evaluating my role right now. Trying to figure out what is best for our kids. We only have our kids in our home for a short time, and I don't want to abuse this time with them. So even though I may not being doing all that others think I should right now, I am going to step back a bit and make sure that my kids have a more secure home life. They deserve that from us.
So what I do for the church is going to be more behind the scenes support during the week, and not as visible on a Sunday. I want to take my kids to church and not have to work on Sundays. They feel a lot of pressure that day, and I am seeing the wear and tear on them. So right now my role is going to be support for my husband, taking care of my kids, and then behind the scenes for the church. I still do a lot of meeting with ladies and I will continue that. I love to do that and wouldn't give that up. But I think it is good at times, especially with what we do, to step back and make sure that our family health is not hindered by our level of involvement. And I am realizing that with each stage of my kids lives my level of involvement will change. I will be able to do more, in the future. That was a really long answer. Sorry!

Anonymous,  May 15, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

My role as a pastor's wife started out as being his most committed and dependable helper. At first I thought that I had to lead every ministry, and attend every function. I am learning, after 10 years, that delegating actually helps the congregation more than me leading. It helps them to take ownership of their church, and it makes them less dependable on case we ever leave. Once in Bible College I heard a professor say that our jobs as Pastors is to work ourselves out of a position by raising up lay leaders. This is my new goal. This mindset has freed me from the lie that I as the pastor's wife have to fill in any gaps and be all things to all people.

Sarah May 25, 2009 at 12:29 PM  

Love people.

Try to find ways in your gifts and skills to build relationships with people. They understand that your husband is often busy and running around, but if they feel that they can have a safe, discreet, supportive friendship with the PW, it means a lot - especially in the churchplanting context.

Of course, this also means that you might have to dance a fine line between being authentic and real (which is important) and keeping your family and personal business to yourself (which is vital in protecting your husband and family from prying eyes and ears). This means we have to learn to listen a lot, say a little, and pray most of all... which can be super tough for us as women who love to chitter chatter!

We currently work in a larger church with two existing services, and we are seeking to build an outreach center that will likely develop into a church plant of its own.

My current role:
- serve where I can, when I can (i.e. occasionally leading music or telling a children's story, and a monthly Friday night women's prayer group). I tend to accept roles right now that are intermittent, rather than steady weekly commitments.

- be visible and accessible (not in a "look at me" way), so that people know my husband and I care and are available to them. this means i spend the between-services study hour usually in the lobby, mingling with people and showing them to classes or just making conversation - I've had the best prayer times and unexpected ministry chances from this!

- answer my phone when members call, even if I have to cut it off to move to the next thing I'm committed to - a short call is fine, just as long as you are able to answer for a couple of minutes

- don't commit to anything you can't truly follow through on, it's better to say no than to flake out

- expand your hospitality horizons by inviting one couple or family home per month for lunch/dinner

For me, that is enough to keep busy and involved without feeling overwhelmed and worn out.

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