just for pastor's wives (7)

>> April 25, 2011

Dear Pastor's Wife,

I asked my husband what he would share with pastor's wives if he could. His response to me was,

"I would tell them to be acutely aware of their capacity to make or break both their husband and their church."

In short, realize your influence, for it is greater than you might think.

He was quick to assure that this is not a statement to elicit fear, but rather to encourage pastor's wives to leverage their place in ministry to further God's kingdom.

He and I have seen it go both ways. We've seen men in ministry flourish, and as you peeled back the curtain of their life, you could see the wife cheering him on and using her position and influence in his life to propel him forward.

She is another set of ears to keep a pulse on what people in the church need and are thinking. She is another mouthpiece wisely speaking into circumstances and representing the vision in places where he is not present. She is a salve when he is wounded. She gives feedback for his own good and growth. She can provide safety for the church with a voice of reason or caution. She promotes, and encourages, and prays for, and champions, and nurtures, and understands him and his ministry.

But sadly, we have also seen pastors whose wives held them back.

Mostly it is that these wives have become too dependent on their husbands for their own happiness and satisfaction. He is her only true friend. She relies on him to get all of her needs met, and when he inevitably fails at this task, she nags, gets frustrated, or falls into a bad state emotionally. Perhaps she gossips or perhaps she is critical instead of encouraging.

Sometimes these wives allow themselves to become resentful of the church. They withdraw and neglect being the unique help meet to their husbands, and ultimately some wives push their husbands right out of the ministry.

I think we as pastor's wives in some ways need to think differently. Instead of, "I need to be up front teaching to make a difference" it needs to be "I need to concentrate my energies on influencing my husband in positive ways". Whether it's through encouragement, discussions over sermons as he teaches the word, or helping him see his blind spots, in many ways a pastor's wife is pastor to the pastor.

Others can teach in children's ministry. Others can lead Bible Study. Others can serve in the kitchen. But no one else can be the pastor's wife. She is more influential to her pastor-husband than the elder board. She has the ability to propel her husband to lofty places, or to bring him low and demoralize him. Even if everything else in ministry is going well, if things are not good at home, he will be discouraged. Only she knows his true joys and struggles and can minister to him in that way.

They say that behind every great man is a great woman. I believe that behind every thriving pastor is a wife who embraces her role and makes his success and well-being one of her top priorities. May we be strong and godly women who show God's grace to our husbands and look for ways to help him thrive in his God given calling.

Choosing joyfully to help my husband,~ Joy
Growing up in a pastor’s home, Joy Dombrow was molded and shaped by a life of ministry and service.  While studying Human Development/Education at a Christian college and then teaching, she partnered with her husband in youth ministry at four different churches, a calling that would continue for 15 years.
Currently, Joy’s husband Joel serves as lead pastor of Willamette Christian Church, where she serves in a wide variety of teaching, serving, counseling and advisory roles. She is passionate about helping women understand and apply the truths in God’s Word and enjoys using speaking opportunities to do so.
In her free time, Joy writes, cheers her kids at sporting events, plays board games, chats with friends, reads five books at any given time, and makes references to her beloved television show Little House on the Prairie... all while sipping on a cup of peppermint tea.

Joy and her husband make their home in the Portland, Oregon area, along with their two school-aged children, Nathan and Elisabeth.

She has graciously shared this series as a guest writer for CLUTCH. You can read more about her life, ministry and family on her personal blog here.

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Stephanie, The Candid Pastor's Wife April 28, 2011 at 9:28 AM  

WOW - this was SO convicting - thank you for revealing some sin in my life and ministry!

Joy Dombrow April 29, 2011 at 4:21 PM  

Stephanie...I think all of us need this important reminder!

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