Last evening I was sitting in our family room chatting with my wife. She shared some thoughts from her heart about an upcoming speaking opportunity to be addressed to pastors’ wives.
Almost every Sunday in the morning gathering in my introductory remarks, I introduce my wife as well as our assistant pastor and his wife. “I’m Pastor C and this is my wife, Denise.” More often than not, she is characterized as “the pastor’s wife” or perhaps in the minds of those who have known us here for almost 21 years, “our pastor’s wife.”
I love the sound of those descriptions. You see, I have had the privilege of being a lead pastor for 39 years, and my sweet wife has been by my side through it all . . . as my wife.
For every pastor, his most important ministry is his wife, then his children, and then his “neighbors” (next door, down the street, church, town, the world). For the wife, her first ministry is always to her husband and then her children and beyond.
A long and varied job description for “the pastor’s wife” has been created by thousands over the years, but the truth is, the pastor’s wife is his wife first and foremost. Her “job description”(as a woman, a wife, a follower of Jesus Christ) is found in Proverbs 31:10-31, Ephesians 5:1-33, Colossians 3:1-25; Titus 2:3-5, 1 Peter 3:1-12, as well as other passages. As to how she serves in ministry, that is between her, the Lord and the loving leadership and protection of her husband.
The pastor’s wife is a born-again believer, saved through the cross-work of Jesus Christ, and living out the Christ-life (John 15:1-11; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27) through the power of the Holy Spirit within her (John 14:16-23). She is no different than the other ladies in the church who are under the same guidelines as the passages listed above.
She is not the “first lady the church.” or Mrs. Preacher or “the pastor’s wife.” She is a servant of the Lord as is every other born again lady in the local church. She does not have a position. Her identity is first of all in Christ, and then, as in the case of my wife, just that, my wife, my best friend, my sweetheart, as well as mom to our daughters, Gigi to our grandsons, and Denise to everyone else.
She needs prayer, friends, love, her family, compassion, prayer, grace, kindness, space to grow, not placed on a man-made pedestal, prayer, laughter, fellowship, encouragement, and prayer.
Ladies, if the pastor’s wife listens and prays with you after you have shared your burden with her, or confronts you about some habitual sin in your life because she cares, or wants to have lunch with you so she can disciple you and lead you further in your walk with Christ, it’s not because she’s “the pastor’s wife.” It has everything to do with her love for you, her obedience to the one another’s in Scripture, her love for God and her neighbor and her passion to disciple (Matthew 22:37-39; 28:18-20).
So, the next time you see your pastor’s wife, embrace her as your sister in Christ, your friend, and one who is growing and walking with Christ on your journey Home to Glory, not just “the pastor’s wife.”
From a pastor’s heart,