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Home » All Resources » Articles on Church General » James MacDonald, The Pastor's Wife's Role in Ministry
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A panel of senior pastors including Steven Furtick, Greg Laurie, and James MacDonald talk about their wives and the roles they play in ministry.

We invite you to share your view in the comment section below. Tell us what role your spouse plays in your ministry?

 


James MacDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God's Word on the Walk in the Word radio broadcast, and is a gifted author and speaker.

Tim Tyre
January 11, 2013
Timothy and titus are very specific concerning women pastors,they do not degrade or belittle women.But there seems to be a feminist movement as far as ministry goes.The new testament is the new covenant and if you want to circumvent it and create your own reality,you should take into consideration the scripture about adding or taking away from the scripture in revelations.Don't want all the plagues of the bible coming down on me,but that's just me,and I have nothing to prove. [delete comment]
Lisa Donald
July 6, 2011
Thank you, Maria, for your thoughts. The Scripture teaches us that woman was created as a helper for her husband in a way that we can't say the same the other way around. To me, this is the heart of this discussion. [delete comment]
Maria Williams
July 6, 2011
While the responsibilities of a pastor are often many and trying, a married pastor does not bear the burden of his calling alone. I firmly believe that when a married man is called into ministry, so is his wife. I believe the ministry unlike any other secular vocation/career, was create by God for the married pastor's wife to be her husband helper. God created Eve to be Adam's helper as it is understood in scripture. This is truly a unique and high call for the pastor and thus his wife. Therefore, the roles for them both are set apart from a secular career even if it is the pastor?s full-time job. Both the pastor and his wife are servants of Christ. The pastor's wife as her husband's helper and co-partner of the love of Christ, should involve herself in similar endeavors using her God given gifts to please God in edifying the kingdom and in doing so, the pastor's wife encourages her husband by doing the Lord's work alongside him. [delete comment]
Val Garron
July 3, 2011
Hmmm.... Well, I found the discussion interesting, but disturbing as well..... who was the audience made up of? And no female pastors? Seems a little behind the times..... and that's a shame. There are too many who need to hear versus sitting around talking about our spouses role and what it should or shouldn't be. [delete comment]
Bryan Thompson
July 2, 2011
I suppose my wife is that stereotypical Pastor's Wife some folks would mock. She does play the piano, sing, teach Sunday School, etc. It has never been something I have put on her, nor do I believe church members have thrust it upon her. Those are areas where she is gifted and is happy to serve. I wouldn't put that yoke upon other Pastor's wives, nor should anyone. I believe we all have our gifts and should serve wherever the Lord leads us to serve. I do believe very strongly that a Pastor's wife should walk curcumspectly and pray the Lord will make her a powerful example of what a virtuous woman is to be. Beyond that I wouldn't presume to say what her role in the church should be. [delete comment]
Lisa Donald
June 30, 2011
I believe there's huge application of 2 Thess. 2:4 to my role in the Church: "For we (ALL) are messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts." At the same time we're part of this unity in Christ's Body and how we function is going to be unique. It's ALWAYS trouble when we get our eyes off Who we are really serving and focus on pleasing people. [delete comment]
Dav Ross
June 29, 2011
No pastor's husband for me...... and even if I wanted one I can't see anywhere in the Bible that says I'd be allowed one, even if I were female. Got me a great wife and she serves the Lord where she can, just like all the other folk in the church do. I'd be lost without her. [delete comment]
Jun Serrano
June 29, 2011
There is no scriptural basis to talk about the role of the Pastor's husband. If there is any I need a help to know it. [delete comment]
Lisa Donald
June 28, 2011
I do appreciate Melinda's comments. A couple thought to add to this discussion: Growing up an MK, the influential people in my life generally molded ministry as being a whole family affair. It was never a "Dad is paid so Mom isn't obliged" kind of scenario. Now as a pastor's wife I approach it much the same. We work hard at our commitments as a love-gift much the same way other church members would. Our church is a very happy place to be. I'm complementarian. To me a woman not being in spiritual authority over men is an issue of obedience to God. I've struggled with this and especially how to relate with women pastors in our small community. It has helped me to realize that even though to me this is a matter of obedience or disobedience, they see it as a matter of interpretation. It always causes me grief when egalitarians speak words that marginalize or belittle those with my understanding on the matter. [delete comment]
Melinda Nelson of Trenton St. Baptist
June 28, 2011
Being a pastor's wife comes with great blessing but it is the number one hardest job I've had. People need to keep in mind that we are not there to fill the roles that no one else will do. We are not the complaint board when things are wrong. And I am not trying to set the standard for the accepted fashion in the church. I am a church member serving where God calls me...not where the members think I should be serving. Please accept us for who we are and not try to put us in a specific box of the way we should look, act, talk, walk and serve. The hardest part is everyone keeps their distance. Very few want to include and befriend the pastor's wife. It is lonely to sit alone every service. I love the members where we have served and God has blessed us tremendously but these are items I think members need to keep in mind when it comes to these special ladies. [delete comment]
Brenda Taylor of Metro Vineyard Of San Juan
June 28, 2011
Why was the discussion so short? There is so much to be said about the role of a pastor's wife. Also, it is disappointing that the panel lacked ethnic diversity because the role of a pastor's wife and the expectations of her is different in other cultures. [delete comment]
One day I will have one [delete comment]
John Crawford
June 27, 2011
The problem with today's churches is that they have the shackles of a stereotypical and traditional mindset of what a pastor's wife is supposed to be and do. All my wife is to do is love the Lord Jesus first, love me unconditionally, pray for me and encourage me. What she does behind the scenes is just as important as what other pastor's wives do in front of the congregation rather than trying to fit some stereotypical expectation. Just because she doesn't play the piano, sing, or teach Sunday School doesn't mean that she is not an awesome wife. [delete comment]
Eugene Mccallips
June 27, 2011
As I look at the participants it seems unusual that most of the pastors are under or near 40 years of age. How about a followup with pastors who are 50 . In my experience we gain more freedom to depart form congregational expectations and to respond more authentically to God's call as we mature in both ministry and life. [delete comment]
Kimberly Kiehn of Children's Church Director
June 27, 2011
I would love to hear this from your wives perspective:-) I am a pastor's wife...that being said, I am his wife first which brings with it all the responsibilities from scripture to honor, love and care for him. He and my family are my primary ministry. My calling to my local church is to use the gifts that God has given for the working of the body. Whatever the ministry, I must prayerfully consider if God wants me to be the one to fill the gap. Sometimes I think I'm asked because I'm "there". Together, my husband and I are called to a local body. I'm a little bothered by the "extra" honor espoused by your first commentator. I'm thankful that although my husband loves me, cares for our family, and honors me...he doesn't have a plan for what I should "be". Nor does he expect myself or our children to be above those in our congregation, other than he loves us the most:-) I think that sets me and our children up on an unfair pedastle. We are co laborers together in the work, for the building of the body (1 Corinthians 3). [delete comment]
Don Zlaty of Eden Umc
June 27, 2011
We should learn to retrain our desires to find our next piano player or Sunday school teacher everytime we look at the incoming spouses of our pastor's. Maybe it is time to allow them to follow the path that God has laid out for them so they can serve His purpose and not ours. [delete comment]
If your spouse was not called to the ministry then their role is to be the spouse and support. If I can't see the doctor (which is female), I don't ask for an appointment to see her husband because it may be a male issue. If my computer goes down and I call for my computer guy (which is male), I don't see if his wife can fix it if he is busy. I think churches (dominated by women) have forced pastors to think of their spouses as partners in ministry which I don't think is biblical. I know some is thinking "what about Priscilla and Aquila?" they were the exception and not the rule. We have made Priscilla and Aquila the rule and Paul, Peter, John, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy and Titus the exceptions. [delete comment]
Rick Ramsey
June 27, 2011
Is there not anyone who understands that the bible declares that a Pastor is to be the husband of one wife (1Tim 3:2) and that God would not have a women to teach or take authority over a man (1 Tim 2:12) Or have we just decided that it is politically correct to reject the bible on this subject. A man's wife is just that his wife. When I was in Real Estate my wife did not feel like she had a role to fulfill in that or when I worked in a factory she didn't feel the need to be involved in that. She does have her own spiritual gifts and opportunity to minister but first and foremost my wife is my wife! [delete comment]
Clare Loughrige of Crossroads Church And Ministries
June 27, 2011
This panel did a fine job of addressing the role of a Pastor's wife. It would be interesting to have a panel on the role of the Pastor's husband... the challenges of that role are significant as well. As the Lead Pastors of a congregation (20 years and counting), my husband and I would be happy to sit on a panel that addresses this unique partnership. Thank you for the work you do to encourage pastors! [delete comment]
Grainne Mcdonald
June 27, 2011
There are evangelical women pastors and their needs are the same as that of male pastors. The church has called the pastor to be the pastor and the partner's role is that of support. Usually the pastor has received theological and pastoral training and it is that person's calling. The partner may be heavily involved with the church in leadership or may be employed in secular work. In their marriage, however, each will sacrificially support the other, enabling each other to be faithful and obedient to their high calling as servants in the service of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In all things He has the pre-eminence, - even in marriage it is the Lord first. Some of these pastors seem to think they are first! [delete comment]
James Porter
June 27, 2011
I am the pastor and also the Pastor's husband ... both of us are ordained and share the duties of leadership. But we're pragmatic, too. This is a male dominated profession—leading churches whose attendance is often dominated by women. It sure keeps me out of harms way when there are issues with women that need a woman's handling. Sharon's intuition has saved me many times. [delete comment]
Rob Thorn of Umhlanga
June 27, 2011
You guys are amazing! - are we now reverting to the all male discipleship of two thousand years ago? This article is blatantly gender specific - shame on you ministers! There must be thousands of female pastors/priests in the twenty-first century who are married - why have you not made your discussion inclusive of the opposite sex? You're all guilty of gender discrimination, also by virtue of the fact that there's not one female pastor in your discussion group. [delete comment]
The role of the pastor's wife is a unique one, and I've noticed that it really takes a special woman of God to fulfill this role. She literally has to share her husband's time with the entire church body and community. [delete comment]
Curryanne Hostetler
June 27, 2011
To Bad they did not also talk about the role of the Pastor's husband. [delete comment]
Terry Cheek of Calvary Baptist
June 27, 2011
My wife's prayerfully searches for God's direction in her life. She is very active in our church as a leader and our community as a christian. However her role in our marriage as my wife is just that to be my wife, my partner, someone who prayerfully lifts me up and helps our home be one that God can use for His glory and service. She is my wife first and foremost, my partner in life, my soulmate. [delete comment]

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