Summary: This message is for every pastor's wife and women whose husbands are in Christian ministry leadership. It reveals the qualities that they should to be effective in church ministry alongside their spouses.
I will be the first to tell you that the work of a pastor's wife can be quite challenging and at times, frustrating. To an extent, I sometimes experience similar challenges as a Christian minister and ministry leader; but it is nothing compared to the pressures they go through. I also empathize with pastors’ wives because the pastors receive training for their jobs (pastoral school, seminary), but where does the pastor's wife go for her training. She is pretty much thrown into the position, and it can be utterly overwhelming.
Every so often, I believe the church expects too much from the wives of pastors, and as a result of this, burn out, depression, feeling isolated or lonely and feeling unappreciated happens. It is important for the pastor's wife to practice self-care and be able to establish a balance between her home, her vocation & the local church. There are many articles out there on pastors' wives and their roles in the church and to their husbands, but today, I want to focus more on the pastor's wife's role in the lives of the female church members.
I have been privileged to serve under a few awesome ministers/pastors and their wives, and at the same time, I have served under others who have turned their congregations upside down as a result of their ungodly attitudes and unwise decisions. I am not here to bring down anyone but instead to help the pastor's wives, and other women leaders ( i.e. elders, deaconess, etc.), in the church, develop a better relationship with their church women (members). I have witnessed too often in local assemblies (especially smaller ones), quarrels that have occurred between members of the church and pastors' wives. It shouldn't be so!
Now the Bible does not address the involvement of the pastor's wife in any ministry. There is nowhere in scripture where it specifies where exactly the pastor's wife should serve.
And so just like any other born-again Christian with spiritual gifts and talents, you serve where you are called and gifted to serve. Having said this, keep in mind that when the Lord calls a man into the ministry, He calls the man and his wife (husband & wife have become one, Mark 10:8, Gen 2:24). When the mantle has been given to a man or woman of God to lead a congregation, they will be responsible for everything that goes on in that church.
And so it is safe to say one of the major responsibilities of the pastor's wife in the church, is to oversee the affairs of the women's ministry amongst other areas. She must have a good rapport with all the female members of the church and this includes the women department or ministry leaders ( depending on church size).
I have a few friends who are pastors wives, and they come from various cultural backgrounds, denominations, and reside all over the world. Over the years, in conversations, they have shared with me both the good and the "not so good" of serving in that role and they pretty much say the same thing. Based on our discussions, I have put together some of the top qualities they believed have helped them be effective in their church roles.
These qualities can apply to relationships with all members, but as mentioned earlier, my focus is more on the dealings with the women in the church.
1. Apply wisdom - A Pastor's wife must choose her words carefully. In her speech and action, wisdom should be applied, some have driven members out of the church with their mouth. "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. "Proverbs 31:26, The Bible also tells us to ask for godly wisdom if we desire it. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. "James 1:5
2. Be Ready & Willing to Serve - A Pastor's wife must be ready and willing to serve others. She must be a woman with a servant's heart working alongside her husband to fulfill the vision and mission of the local assembly and be equipped to handle the challenges of the position.
3. Be Approachable - A pastor's wife must be approachable, make yourself available & welcoming to your members. Do not be standoffish; remember you are a leader, and you never know when a sister needs counseling, a listening ear or just a smile from you that will go a long way in his or her life that day.
4. Be Real - Be yourself; you do not have to fake it to please anyone. You are human and have issues and weaknesses just like everyone else, so be true to yourself. If you are real with your church members, they will be more relaxed to share their life's issues with you. Some people can smell "fakeness" a mile away. Being one way at home, and another way in the church never works. Eventually, your true self will emerge.