Dear New Pastor’s Wife

I’m not sure how you got here, but here is where you are. Maybe you knew what you were getting yourself into, maybe you woke up one day after years of marriage to a man who decided God was telling him it was time to pastor a church. You might be excited to begin this ministry journey or you may be nervous, wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. However you feel today, this word is for you.

I’m quickly approaching a decade of ministry under my belt, but goodness, I still have a lot to learn. God has been gracious to walk with me through different churches, roles and situations in ministry so that I have a bit of experience. Here’s a few things I learned along the way that would have been abundantly helpful to know starting out.

God has called and equipped you.

We talk so often of our husbands ‘answering the call,’ using all the fancy church words. But sister, God has called you to this ministry too. A husband whose wife isn’t on board and isn’t supportive of him in his ministry, is a husband who cannot pastor to his full abilities. God can still do wonderful things through him, don’t get me wrong. Be we, the pastor’s wife, have been called to this life too.

Let us not forget that whom God calls, He also equips. We all have different personalities and gifts, but God knows you, your husband and He knows your church. He’s equipped YOU to be the pastor’s wife of fill-in-the-blank church here. No one else was called for such a time as this in your church but you. Instead of running away from it, step into that. Take confidence in knowing that God has got you, He didn’t just want your husband at your church. He wants you there too.

You please God, not people.

From the time you step into your church, people have placed expectations on you. Sure, people can say that they don’t, but let’s be real here, they for sure do. It’s important to know that you also place expectations on yourself as well. You’ll be harder on yourself and tell yourself more hurtful things than anyone in that church will. But rest assured that we don’t answer to men. We answer only to God.

In my time of ministry, there have been many hurtful things said to me, about me, to my husband or about my husband. It’s so hard not to get wrapped up in those, to feel bitter and shameful – or even guilty. But we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He’s the one who has placed us here, He is the head of our church and our only duty is to do what He’s asked of us.

If you aren’t sure how to please God, let alone the people, then start here. Love God most. Spend time in His word and in prayer with Him daily. And then, love people. Love them when it’s easy, love them when it’s hard. Speak to them about what God is doing in your life. Be authentic and allow people glimpses into your real, Jesus-led life.

Your first and most important ministry is to your husband and children.

In a moment of transparency, this one is probably the hardest for me. I repeat this one to myself when I bring my kids to church solo week in and week out. I repeat this one when I’m doing bedtime by myself for the third night in a row. I repeat this one when I want SO MUCH to be out doing ministry, but I’m home with the kids while my husband is doing the ministry.

I must be reminded of my backwards thinking. Goodness, I do ministry all day long with my two sweet kiddos under my care. If I cannot share the Gospel and disciple my children, what business do I have trying to “do ministry” in my church?

Friend, your husband and kids are your first ministry. Love your husband, encourage him, support him, ask him often the best way you can serve him while he serves others. And as for your kiddos, whether you have them now or they’ll come later, passing along the Gospel to them is the only hope for future generations. If we want the Church to thrive, then we need to take our role in raising up our children in the fear of the Lord very seriously.

I wish I could see you, give you a hug and tell you that this is your best life. Maybe not the easiest or the prettiest, the one with the biggest salary or the fanciest house but doing the work that God has called us to is the very best. When things get tough (and unfortunately, they will at times), cling tightly to the promises of God. Remember that you are called and equipped for the task at hand