Social Media for Pastors’ Wives

Social Media for Pastors' Wives

When I joined Facebook in 2008, it looked nothing like it does today. Anyone remember those days? I joined because a friend was moving out of state and she said it was a good way to stay in touch. Little did I know how Facebook and other social media platforms would (dare I say) change my life.

Social media has changed a lot since those early days. The way people use it looks drastically different! If you’re like me, you probably have days where you want to delete all your accounts and . . . well, I don’t even know what I’d do without social media. I would certainly have a lot more free time!

For me, social media has been MOSTLY a positive addition to my life. I get to see pictures of friends and family, I get to virtually go on vacation with friends. I can stay connected to people that I don’t see every day. I have gained new friends. I’ve found support and encouragement from the many Facebook groups that I’ve joined. Without social media, I wouldn’t have a podcast or this website.

As a Christian, I believe I have a responsibility to declare the gospel, to be a light-bearer, exposing the darkness to the glorious light of Christ. I am uniquely called to showcase His grace. And social media is one of the ways I can do just that.

3 WAYS I USE SOCIAL MEDIA

To let people get to know me. Our church runs about 375 people each week. It is hard to connect with each person individually. But through Facebook, people can peek into my life, see my family, and that we are pretty normal. I post pictures of our family life. I post pictures of me in public after I’ve realized my shirt is on inside-out (Multiple times. Sigh.) I post about what God is showing me in His Word. I share songs that are rocking my world. I don’t mind making fun of myself when I do dumb things or use to much volumizer in my hair. (And then another pastor in town steals that photo, adds graphics, and uses it on his Facebook page. True story. See below.)

To build a bond with people. My social media posts have opened up the door to real-life conversations. I confess, I’m not very good at small talk, but it’s easy when someone starts a conversation based on something they saw on Facebook or Instagram. And this works both ways. It helps me get to know the people in my church. One simple comment can lead to a new understanding of someone and there is a bond created in sharing experiences.

To share what God is doing. One of my goals is to share what it looks like to live life with Jesus. I share thoughts from what I’m reading in the Word and links to articles that have impacted me. I want to show others who God is – that He is good and faithful. Sometimes I feel led to post something and then someone will comment, “I needed to hear that today.”

3 Ways I Do Not Use Social Media

To rant and rave. Sometimes social media wears me out. So much negativity! So many people on soapboxes. I cringe when I see posts spouting off in the name of God. Some people who follow me will never know me in real life and this is their only window into who I am. Do people know me as a follower of Jesus? Or do they know me for my political opinions? Do they see me express grace and mercy? Or do they know how much I can’t stand the service at my grocery story (or drivers on my commute, or the postal service, etc.)

To bash my husband and family. Oh believe me – there are times when I want to post snarky things about my husband or kids. But I absolutely will not do it.

To be a Debbie Downer. We all know that person whose life, according to their social media, is absolutely the worst. They always feel terrible. Their kids never sleep. They can’t get a break. And very often, these people are known to be Christians! I want people to know that Jesus makes a difference in my life. I want people to know that you can face sickness and scary situations with faith. I want people to see that my faith is real and that God is who He says He is and I actually believe it.

I believe that we can use social media to cultivate an interest in the kingdom of God. I believe that it can open a door into people’s lives and give us the opportunity to serve them and care for them and speak life to them. I want to be a force for good in a platform that is full of the not-so-good and I’m grateful that we have this powerful tool in our hands.

Do you have a social media strategy? Share with us in the comments below how you use social media to shed light into a broken world.

Moving from Work to Worship

I imagine my scene is not unlike many other pastors’ wives. I come to church early with my crew of children and set into work mode. Whether my work is coffee maker, running a quick vacuum or even setting up for my turn in kids church, the work mode has clicked on and is immediately going full speed ahead. My kids, who feel as if church is now just an extension of home, have abandoned  their shoes somewhere, their coats somewhere else (of course nowhere near each other, nor where they belong), and they are now running laps through the sanctuary, up the stairs, down the hall and into secret hiding places.

Then mid task I look at my watch to realize I should already be at my post greeting people. My “work-mode” is immediately unplugged and my “pastor-wife-mode” switches into gear, all while I plaster a smile on my face and whisper scream each of my children’s names and a quick “WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS!!!??”

For most of us our true desire is to be 100% present and focused on each soul that walks in our church and it’s unfortunate that our smile has become an act and our mind is really all on that we didn’t get done, still need to get done, and of course we wonder where the missing sock is to the sockless wonder-child. All of this before church even starts. That’s not even taking into consideration the grand task of getting children ready at home! Don’t get me started with itchy sweaters, outgrown favorite dresses, and meltdowns over cereal choices before you even leave your house!

Service starts and suddenly you’re thrust into the worship scene without notice. And if I ask for a raise of hands for those of us who feel “work-mode”, “greeter-mode”, and “pastor-wife-mode” are all still on, even with eyes closed, hands raised, and mouth singing, my bet would be many of you would be sitting there right now with your hands waving around in the air.

After one particular Sunday, where “Mom-mode” was the dominant mode, I walked into service on the last worship song. My strong-willed child, who had required all of my pre-service time, sat beside me and I cried. Hard! I begged God for a better routine, a better plan, better service . . . For me.

I no longer want to be absent in my worship to my king. I no longer want to be so easily distracted by every sound or movement. I no longer want to participate as a worker but rather as a true worshipper. Are you with me? So after prayer and searching and upping my organization game I’ve settled on a few things to aid in my ongoing goal of a worshipper.

Prepare before Sunday

  • Lay clothing out the night before (have kids try it on!). Even the mismatched socks! Stick to what is laid out. Make it a rule that you can not change your mind in the morning.
  • Prepare the church before Sunday. Have the lesson plans laid out and ready. Vacuum if you need to. Get all the materials you need to make the coffee right at your fingertips for an easy task Sunday morning. Basically, walk through the chaotic Sunday morning routine sometime BEFORE Sunday and line things up to be easier.
  • Prepare your heart and mind for a time of worship. Whether you are the worship leader, the kids church leader, the nursery worker or the greeter, or all of the above, ask God to penetrate through the hats you wear on Sundays and reach into your inner soul… BEFORE Sunday service. This way you can be prepared to fully worship keeping your focus on the Lord who desires our worship.

Get plenty of rest

  • Block off Saturday nights for prep, relaxation, and SLEEP!
  • Go to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night. It’s amazing how hard things are when we are physically and mentally tired. Sleep is your friend.

Be disciplined

  • Discipline yourself to focus on God during worship and not the million of other things vying for your attention. The clock does not have to be glanced at when late-comers arrive… as tempting as that is! Once worship starts, discipline yourself to give God that time. We do not teach our congregation to worship God by allowing them to interrupt us with chit chat, questions, concerns, or a demand to be greeted. Once worship starts, tell others you’ll talk to them after service. This isn’t easy when people are so demanding (and chit-chatty, and “concerned”) so often. But, protect your time and choose worship.
  • With your husband’s (or the pastor’s) consent, decide on a specified time where greeters can stop greeting and join worship. Don’t miss all of that intimate time with God (15-20) greeting those who choose not to come in time for worship. That only sends the message that coming late, and missing worship is no big deal.
  • Train your children to enter into worship as well. If they are with you in the worship portion of service teach them to worship, too. Do not allow them to tug at your skirt, or dig in your purse for snacks, or any other disruptive acts. Use quiet bags if need be, but do not let your children steal your worship time.
  • Ultimately, discipline yourself to tune out others and tune in to God.

Worship is important. And although we all know it’s not always possible for the pastor’s wife to be carefree during this time, if we make it a top priority we’ll get to participate rather than work. This is not an easy job, but worship is our reprieve. Without it, we can easily fall under the pressure. Take the steps necessary to protect your worship time.  Even if it means that sockless wonder child of yours remains sockless for another hour!

Prioritizing & Time Management with Jesus

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” 
Luke 10:38-42

Mary and Martha were sisters.  Jesus had come to stay with them.  Martha was busy getting everything prepared while Mary sat and listened to Jesus.  This really irked Martha because she was left with all of the work!  She complained to Jesus and asked him to tell Mary to go help her.  Jesus’s response was for Martha not to get all worked up about the things that needed to get done but to invest in personal time with him! 

Sometimes we get too busy in life. Okay, a lot of times we get too busy in life!  We then focus on what isn’t as important and we change our priorities.  Jesus was reminding Martha that the things she was doing (busy everyday work) would always be there and that spending time with him was more important.  Mary “got it!”  She was spending time with Jesus.  I have a confession to make, up until I was older, I always kind of sided with Martha.  It had to be frustrating for her!  Here she is “stuck with all of the work” while “sweet little Mary” sits and visits with Jesus.  lol Does that sound about right? But now I get it!  Jesus wanted to spend time with Martha and Mary!  They could have sandwiches and grapes instead of a gourmet meal.  The dishes could wait!

How does that apply to my life?  I need to take time to spend time with Jesus, the dishes can wait.  I need to make time with Him a priority.  There will always be busy work to do but I will be better equipped to handle life when I make time for that one on one with Jesus. Time with Jesus is an investment that will last a lifetime and will have a meaningful impact on my life versus time spent with social media or doing the dishes.  I can still do those things but I need to put them in order after my time with Jesus!

Jesus, help me to be diligent in my time management.  Help me keep my eyes focused on You! 

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