One Day at a Time Devotional
Currently, our church is in a transitional stage. Our Pastor, my husband, has recently announced that after many years of prayer, God has placed on his heart a “call” into the ministry of evangelism.
He has started and pastored our church for nearly thirteen years and has always had an immense burden to help church plants. Due to this movement from pastoring into evangelism and strengthening church plants, our church is looking for another pastor. Thankfully, our current pastor is guiding us through this process as we try to find the right man for the job. He has been teaching and preaching on the biblical qualifications of a pastor so that we prayerfully will make the right choice as we seek out candidates for this important position.
The Pastor’s Wife
Well, this process has flooded my mind with thoughts and prayers, not just over the position of a pastor, but the position of the Pastor’s wife. What are her biblical qualifications and what should we look for when choosing a pastor, his wife, and children? Because they come as a package.
Today, I will not address the qualifications of a Pastor too much, but I will touch on some of them when referring to the Pastor’s wife. If you would like to study this a little further, you can refer to I Timothy 3:1-5 and Titus 1:6-9 for more insight.
When my husband and I attended Bible College, I was really wondering what a Pastor’s wife was supposed to be due to the fact that I was going to be one shortly. It was a very intimidating topic. So, to answer this question I spent time reading books like, “Life as Viewed from a Goldfish Bowl” by Beverly Hyles. One time I had the opportunity to ask Mrs. Terrie Chappell from Lancaster Baptist Church if she knew of any books written for Pastor’s wives on the role of the Pastor’s wife. Her response was, “No” (she later wrote one herself entitled, “It’s a Wonderful Life”). So, I must admit I was lost as to what my role was and how I was supposed to act or what I was supposed to do.
After graduation from college, starting the church and assuming the role of the Pastor’s wife, I had others views engrained in my mind on the role of a Pastor’s wife. There were so many ideas about what a pastor, his wife and his children were like that had been told to me as a new Christian, many that were stated by fellow church members before I assumed the role of the Pastor’s wife. Some of those statements were:
“The pastor’s kids never moved when those balloons fell down from the ceiling during that banquet we hosted.” This of course was implying that the pastor’s kids were perfect and were never to move during a service, much less breathe! Of course, this was my job as the mom to make them sit still. Other statements like, “The Pastor’s wife is supposed to always look perfect when she is out and about.” Or “She is supposed to play the piano for all of the services.” or in my case, “What is a pastor’s wife doing with the name Brandy? Isn’t it supposed to be Sarah or some other Bible name?” Well, obviously I need to do a legal name change since my name correlates with hard liquor and heathenism! This confirms that I’m in the wrong profession, right?
These were just a small amount of comments made and with all joking aside, these can leave you a little insecure and largely confused. I went into the work of the ministry dreading every bit of it and stayed this way for most of my years as the Pastor’s wife.
Fortunately, there were other Pastor’s wives that I was able to meet early in my ministry who had been serving God this way for many years. They were so transparent and real that I was astonished. They threw the myths about a Pastor’s wife and family right out of the window and helped me to understand that it’s okay to be real and normal.
So, what are the qualifications given directly to the role of the Pastor’s wife in the Bible? The answer, there are none. Read the passages mentioned earlier and you won’t find anything. I do find it interesting to note that God gives the deacons’ wife qualifications instead. So, why is that? Because no woman in her right mind would vie for the position of a Pastor’s wife! No, not really. The fact is that the infamous or notorious “Pastor’s wife” is exactly that, she is the wife of the Pastor. Her roles and responsibilities are to her relationships with God, her husband and her children.
When looking at the Pastor’s wife you need to assess whether or not she:
- Spends time with God. Does she have a consistent walk with God or is she allowing her schedule and others to distract from her first love, the Lord?
- Loves her husband, Titus 2:4. Her role is not to spend more time at ladies’ activities, counseling women, secretarial work, babysitting the church kids or any other role forced upon her. It is to meet the needs that her husband may have in her role as his wife.
- Is a help-meet, Genesis 2:18. Her God-given role is to be the help meet of her husband. Whatever he needs or desires for her to do in the church is her role. Of course, this does not rule out any ministry she may desire to do for the Lord in the church. She is to complete him where he is weak and strengthen him when he is weak. There is a thought circulating with some Pastor’s wives that it is her husband that is called into the ministry and not herself or her children. Personally, I do not agree with this theory because I believe it goes against Scripture when God says we are “one flesh” when married in Genesis 2 and Matthew 19 and when God tells a husband to love his wife as himself. There are examples of husbands and wives fulfilling the role of Pastor and wife throughout the Old and New testaments. My point is that you cannot divide the qualifications of the Pastor from the Pastor’s wife. With this said, each of us is a work in progress and I am not the Pastor’s wife I was when I first started at the age of twenty-six, I have grown spiritually by immense proportions.
- Loves her children, Titus 2:4. The pastor’s wife, if she has children, is to love her children and raise them for the Lord. She is to raise them to live by the Word of God and to have their own relationship with God. Her main focus beyond the above mentioned is to spend time taking care of the needs of and training her children. She and her husband are to raise the children to meet the qualifications God has set forth for them in Titus 2:6. They are to be faithful to God, they are not to be accused of riot or unruly. The word riot is defined as; violentor wild disorder or causing confusion and the word unruly is defined as; not submissive or conforming to rule; ungovernable; turbulent; intractable; refractory; lawless. She is to fulfill the role of Titus 2:5. I believe good Biblical examples of Pastor’s kids not fulfilling these requirements is in I Samuel regarding the priest, Eli, and his sons. I do not believe that a child running through the church building a couple of times is consistent with being unruly or riotous. It is a habitual disregard and unsubmissive behavior for the rules of parents and authority in general. Remember, we are not talking of sinless perfection here. Children will be children and will make mistakes, even the Pastor’s kids. They are no different from your children when it comes to basic human behavior. As her children grow, her responsibilities may change, but her role never will.
On a side note, circumstances happen where the church cannot afford to pay the pastor a salary that meets the family’s needs and she and her husband have to work or she has so many responsibilities at the church that they are spending less time together as a family or a child was behaving as children do who are sinners, just like you and your children, and they make a mistake. Whatever the case, please be mindful that there may be some extenuating circumstances that you do not see that will require less judgement on your part and more prayer and help instead.
So, what is the Pastor’s wife supposed to be?
To make this simple, the Pastor’s wife is to be the wife of the Pastor. It is not her role to meet the expectations of the church members. It is her role to be the Christian God wants her to be according to His Scriptures just as you are to be the Christian God wants you to be.
An Interview with the Pastor
With this subject in mind, I asked my husband, the Pastor, what he thought the qualifications of a Pastor’s wife are and this is what he said:
- She needs to have a godly attitude – the joy of Christ
- She needs to be accepting and supportive of the call of God on the Preacher’s Life.
- She should complement his strengths or in other words, complete him.
- Due to the Biblical “one flesh” principle, his qualifications should be hers.
- Her priority should be her husband and her children.
For another perspective on this, read the book, “If You Only Knew Me, seeing your pastor from a different perspective” by Pastor Jerry Beaver. He interviews his wife in this book and gives his own views about the role of the Pastor’s wife.
A Final Note
I pray that this has been helpful in understanding the qualifications of the Pastor’s wife. My challenge to you this week is to pray for your Pastor’s wife, her husband and her children. Ask God to help you to see her and her family through His eyes and not man’s. Pray for God’s leading on how you can help them to fulfill the roles God has given them. Admittedly, there are more hidden responsibilities that come with the title of Pastor’s wife, but her main role is to her God, her husband and her children. The Lord will bless you as you seek to give the Pastor, and indirectly his family, double honor according to I Timothy 5:17. In the next few weeks we will continue to address this topic as we look into God’s Word.
& One Day at a Time Devotional,
a ministry of Riverview Baptist Church