Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Service with a Smile

A pastor's wife is called to the same ministry he's called to, right? Same passions? Same burdens? Every children's pastor's loves all the kids in their church as if they were her very own. Every youth pastor's wife loves nothing more than hanging out with middle school girls, and all the high schoolers think she's just about the coolest person they've ever had the privilege of knowing. Every worship pastor's wife sings like Carrie Underwood and plays all the instruments simultaneously. Every senior pastor's wife runs a rockstar women's ministry and has great hair. 
What are the expectations of pastors' wives regarding service within the church? Should we serve along side our husbands in the same area they serve in if possible? Are we obligated to be in a role of leadership as our husbands are?

The bible does not speak specifically to the role of pastors' wives. It's dependent upon the denomination, the specific church you're a part of, etc. There is no question that we should be serving somewhere. That applies to everyone, though. We all have spiritual gifts given to us by God, and he equips us with those gifts to serve others.

Romans 12:4-6a -- For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too--the many--are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. Since our gifts vary depending on the grace poured out on each of us, it is important that we exercise the gifts that we have been given. (The Voice)

Ephesians 4:16 -- He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (NLT)

While ministry is a partnership, you are not biblically obligated to serve in the same area as your husband. Some people are wired to just serve where they are needed. I have a friend that will serve literally anywhere and has probably done everything from cleaning church toilets to teaching an adult small group. She's been given a heart for service in general.
Some people have been given a heart for a specific group of people or perhaps a specific area of ministry. If that doesn't line up with what your spouse does, that's ok.
A youth pastor's wife may have a heart for 3 year olds. If she's expected and obligated to serve in the youth ministry, she may be great, but she won't be nearly as effective as she would be in the preschool ministry where her heart is. And burnout is inevitable when you're serving where you're not called to serve.

I appreciate that I've never felt pressure from Allen to lock in to youth ministry. I do serve in the youth ministry, but I haven't always. I've served in the preschool, children's, women's and worship ministries over the years as well. That hasn't always looked the same. My role within those ministries changed as my season of life did. There have been times when I've taken a break because I was overdoing it and needed to get fed myself for awhile, or I was a first time mom with a newborn and was doing good to even get to church let alone offer the dependability needed to serve each week.
There's a yearly re-evaluation: Is this still where I need to be? Am I feeling pulled to another ministry?  Do I need to take something off my plate to be more effective in another area?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. If you're married to a pastor, what is his role and how does your service in/to the church couple with his?

Thanks for reading!!!


Mike and Cymbre said...

Mike is currently a student pastor (youth and college) and has primarily been involved with youth. I do feel called to be a part of youth ministry but like you, I've served in other areas depending on my season of life. I feel it is important to have a ministry of my own, meaning if God calls me to serve outside of where my husband is serving, I should be obedient to God first. I'm so thankful that Mike is encouraging in that and understands that I may not always serve in the same capacity as I have in the past. After having our first child, my involvement did not change much but with the second, it was tough to keep up. I struggled with not being a part of his ministry at the same level as before and am finally at a place that I can accept not being as involved. When we were dating, engaged, and newly married without kids, it was so easy to be involved. But life changes and God uses us in different ways!

Mike and Cymbre said...

I am curious about wives that are not involved in church ministry in any capacity though…Is there a responsibility (for lack of a better word) to be involved and serve more than just church attendance when your husband is a minister? I know of a few wives that are not involved more than the average attender and that bothers me…but I also remind myself that I don't always know what she may be involved in outside of the church that ministers to others.