Great Stuff Found on the Web — Pastor’s Wives: Servants of the Church

July 29th, 2012 Post by

Another great post found on LutheranPastor by Pastor Paul Beisel:

 

Fifty years ago, the “perfect” pastor’s wife was one who was involved in the Ladies’ Aid, taught Sunday School, was in charge of VBS, and accompanied her husband on hospital visits occasionally. Even now, sometimes it is assumed that a pastor’s wife should be active in the Church, serving on boards, showing up to funerals, and being “visible.” Those who don’t are sometimes seen as not being very supportive of the Church or their husbands’ ministry.

My feeling is that pastors’ wives serve the Church best by serving their husbands and their homes. A good pastor’s wife is one who is a Helper to her husband. Not saying that it is wrong or bad for pastor’s wives to get involved, if that is their choice. But our wives should not feel pressured to do all of the things that others do. Thankfully at Immanuel there is not a lot of pressure put on my wife. But still, it is hard to find one’s niche in a new place. I would encourage pastor’s wives to serve the Church by serving their husbands, by making a comfortable home for them, by “holding down the fort” while their husbands are ministering to others. It is a big sacrifice. It is hard work. Pastors are gone many an evening, and I know that my wife puts our kids to bed way more often by herself than together with me.

I am grateful for her willingness to do this. She is a servant of the church, but not in the way that people would expect, or used to expect of a pastor’s wife. She cares for me, and that is enough. If there is more that she wishes to do, then that is wonderful. I hope that other pastors and congregations feel the same way that I do. God bless our wives for all they do.


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  1. helen
    July 29th, 2012 at 15:28 | #1

    Eighty years ago our Pastor’s wife was raising the younger half of nine children and was seldom seen out of the house, unless it was at the clothes line or in the garden.
    The [German born and ordained] Pastor was lord of all he surveyed, including Ladies Aid, where his wife might attend but never spoke and certainly never was an officer, according to my mother.

    Fifty years ago, I knew pastor’s wives who doubled as church organist, and in one case, as a first class nursery school teacher, with time for VBS, but not much for Ladies’ Aid.

    Anecdotal evidence in both cases, of course. :)

    [That picture is from 150 years ago, I think!]

  2. Kelly
    July 30th, 2012 at 14:33 | #2

    Thank you for this – I myself consider that my husband’s vocation as pastor does not necessarily influence my vocation as his wife: i.e., there should be no difference between ‘wife,’ ‘pastor’s wife,’ ‘fishmonger’s wife,’ or what have you. My domain is the home & our family, and I feel irritated sometimes that perhaps more is expected of me from a congregational standpoint. I know my talents and interests do not include teaching Sunday school or leading VBS. I am somewhat ambivalent about being active in LWML, or participating in choir. I don’t enjoy feeling badly about the aspects of our congregation that I choose not to be a part of, so I very much appreciate the sentiment of this piece.

    It’s easy to feel that certain parishioners disapprove of my absence in the aforementioned situations (especially since my husband has only been in the ministry for a year), but I am constantly heartened by the fact that I know my husband himself appreciates, approves of, and upholds all that I do as his wife. And all that I do not do, for that matter.

  3. July 30th, 2012 at 16:42 | #3

    @Kelly #2
    “I feel irritated sometimes that perhaps more is expected of me from a congregational standpoint.”

    My wife sometimes struggled with similar feelings when she was a Navy chaplain’s wife — then she reminded herself that the Navy did not commission her (anymore than the congregation called you).

    May God continue to bless you richly as you support your husband in your vocation as a homemaker!

  4. Carol Broome
    July 30th, 2012 at 19:37 | #4

    Something else to keep in mind, though, is that the vocation of layperson is held by all congregants except the pastor. That has implications for pastor’s wives as well as for the rest of the laity.

  5. Rev. Paul T. McCain
    July 30th, 2012 at 21:19 | #5

    On the other hand….

    I was deeply saddened to learn that the man who followed me at my parish in Iowa not only brought to the ministry a wife who insulted the whole parish with her attitude…and in combination with his incompetence, they were out of there within a couple years.

    He is no longer a pastor. He bombed out and is now a lawyer.

    No surprises, frankly!

    On the day he was installed she declared she was unwilling to wear the freshly grown and harvested flowers presented to her by one of the matriarchs because they made her congested.

    So…..there you go.

    I’m not making this up.

  6. helen
    July 30th, 2012 at 21:44 | #6

    @Rev. Paul T. McCain #5
    On the day he was installed she declared she was unwilling to wear the freshly grown and harvested flowers presented to her by one of the matriarchs because they made her congested.

    So…..there you go.

    I’m not making this up.

    I’m sure of it!
    Come down to Austin for a few years, PTM, and get “acclimated”. Then we’ll make you a bouquet of hill country cedar, in January, and you may learn about allergies!

    [If that's all it takes to "insult" a whole parish, how did they survive you!?] :(

  7. helen
    July 30th, 2012 at 22:01 | #7

    @Kelly #2
    i.e., there should be no difference between ‘wife,’ ‘pastor’s wife,’ ‘fishmonger’s wife,’ or what have you. My domain is the home & our family, and I feel irritated sometimes that perhaps more is expected of me from a congregational standpoint.

    Haven’t met a fishmonger or his wife….
    Farm wives help on the farm, small business wives often double as secretaries or bookkeepers, more than one corporate wife is editor/proofreader of her spouse’s reports, so wifely support of husband’s job is not unknown. It may be invisible to the public and that’s just as well.

    That said, the congregation may be grateful if you don’t try to run everything your husband doesn’t! That’s not a pretty sight either.

    If you have a small child/children, most will not expect a lot of other activities from you. Be there for services, be friendly, and be quick to appreciate anything done for you. (If you use a volunteer staffed nursery, take a turn at volunteering.)
    God bless!

  8. Solveig Peck
    July 30th, 2012 at 22:59 | #8

    As granddaughter to two pastors’ wives, I really like this article.

  9. July 31st, 2012 at 10:15 | #9

    Let’s not post grudges online, folks, if you pray the Lord’s Prayer. It is far too easy for us to damn everyone else to hell, because, of course, we have more experience, and are far wiser and virtuous. It is apparent that we can often gain enjoyment from voicing how much more righteous we are and putting the dirty laundry of others on display like some middle school mockery. I’m in no way putting myself forward as the paradigm for anything, and I’m learning a little wisdom as I go along, especially when I think of how I saw things some years ago. But let’s not make BJS into TMZ or Talk Soup or something. God have mercy on me for even trying to say this here.

  10. Eric Ramer
    July 31st, 2012 at 12:03 | #10

    Rev. Paul T. McCain :
    He is no longer a pastor. He bombed out and is now a lawyer.

    “bombed out” seems awfully pajorative coming from a former parish pastor turned publisher. I’m just sayin…

  11. Rev. Paul L. Beisel
    August 1st, 2012 at 00:19 | #11

    I don’t disagree with Rev. McCain’s point. I think that both sides need to be taken into consideration. One should expect no more of the wife of a pastor in the congregation, but one should certainly expect no less. One can have a poor attitude on the other side and vow not to have anything to do with the members. That could very well be offensive and insulting to the parish. My point in the blog post was simply that congregations should see the daily duties of a wife caring for her husband, who happens to be their pastor, as a service also to them. This is forgotten sometimes.

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