Happy Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month! It’s that month out of the year to honor the wife of your pastor. Hers is not an easy job. Smiling and shaking hands at church is just a miniscule portion of what she does. There are so many things that go on behind the scenes that involve your pastor’s wife. And hear me out. I am not complaining. I have had an amazing life in ministry. Is it busy? Yes. Is it hard? YES! But if I had to do it all over again, this is the life I would choose. (And just look at my husband! He’s hot.) Our church has gifted me many different things over the years. But the older I get, the less I want material things. What would bless my heart even more is to see Christian women serving the Lord with their whole heart. I really think most pastor’s wives would agree. So how do we do that?
Pray for her. Satan would like nothing more than to destroy any Christian family, but he greatly delights in destroying a ministry family. Over the last few years I have heard of many ministry families that have been torn apart. Pray that your pastor’s wife will be strong in adversity, pray she will be a blessing to her husband, pray she will give attention to her children. Pray that she will respond well to criticism. Remember, she is a woman, just like you. She is a church member, just like you. (This always makes me think of Marguerite in the movie “Ever After”: “You’re just like me, a big nobody!”) Attack her children and she will most likely want to respond in the flesh. I’m not saying she will, but our first response is to defend our families, isn’t it? Pray God will give her wisdom. Sometimes, when a woman feels she has no where else to turn, she’ll turn to the pastor’s wife. Your pastor’s wife needs the Holy Spirit to guide her in what to say, and it might not be what that person wants to hear. She should balance it with grace and truth. (Now, there are circumstances where a scorner refuses to hear correction. Grace or no grace, they just don’t want to hear it.) Plus, it is really hard to be angry with someone when you are diligently praying for them.
Encourage her. Send her a text. Send her a card. Give her a hug and thank her for her ministry. My husband has often been heard saying “Obey every prompting of the Spirit.” If the Holy Spirit brings her to mind, do something. I have told our church ladies if God lays someone on their heart, pray for them. But why not let them know? That may be just the time that your pastor’s wife needs to know someone has brought her before the throne. You may not know all your pastor’s wife goes through, but God knows. When is the last time you texted her out of the blue and told her you were praying for her, or you appreciate her, or love her, or thanked her for what she does? Maybe she likes vanilla cake…
Take the initiative. Don’t depend on your pastor’s wife to do everything. There was a lady at our church who was fabulous at this. One Sunday, it was announced that a lady in our church was to have surgery in two days. I was in the nursery and missed the announcement. By the time I got out of the nursery, this lady had already set up meals for a few days. She saw the need and did it. Maybe you show up early for a fellowship meal and help with set-up. (I promise you will not break out in hives if you show up early. You might even get a blessing out of it.) Maybe your pastor’s wife cleans the church and she has a busy week coming up. Why not volunteer to clean for her? Maybe you take her shift in the nursery because she has a guest present in the services. Don’t always wait to be asked.
Have a servant’s heart. Be willing to help out. And do it with a joyful heart, not begrudgingly. This goes hand in hand with take the initiative. Volunteer for things, don’t wait to be asked. At ladies meetings does your pastor’s wife have to do everything (music, announcements, speak, games, etc.)? Ask her if there is anything you can do to help out. And ask specifically. “Would you like for me to do a game?” “Would you like for me to bring a snack?” Is there a major function coming up? Ask her if she needs any help with preparation or set up. Or just show up and be willing to work hard.
Be flexible. Sometimes ministry doesn’t work out perfectly like we want it. Who are we kidding? Life doesn’t work out perfectly like we think we want it. If the nursery coordinator asks you to switch shifts, be flexible. If someone is sitting in your seat in the sanctuary, be flexible. If the pastor asks you to change your special or the date you sing, be flexible. Long time ago I heard the phrase and I say it often, “I’m a willow. I can bend.” A friend of mine texted today and used the phrase “that’s my penciled in erasable plan.” I love it!
Be friendly. Shake hands. Introduce yourself. Your pastor or pastor’s wife should never see you just sitting around especially when guests walk in. Not too long a couple walked into church, walked toward the front, and sat down. An individual asked the pastor, “Who is that over there?” The pastor responded, “Why don’t you get up, walk over there, introduce yourself, and find out?” People aren’t going to want to return if members aren’t friendly. “But I’m an introvert.” Great. Pray the Lord will make you bold and greet people anyway. Maybe your pastor’s wife is an introvert, too, but you expect her to do that, right? (Ever since my thyroidectomy, I am much more introverted than ever before. I don’t always want to “put myself out there” but the Bible doesn’t give us exceptions on loving our neighbor, does it?)
Be on time. This isn’t going to set well with some people. I don’t like being late. I think it is rude. I also think it tells others their time is not valuable. I think it gives the impression that you are more important than the task at hand. We are training the girls “if you are on time, you are late.” We ask our nursery workers and Sunday School teachers to be in place 15 minutes before the service starts. When a nursery worker is late, the Sunday school teacher/helper can’t check their kid/kids in. That makes them late. Then they are not where they need to be greeting their own class. It’s a domino effect. Plus, as a visiting momma, I’d be a little leery putting my child in a nursery where the workers didn’t seem to be bothered to be there on time, like it’s an afterthought. When we moved to Florida we were told there was such a thing as “Florida Time.” People would get there when they got there. It was the “culture.” To me, it doesn’t matter what the culture is, be on time. There are lots of things that would be considered cultural, but that doesn’t make it right. (Cannibalism, child brides, rituals of human sacrifice…) I know, extreme examples, but still…
I am surrounded by some women who do all these things. I used to say I was spoiled, but my husband corrected me. I am blessed. Blessed beyond measure. When I had a miscarriage, these ladies rallied around me, taking care of my daughter overnight, bringing us meals, praying for me. When I gave birth to a baby that spent 3 months in the NICU, again, they took care of me and my family. They told us to be at the hospital as much as we needed and they made sure everything continued on without a hitch. When I had my second surgery for my cancer, my husband had to be at camp, so one of the sweet ladies picked me up from the hospital, took me home, and made sure I had what I needed. I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing these ladies have been to my heart.
So all of that to say this. If you read between the lines, you’ll realize these are things a Christian woman should be doing as service to her Lord. In addition, it benefits the church and is a huge blessing to your pastor and his wife and family. Ask yourself this, “If my pastor’s wife conducted herself like I do would anything get done? Would people feel welcome? Would she be on time?” There’s an old song that says “What kind of church would my church be if every member were just like me?” It’s a convicting thought to be sure.
As one person has said, I serve an audience of One. And that is true. But in the process, we can be a blessing to our pastor’s wife. You might never know what a difference you can make.