Pastor’s Wife resume: reflections on the last 5 yrs & a heart stirring

While making a veggie dish for book club tonight, I began thinking of my role as a Pastor’s wife. Growing up, most wives of the Pastor tended to serve on the music team (played piano to be exact). While I took piano as a child, I’m not in any shape to play publicly (unless you want to hear a right-hand-only simple music piece, ha!). When I think of pastor wives that I knew growing up, I’ve often felt different. What I’ve recently started telling myself is that maybe this is OK. Maybe how we each serve as Pastor’s Wives is not better or worse, just different.

On that note, I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve served over the last 5 years at our church. During this time, my primarily focus has been identifying gaps and filling them. Basically, I like to start things that no one else is doing and then hand them over to others! Here are some examples of things that I’ve started from scratch over the last 5 years:

  1. A Youth Group (that now has other leaders in place)
  2. A Church Softball Team (I didn’t play but organized it to make it happen)
  3. An Adult Sunday School group (that continues to meet)
  4. A monthly social group for young adults (this group has had various leaders over the last couple of years)
  5. Filled in as Nursery Co-ordinator (there’s now a new leader in place, yay!)
  6. Book Club (the group carried on when I took a break from reading books after we welcomed a newborn to our home)
  7. Community Outreach (there’s several passionate leaders now part of this small group).
  8. A College & Careers small group.

I absolutely love filling the gap & then having someone else take over. When someone else is able to take over leadership then it gives me more time to do something else. I also LOVE to figure out what someone is gifted in/passionate about and help to plug them into meaningful service. That gives me great joy.

I guess in a way, I like being an entrepreneur. In regards to entrepreneurship, lately, there’s been a new stirring in my heart to combine my skills & experiences as a social worker in church ministry. More specifically, I’ve thought of maybe doing public speaking/training on specific topics. Some examples might be: Assertiveness Training (can include conflict resolution + boundaries), Social Justice, Marriage, Financial Freedom, How to talk to your kids about sex, etc. etc. We’ll see! I am returning to full-time work in April. But my heart is definitely bent towards creating teaching topics that may help spur people on towards health. And the hope would be that non-church folk may be interested in a teaching topic as well!

We’ll see what 2016 has in store. First and foremost, I hope that I grow in my relationship with God and that I love others better. In the end, that’s all that matters.  And we’ll see if I can take baby steps towards this new heart stirring. If you’re married to a pastor and reading this, please remember that how we each serve in the church is not better or worse, just different.  You are amazing at being you.

Pastor’s Wife: working full-time and raising a family

My husband is a pastor (he’s the solo pastor at our church). I work full-time and have a 45 minute commute each way. In spring of 2015, we welcomed our first child. When I’ve searched google for answers re: being a pastor’s wife, working full-time and being a mom, I can’t seem to find anything. I’ve found plenty of great articles re: the challenges of balancing ministry life while raising a young family, but nothing re: being a pastor’s wife + working full time + raising a family. Hmm.

After a year of mat leave (thank you, Canada!), I plan to return to my job in April. I’m not sure how I’ll manage church life activity while working full time and raising a young child. I love church community and serving, my job and my family! But as we know, we can’t do it all. This may be a challenging season of finding balance through creativity and establishing priorities.

Are you a pastor’s wife who works outside of the home? If so, I’d love to hear from you! If you have any thoughts to add please leave a comment below.

Being a Pastor’s Wife is HARD: Then and Now

Disclaimer: while I don’t like the term Pastor’s wife for several reasons, I’ll be using this title in this post. 

While visiting my grandmother earlier this week, she reminded me of some of the difficulties of being a Pastor’s wife in her day and age. Today, while being married to a pastor can still be hard, I remember my grandmother’s generation and how much more difficult it was then.

Being a Pastor’s wife THEN (1950’s to the 1980’s):

1. Church members would state their opinions at society meetings and other places re: what they felt the pastor’s wife should be doing. She would be told where she should serve and where she should not serve in the church. This was done without asking her thoughts or opinions and with no regard to her comfort level or giftedness. She was often given the jobs that no one else in the church wanted to do. She was not compensated in any way, nor did a pastor with a wife get paid more than a single pastor.

2. It was quite common to be given mixed messages back then re: appearance and being a pastor’s wife. Many in this generation were told not to wear jewelry, not even their wedding band, for fear that they may be seen as vain. Yet, at the same time, they were expected to dress up for every church event, to create an image that they were well off even when most were dirt poor.

3. The church came first, the family second. No exceptions. Dad was always gone. He often knew far more about his parishioners than he did about his own wife and children. And church members often had a key to the pastorate and stopped in unannounced to “check on”things. There was rarely respect shown for family time and privacy.

Being a pastor’s wife NOW:

1. Some congregants continue to have strong opinions on what the pastor’s wife should be doing. The mentality re: getting a 2-for-1 package deal when the pastor is married still exists in some congregations today. Many churches still ask the pastor’s wife to be present during the interview process and sometimes interview her.

2. There continues to be a preconceived notion re: what the pastor’s wife should dress like. How sad that a woman said to me, “I could never marry a pastor, I could never wear dresses and skirts all the time!” This was said in 2010!

3. In regards to priorities as a Minister, family time has begun to take higher priority in recent years. There’s now been generations of PK’s (pastor’s kids) who have left the church as a result of their father devoting his life to the parishioners while neglecting his family. In scripture it says, “what good is it to gain the whole world yet lose your soul” – Mark 8:36. In a similar regard, pastors are wrestling with making family more of a priority these days. For what good is it to gain the congregation while losing your family?

There’s more that could be said re: the challenges of this non paid, no training role (Pastor’s wife). It was hard in my grandmother’s generation. It remains hard today but there are glimmers of hope, evidence of change. There’s still a long way to go, but change is a process. It takes time.

P.S. We are happy at our church, fyi! 🙂 This post was inspired from the conversations that I’ve had with pastor’s wives over the years. It’s remarkable just how common these themes are despite the different contexts.