If you are a pastor, your job is to serve Christ first and foremost. Great, I understand that. That would be under the God heading within a Christian’s priorities. But within a pastor’s priorities, what happens to his/her family being second, or more specifically, the wife of a pastor being second?
I know that there must be a lot of pastors’ wives that ultimately feel that they don’t even come in a close second. They feel that they are ranked way down on a list of priorities by their minister spouse. Maybe they are 200th in a 200 member church. Whatever the church roll is, add 1 and that’s where she is. It is hard to be dead last even if, at times, it is out of necessity. The reality is, the real priorities of being a pastor must at least feel different to the family.
God, Church, Family (spouse)………..and they don’t like it.
What we, as pastors wives, have to ultimately open our eyes to is what it means to serve Christ first.
It took me a little while to understand that when God united Earl and me, “for this cause a man …..shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5) and “Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:6), I too was called into the ministry. Yes friends, we were called into the ministry along with our husbands if we are truly one flesh.
Therefore it really doesn’t matter if he was called into the ministry before you met, while you dated or even years after you were married. If the two were joined in marriage, they are both called, because in marriage, God does not call one without calling the other.
And since every Christian is to serve Christ first and foremost, we may not have been called to preach, but we, as a ministers wife, have been called to do one of the greatest ministries ever mandated by God. What is that?
We were called to serve Christ alongside our husbands as a helpmate to him. A pastor’s life is not glamorous. The statistics on a pastor’s life are horrendous. Take a look at these I found under the Schaeffer Institute: Statistics on Pastors, By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir. Here’s the link if you want to know more:
- 100% pastors we surveyed, every one of them had a close associate or seminary buddy who had left the ministry because of burnout, conflict in their church, or from a moral failure.
- 90% of pastors stated they are frequently fatigued and worn out on a weekly and even daily basis (did not say burned out).
- 89% of the pastors we surveyed also considered leaving the ministry at one time. 57% said they would leave if they had a better place to go—including secular work.
- 77% of the pastors we surveyed felt they did not have a good marriage.
- 71% of pastors stated they were burned out, and they battle depression beyond fatigue on a weekly and even a daily basis.
- 38% of pastors said they were divorced or currently in a divorce process.
- 30% said they had either been in an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner.
- 23% of the pastors we surveyed said they felt happy and content on a regular basis with who they are in Christ, in their church, and in their home!
I only took those statistics that directly related to family and marriage. These numbers should prompt every good pastor’s wife to ACT.
But what can we do when we hardly ever see this dear sweet, (well, not always) man of ours?
Serve him as He serves Christ! Oh that is so politically incorrect! But when you serve your husband the way he serves Christ’s people, you are doing a great service for God. Who better to serve “God’s Man” than “God’s Woman”? We need to focus on how to serve our husbands better in order that their lives in the ministry will be a little easier on them, and possibly, some of the above statistics aren’t fulfilled in your marriage.
One of the small things that I have chosen to do is to be up at 5 AM on Sundays, while he is preparing and dressing for a full day of service and meetings, and cook him a good breakfast. Of course once he is out the door, I promptly take myself back to bed!. But this one little act (among others), has made a big impact on our marriage. He goes out fully nourished to battle the day, and he really appreciates it. I believe he even preaches a little better after a good early morning breakfast. And it also puts me in a very good light in his eyes – and I believe in God’s eyes too.