May 13, 2013

The Unique Role of Mrs. Pastor

The card depicts five small girls at a ballet class. Four of them are standing at the bar with serious expressions. Girl Number Five is hanging upside down on the bar. According to my husband who gave me the card, I am that fifth girl. There is a certain individuality to my personality that carries over into the unique role of a pastor's wife. I agree with Megan that I am no more or less because I am a pastor's wife. However, things that I encounter by being married to a pastor are just different than what other wives experience. As one child aptly described it, I am Mrs. Pastor.

Consider the contrast between the life of a woman married to an engineer (EW) and the wife of a pastor (PW). EW sometimes sees people from the company, perhaps engaging in light conversation. PW regularly interacts with "company" people while her husband leads them, perhaps speaking of hard things. PW prays that her husband won't dilute the truth to appease the people who determine his salary. A few company people know about EW's children, perhaps with a shallow knowledge. Many people are interested in PW's children, perhaps nurturing their hearts in eternal things. PW recognizes that this attention can be a blessing and, sometimes, a challenge.

My role is not exactly like that of other married women; my life as Mrs. Pastor, by God's design, is unique. Thankfully, I have fundamentals to guide me, such as God's inspired Word, my husband's biblical wisdom and the needs of God's people. After that, I use my God-given gifts, prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to figure out the details. And, I sometimes feel like I am hanging upside down.

Being an example. Every Christian should be a good example to other believers. But for a pastor's wife, this example is uniquely public. I stand out from the congregation by association with the man who stands in front of the congregation. Like it or not, I know people are watching me. I pray that what they see is God-like. I recently met the adult daughter of a member of the congregation for the first time. She said, "I have heard a lot about you. It is all good." I was thankful for the compliment but also humbled because I realize that my example is not always "all good."

Pleasing God and not people. Every Christian should strive to please God. But, for a pastor's wife with the unique role of adjusting to a different geography and local culture every few years, pleasing the current congregation to avoid another move is tempting. I haven't moved constantly, but I have seen the makeup of our congregation shift as members move or die and new people join. At any point in time, I know some people, for petty reasons, do not like me and never will. I am kind to them and ask God to help me love them, but I don't work overtime thinking of ways to make them change their minds.

Standing by my man. Every Christian wife should be faithful to her husband. But for a pastor's wife, there are unique stresses on her marriage. Satan would love to bring down a man of God to dishonor God's name. In addition, church emergencies have preempted the time my husband planned to spend with me. And, some unrepentant people, when confronted with their sin, turn their anger on my husband and, by association, on me. I don't want to become part of the problem by being discontent, resenting the church or retaliating with my own anger. I want to cultivate a safe haven where my husband can go for unconditional love, knowing that I have his back.

Even though it has special challenges, I am glad that God called me to be Mrs. Pastor. I like being in a unique role. What activities are you concentrating on to please God in your own calling?


  1. Hanging upside-down on the bar makes a great metaphor for ministry. The place is the same, the people are the same, but my perspective is just a little different. Trying to remember that most people aren't able to see it my way is a lesson I'm still learning.

  2. Loved the picture (and the post)! As to what I'm working on? Always guarding my tongue in that never-ending effort to be "discreet." We hear so much in our unique position that my mouth has to be zipped on many issues in order to protect the ministry, my husband, the people, etc. I've seen women damage or ruin their husbands' ministries by not having control over what they say. And, hospitality (WITHOUT GRUDGING) would be the other area. :) God is continuing to work in my life, and I'm so thankful that He's a gracious, long-suffering God.

  3. Great post! Being a PW IS unique! I try to just be like any regular member of our church (and encourage our children that they are to just be like any other child of the church family)...but there is no getting around those times when the uniqueness of my circumstances are obvious (at least to me, in my mind and heart). I have to try to NOT focus on the uniqueness of being a PW too much, because in my struggle with the sin of discontentment my heart tends to go to the negative ways in which being a PW is unique. There are many positive ways in which being a PW is unique! And those are what I try to focus on most!


Join the conversation!
All comments become the property of Sunday Women.

COMMENTING HINTS: If you are baffled by the "Comment As_____" choices, you can simply select "Anonymous" and include your name in the comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...