April 17, 2021

What are the Duties of a Pastor’s Wife?

Wedding RingA church that I used to attend is looking for a new pastor. The current pastor has resigned, and their pulpit committee has formed. One of the first things that a pulpit committee does is to survey the congregation to give them some idea of where the church is, what they want from a pastor, and the current beliefs.

One of the questions that invariably occur on these surveys is what role the pastor’s wife should play in the church. Should she be involved in his ministry? Can she have outside employment? What is her view of his ministry? That kind of thing.

The Wall Street Journal Online talks to this issue in an article on OpinionJournal. Feminism is attacking the fact that the pastor’s wife can be partly defined by the husband’s ministry. They are complaining that if the husband were to die, the wife’s ministry could be done.

However, they miss the fact that marriage is partnership– each helping the other, the two being one.

I didn’t answer the question, did I? What should the Pastor’s wife do? Whatever the Lord leads her to do in the ministry!

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8 thoughts on “What are the Duties of a Pastor’s Wife?

  1. In my experience, the pastor’s wife’s main role has been to pass judgement and the fried chicken.

    Seriously, the best thing for a pastor’s wife to do is what she would normally do if he wasn’t a pastor. In other words, she shouldn’t be held to any responsibilites higher or lower than any wife of a deacon or even a Sunday school teacher. Trying to be co-pastor is usually a bad idea.

  2. My pastor’s wife got burned out in their last ministry because it was so “easy” to try to make her an associate pastor. Everyone tends to expect her to be available and do things because her husband does. I don’t think this is an excuse not to do things, but she definitely shouldn’t be overused.

  3. It’s a tough position because a pastor’s wife can do a lot to mess up the ministry but the good stuff she does behind the scenes largely goes unoticed. Like talking her husand down off the ledge every night.

  4. It’s amazing to me that so many women in the college I went to dreamed of being a pastor’s wife now seeing things from the other side (being a deacon in my church). There’s a lot more involved than I’m sure these girls know being in college. Perhaps that’s a good thing for the guys– otherwise all us geeky CompSci majors would be getting the girls…

  5. It may sound cynical but women are attracted to power, and if you’re raised in church, the pastor is a pretty big symbol of power. It’s no surprise that young ladies would be attracted to that.

  6. My mom was the best of pastor’s wives…she was termed a “grace lady” by so many people and loved by all. She had an unconditional love, and a joyful serving heart. And she could have written a dictionary on hospitality…and wisdom. She was always throwing “mystery dinners” and thinking up fun skits for our potlucks. I know she ran interference for my dad at times, but never in a disloyal way. They met at Bible college, and married right before seminary. Had 5 kids too, so she was a busy lady.
    Our former pastor’s wife was a mom of 6 and homeschooled. She too, was very kind and gracious but kept out of the limelight due to her prioritizing her family. She was the Prov 31 lady IRL…encouraging all of us. Because of her, most of the ladies in our church now grind their own wheat and many of my favorite recipes come from her.
    Now that I’m older, I’ve heard that many pastors tell their wives not to get too close to anyone…how sad. Pastor’s wives have to have a super close relationship with God to withstand the criticism of their husband and their ministry. And even their own children when they criticize their dad.
    Not a job I’d envy, so give your PW’s a blessing and thank them for taking the job on! Even if you’re not that thrilled with the job they’re doing!

  7. In the two processes I’ve been involved in while looking for a pastor, the pastors wife is the question that is an enigma. Do you want one that’s involved in the church? Can she work outside the home?

    Our last Pastor’s wife had a group of women she liked– she kind of contributed to the cliquiness that was there at the end. Our new pastor’s wife– because she hasn’t been there or because of who she is– is friendly with everyone.

    They really are a part of their husbands ministry– no matter what role they take up.

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