It’s interesting how our culture has affected the roles of men and women, and what more fitting a case to look at today than how our culture has affected the Pastor and Pastor’s Wife. It is this couple that many look up to for their standard, their friend, and their confidant.
Let’s start by looking at the Pastor’s Wife. I don’t know that we can find an example of the Pastor’s Wife doing anything in the New Testament. I think that you could make the argument that perhaps Priscilla of Acts 18 is the closest we get, and yet we see her functioning as someone that aided her husband Aquila in training up Apollos and ministering to Paul. She could be the closest we find to the modern day Pastor’s wife, but there seem to be no spiritual qualifications laid out for the Pastor’s wife. There are some for the deacon’s wives:
- Be Grave – Reverent
- Not Slanderers – Not speak Maliciously of others
- Sober – In conduct
- Faithful in all things
This is a tall order for any woman, and one would think that a pastor’s wife should have these qualities as well– but they are not listed. I know what you’re thinking: Perhaps Paul thought that pastors would not be married. I guess that’s possible that he figured that they would all be devoted to the Word exclusively. And at the same time I can’t help but think that he also believed so much in the Lord’s return in his lifetime that along with his comments about how it was better not to marry this was just something he assumed would be temporary. I’m sure that he could not foresee what is going on now!
The Pastor’s wife’s duties are really defined by their family, and yet the church easily falls into the trap of believing that they are the recipients of a two-for-one deal. They pay for one person to minister and they get two people. In fact, some women are wired this way, and you will find them teaching Sunday School, organizing the nursery, leading Bible Studies, singing, etc. And then you’ll find some that are fine with blending into the background. Are either of these wrong? I don’t think so.
For first and foremost the woman’s place is at his husband’s side, steadying him. She is his helpmeet– not an employee of the church. She must stand on God’s side if her husband is in the wrong, but if it’s a question between a matter at the church and her husband, she should side with him and seek his best interest.
It is her family that comes first. How often have we seen a Pastor’s family ruining his ministry because of their behavior, their sin? I believe that Satan has specific plans to tear pastors down through their family so that they can cease to be effective ministers of the Gospel. The prayer for her family and the raising of her children cannot take a back seat to church ministries (and I would argue the same for deacons and other church leaders).
Pastor’s wives are sinners too, and sometimes face as much of the scrutiny and more of the stress than any other lady in the church in regards to who she has to be friendly to, how she has to dress, and what expectations that can come along with a job you are married to. It’s not that surprising to see rash things when that kind of pressure is on a person.