Each October, churches across our country show appreciation to their pastor. As a pastor, I’m thankful for the extra encouragement, cards, and gifts I receive from my congregation this time of year. However, the unsung hero of the pastor’s wife deserves equal if not more appreciation. These godly women pray, sacrifice, and serve silently behind the scenes with little praise or recognition. A man who shepherds a congregation carries a great weight, a burden that pastor’s wives often share. Pastor’s wives serve their churches in all sorts of ways:
— Pastor’s wives pray diligently for the church and its growth in Christian maturity.
— Pastor’s wives manage the tedious responsibilities of the home and children, freeing up their husband’s time for the 24/7 nature of pastoral ministry.
— Pastor’s wives listen and counsel their weary husbands, bearing the burden of the frustration of criticism.
— Pastor’s wives engage in the lady’s ministries of the church, discipling and training the women of the church.
— Pastor’s wives attend many church functions and build relationships with those in the community for outreach and evangelism.
— Pastor’s wives serve in various capacities in accordance to their gifts, from teaching, serving, counseling, and singing.
Any pastor worthy of honor most often has a wife standing behind him who is equally worthy of honor. As any pastor will tell you, the demands of church ministry can often strain the home. The pastor’s family senses the fishbowl mentality. The sporadic and spontaneous demands of ministry frequently interrupt family time. A pastor’s wife must share her husband with a congregation full of people who need him. Though every pastor must prioritize his wife and children above the congregation, most pastor’s wives lovingly die to themselves and joyfully sacrifice in this way.
So how can you appreciate your pastor’s wife? Here are a few suggestions:
(1) Pray for Your Pastor’s Wife
Each week make it a priority to pray for her and the burden she carries as a pastor’s wife. By praying for her, you will make yourself more aware of her needs and discover new ways to serve her.
(2) Offer to Babysit Her Kids
As a pastor with three children under the age of five, my wife hardly gets a moment of alone time. I’m thankful for the many church members who volunteer their time to watch our children so my wife can go out and enjoy some refreshing solitude.
(3) Don’t Complain to Her about the Church
Because pastors often endure vicious criticism, bitterness can easily slip into the heart. No woman likes to watch her man get beat up. Refrain from sharing anything negative to her that might discourage her in her ministry.
(4) Don’t Treat Her Like a Free Staff Member
Many church’s place oppressive expectations on the pastor’s wife to attend every event and serve on every committee. These unrealistic expectations are harmful. Give the pastor’s wife freedom to serve as she feels led to serve.
(5) Send Her a Thank You Card
Being a pastor’s wife is largely a thankless job. Show your appreciation to the pastor’s wife by sending a card or letter providing specific examples of encouragement. Thank her for all that she does behind the scenes and let her know that you appreciate her ministry.
(6) Give Her a Gift Card
A gift card to her favorite coffee shop or restaurant goes along way as a source of encouragement. It’s often these little gift cards that allow the pastor and his wife to sneak away for a date night with one another. Or, give her a gift card to a spa day or for a manicure/pedicure.
Appreciate Your Pastor’s Wife
So this pastor appreciation month, I hope you will find opportunities to show your thanks to your pastor’s wife. These silent supporters often stay in the shadows, but deserve our commendation and honor. Your pastor serves you in many ways, but don’t ignore the way his wife serves the church. A godly pastor’s wife is a gift to the church. If God has given you a gracious, loving, and servant-hearted pastor’s wife, show even more appreciation to her than you do your pastor. Trust me, the best way to show appreciation to your pastor is to show appreciation to his wife.