Church leaders often ask me about what we do for our pastor’s wives—how we connect them together and what that connection looks like tangibly. My wife, Kaye, has a huge passion for pastor’s wives, and she runs point on gathering them together and caring for them. Here is Kaye on how it works.
Before becoming a pastor’s wife, I never imagined there would be a need to connect pastor’s wives with one another. I thought pastor’s wives were all best friends and that they got together with other pastors and their wives and sang worship songs around a bonfire three times a week. It was only after becoming a pastor’s wife and experiencing a deep loneliness and desire for relationships that I realized I was wrong. Through that experience, God birthed in me a desire to connect these wives together in community. For the last several years I have invested time in connecting pastor’s wives, and I have seen God do great things within us.
How does it work? When do we meet? Each context and church will be unique, but here is what we do together currently. We have monthly gatherings where we, as pastor’s wives, eat together, study together, and pray together. The dates are given preemptively for the entire year to make time for wives to speak into what we will study and share their desires for our time together. I have found that simply having fun together is vital! We also gather to celebrate birthday girls each month, which creates a smaller and more eclectic group. I love it! Any simple way to connect and have fun together is a win.
Here are three benefits of gathering pastor’s wives together:
1. Ministry is more fun when you love the people you are doing it with.
I have found that in both large and small churches, pastor’s wives don’t always know each other. They may know “of” each other, but many have never spent time getting to really know each other. However, once they are given an opportunity to spend time together and hear each other’s hearts, bonds tend to develop quickly. Being connected as wives is healthy for our husbands, the ministries of our church, and the overall church body. Having a deep love and appreciation for each other as staff families leads to a desire to support, pray for, and encourage one another (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
2. Spiritual accountability with others who “get it.”
As pastor’s wives we sometimes hear, “Oh great, we’re getting two for one with you and your husband.” “Two for one” thinking puts unwanted, unfair, and unneeded stress on pastor’s wives. We hate this phrase and do not use this phrase because we want our pastors’ wives to know we value them as people and are not looking for free labor. However, we obviously want to encourage healthy support of their husbands and the ministries they lead. While we should not and do not expect super volunteers, we encourage these women to grow spiritually and serve others—just as we encourage everyone else to do in our church. We want each lady to worship in community and be “seen” because it’s good for her heart. We want each lady to be involved in a small group, not so we can say “all our pastor’s wives are in small groups,” but because it’s good for their hearts. We want each lady to serve because serving changes us and it’s good for our hearts. I feel very comfortable holding our pastor’s wives accountable for these three things because I deeply believe it’s what is best for them.
3. We get to foster the shepherding of pastors and their families.
Eric and I want our staff couples to know that who they are is more important to us than what they do. This includes their personal walks with Jesus, their marriages, and their families. Each year, when Eric and I evaluate what the next year will look like in our ministry together as a couple, spending time with staff couples hits the top of the list. I know that without connection and trust I will never be able to minister to our pastor’s wives in hard times. They must first believe I truly love them and have their best interests in my heart. Proverbs 3:3-4 says “Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and high regard with God and people.” I know this is true. I’ve seen it. Loyalty and faithfulness give us the ability to love others in really hard times and celebrate with them in times of joy. This is my goal!