Continuing in our review of the book “10 Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing”, we look at chapter 2 – “Establishing the Wrong Role for the Pastor’s Family”.
In my career as a minister, I’ve heard it said every time during an interview, whether jokingly or not, that the church hoped to get a “Two for one” special with my wife. Sadly, there are many churches that expect the family of a minister to have as big a role in the their ministry as the minister himself. It is not the job of my family to preach, teach, clean up, set up, organize, follow through, establish, maintain, or anything else with the church. Their place in ministry should be strictly voluntary, and not mandatory.
Too often times, a minister’s wife has a full time job, and then will teach a class, sing on a praise team, work in the nursery, and host a fellowship meal all on the same Sunday. It has gotten to the point where we have set priorities in our family. My wife will not teach on both Sundays and Wednesdays. In fact, she has taken over the responsibility as the ministry leader for our Women’s Ministry. While my wife loves working with children, and has a degree and experience in that field, that role is filled with a Children’s Minister at our congregation. She has found a different way to serve. But that was her decision.
I’ve known many ministers who have lost their families due to an unnecessary amount of stress placed on the family. This may not be on an actual role for the family, but for the minister himself. The role in that situation is that the Family assume the role of second place. That could be even worse than expecting the family to do extra things for the church.
I think the role of “Minister’s Wife” or “Pastor’s Wife” could be one of the most challenging roles in the world. We as ministers need to realize all the stress they go through. As a worship minister, I do not get to sit with my family hardly ever on Sunday mornings during the service. We’ve tried, but our daughter is at a point where she needs to be close to a door to be taken out at any moment. My wife does so much on Sunday morning, but there’s little we can do to change our situation.
So, my wife selflessly gives of herself for my ministry on Sunday morning. However, I know I’m one of the lucky ones. My wife knew what she was getting into, and accepts that there will be times like this. My prayer is that churches and ministers alike will understand that it is all too easy to just assume that the minister’s family is at their disposal. God established the family before the church was ever established. Let us never forget how important our families are in our ministry.