Scripture provides no list of qualifications for a pastor’s wife. Pastors and deacons are covered in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, but the pastor’s wife? She doesn’t show up, at least in terms of suitability for an office.
Nevertheless, some churches have their own set of unwritten qualifications for the pastor’s wife, many of which create unrealistic expectations and abundant misconceptions. These can place undue pressure on the wife of a pastor. This shouldn’t be the case, however, since Scripture knows no such formal category.
Here are five popular misconceptions about the pastor’s wife:
1. You have it all together.
Some will assume you’ve worked through all your issues. Sure, you may struggle, but not with anything “major” (whatever that may be).
Oh, sister, may I encourage you? On this side of heaven, we will always have battle to do with our flesh. Will the Father give relief at times? Yes! But “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). We’re off the hook, not to sin so that grace may abound but to live a life pleasing to God—a life bought by the perfect blood of Christ, not our own blood, sweat, and tears to “get it right.”
Three years into Matt’s position as pastor of The Village Church, I entered a 12-step program. Let me quell the questions: I didn’t “work the steps” because he became a pastor. I needed to recover from the addiction of being a good girl and performing my way into God’s good graces. I said with my lips that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. I even thought I believed this. But in my heart of hearts, I functioned as if it all depended on me. With my life I said, “God, thanks for saving me, but I’ve got it from here.”
So one Thursday night at the church, in front of those who only knew me as their pastor’s wife, I stood up to say, “There’s something the Lord is asking me to surrender.” The weight of what people would think of me nearly glued me to my seat and kept me from standing. But I felt something incredible the moment I rose to my feet. I felt weightlessness. I felt relief. And there were tears—lots and lots of tears. In all my anxiety over what the people would think of me—the gasps and whispers I thought I’d hear—I instead found fellowship. I wasn’t untouchable or unrelatable. I became real to them—in real need of a real Savior.
2. Your gifting should match your husband’s.
Although you and your husband are one flesh, you are not the same person. God made you differently. And yet he knew what he was doing in putting both of you together. He doesn’t make mistakes.
By God’s grace, be the best “you” that you can be. Do you enjoy hosting people in your home? Do you love to teach? Do you come alive when you sit across from another woman pouring out her heart?
Matt is an exceptional preacher and teacher. I’ve received and accepted multiple invitations to speak and teach, but it’s not a burning desire within me. I say “no” more often than “yes.” Leading worship, on the other hand, is something I eagerly desire. It excites me to lead 5 or 500 people in song. Matt loves to sing, but you don’t want him leading worship in song. Trust me.
I am not Matt and Matt is not me. Praise Jesus.
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