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Boost Your Ministry by Working With Your Spouse
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By Ronaldo Pacifico
 
Lately I have been thinking about how pastoral ministry has changed through the years. One of those changes has to do with a pastoral spouse’s involvement in ministry. When I started my ministry, questions about my wife’s partnership in my ministry would have created a source of embarrassment for me. Her ministry, as far as I was concerned, was to take care of our two daughters in their Sabbath School classes, and to play the piano when needed. Since then I have come to value the talents, efficiency, and interest that she brings to our ministry. 


Believing  in the Call
Debra D. Benoit in her dissertation on the changing role of the pastor’s wife in today’s evangelical church says, “Many women don’t believe that God has “called” them specifically into ministry – but they do feel called to the man.” They go into the marriage believing that because their husband has been called to the ministry, they will serve God in this way because of their relationship with their husband.”[1] Despite of  many pastor’s wife start in ministry by only being a pastor’s wife, it is a growing feeling among them that they can play a role that goes beyond of just being the pastor’s wife.
 
Fitting in Ministry
Barna’s Research Group reports that there are 396,000 clergy families in the United States. One of the questions that many wives in ministry ask is, “Where do I fit in?” One thing that we know for certain – the wife of a pastor is in a very unique position, and in today’s church, the opportunities for her own ministry are endless.[2]
 
Motivating the Pastor’s Wife
The pastoral wife’s motivation is critical. According to Lisa Cullen, “Eight in 10 pastors’ wives say they feel unappreciated or unaccepted by their husband’s congregations.”[3] The same number wish that their husbands would choose another profession. I believe that the first step to help your wife become more active in ministry is to encourage her in the areas where she excels. It could be women’s ministries, family ministries, music ministries, or children’s ministries. And the list goes on and on. It is important to reaffirm the wife’s call to ministry. Many pastor’s wives may not felt the momentum of the call, but it does not means she has not been called to ministry.
 
Equipping, Preaching and Teaming
GPWN was founded by Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, and is led by Lois Evans, wife of well-known Dallas pastor Tony Evans. They tell us pastors' wives are often thrust into the ministry spotlight with little training and support.[4] With encouragement, your wife can find her special place in ministry. You can even attend training events with her, or care for the kids while she attends training events. Training experiences are not only critical for the pastor, they are critical for the pastoral spouse as well. Another thing you may want to consider is inviting your wife to share the Sabbath sermon delivery with you, or to even speak by herself. I know many pastor wives who are excellent speakers. When I first began my ministry, my wife would not speak in public. Now, she is a confident preacher.
 
Ellen White encourages the pastoral wives to team up with their husbands.  She also encourages the church to pay those wives in action. “There are ministers’ wives … who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages.”[5]
 
Today, I cannot see myself in ministry without the partnership of my wife. Her ministry is essential to our success in ministry. I encourage you to nurture each other
 
Nowadays, I cannot see my ministry without the help of my wife. As a matter of fact in some places my wife’s involvement in ministry can be the factor for success. Be sure you are moving and changing but do not neglect the one you have chosen to be in your side everywhere.
 
Ronaldo Pacifico, originally from Brazil, has pastored churches in Boston, Massachusetts, and is currently a D.Min. student at Andrews University
 
 
[1]Debra D. Benoit, The Changing Role of the Pastor’s Wife in Today’s Evangelical Church, Lynchburg, VA, December 2010
[2] Barna Research Group
[3] Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, Pastor’s Wives Come Together, Time – In Partnership With CNN, March 29, 2007, www.time.com/time/magazine/ariticle/
[4] Bright and Evans
[5] Ellen G. White