September 18, 2013

A Pastor's Wife's Most Important Ministry

This is the fourth in a series of posts that you voted to hear more about from the 30 Things I Learned About God, Myself, and Ministry This Summer. The first, in case you missed it, is here: Ministry and Unhealthiness, the second is here: Sabbath Rest (Where Can I Get Me Some of That?), and the third is here: When You Don't Feel At Home.

Most of what I learned this summer on sabbatical revolved around this idea that only God and His gospel can transform a life. It's a basic Christian concept, actually, but in ministry and church planting, it's quite tempting to begin to rely on our own efforts, to believe that we can convince people to change, or to take ownership and responsibility of it all away from the Lord and carry that heavy burden ourselves. I had fallen into this trap, which is why it was so good to step away, gain clarity, and hit a reset button on how I participate in this ministry God has called us to. Regrouping my thoughts and activities around this simple truth has had far-reaching affects on how I rest, how I parent, and how I battle discouragement now that we're decidedly back in the day-to-day realities of ministry.

Perhaps the greatest effect has been on how I help my husband. Whereas last spring my twisted thoughts added to his burdens, reorienting myself around God as Sustainer and Transformer has caused me to reevaluate my role in our church. I am moving from helping the church to a strong focus on helping my husband.
Here's my thought process: If the Holy Spirit is the One who brings growth and transformation in individuals and the Church, and if my husband has a loud voice and powerful impact in our church, doesn't he clearly need someone fervently praying for him to be used by the Holy Spirit? Doesn't he need support, encouragement, and someone helping him protect his emotional, spiritual, and physical health?

I've known that my husband needs these things from me, but I've thought of my roles within the women's ministry and discipleship and hospitality as just as helpful to him. I'm seeing now that this is not true, that there are things I can do that are more important. Someone else can lead out in all areas of the church except this: no one else is going to pray for my husband or see his needs like I can.

And in reality, who is praying daily for this man, who will, as he is filled by the Holy Spirit, be the primary visionary and change agent in our church?  How many people are seeking to encourage him or to check on the state of his soul? How many are giving to him rather than taking? He may not have anyone doing those things, but I am determined that he will always have me.

I am discovering how freeing it is, too, to focus on helping my husband in this way. I love praying for him on Sunday mornings before and during church and seeing God powerfully use him. I love being able to whisper words of encouragement to him in his ear after he preaches. I love saying yes when he needs my help or when he asks for my feedback. If I do nothing else in our church, there is great value in this role I play as Kyle's wife.

Ladies, no matter what our husbands do vocationally, we are the Aaron to his Moses. They are on the frontlines of a spiritual battle each day. The most helpful thing we can do for them is to pray for them and to ask that God move powerfully in the lives of those they touch and minister to. In doing so, we join in the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in our families, communities, and churches. Could there be anything greater?

For an upcoming post, I will be interviewing my husband about how wives can specifically help their pastor-husbands. What do you want to know about helping your husband? What do you need help understanding from your husband's perspective? 

P.S. A reader has graciously shared a downloadable prayer calendar that she uses to pray for her pastor-husband. You can find it here on