Equipping pastors’ spouses for their role in ministry

Posted Aug 10, 2017 | Academy of Preaching and Celebration

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By Joyce Thomas

Recently, I came across a book entitled The Identification of Essential Components for Equipping Pastors’ Wives for Ministry by Tara Rawls-Jenkins, a pastor’s wife. In her book, she suggests that the role of being a clergy wife is more successful when training is available. Just as her clergy husband is trained, she should also have the same opportunity. It is critical for her life in ministry that she shares with her clergy husband. No one ever talks about the role of the clergy wife, but Jenkins does a great job explaining how effective training can be in preparing her for the challenges that are unknown.

Jenkins main point is that the role of the pastor’s wife is not getting easier. The same scenarios are continuously being played out in various churches. Clergy wives continue to live in stressful situations with unrealistic expectations, gossip, the busyness of her clergy husband, the two for one syndrome, and dealing with hurtful and negative members. She says it is time for a change and believes training in the form of classes from a seminary, Bible College, or advice from an older pastor wife should become vital options before entering the role as pastor’s wife. 

Jenkins believes pastor’s wives ability to grow spiritually and have a personal relationship with God is one of the tools that will benefit their role. Personal devotion time that includes prayer, Bible study, and meditation along with training and speaking with experienced pastor’s wives is a winning combination. The Bible tells in the second chapter of Titus how important it is to instruct women on the standards of behavior and I believe that includes those things that are helpful to clergy wives for maintaining life in ministry. Why should a new pastor’s wife have to start ministry without the help from wives who have already experienced some of the joys and pitfalls in ministry? Great wisdom is available when older wives share their stories.

I think Jenkins thoughts of training for new pastor’s wives before entering their ministry role is crucial. I remember in the previous churches where I served with my clergy husband, the Deacons and Elders were given a two year training program before they were ordained. The ushers had training before they were assigned to the floor of any worship service. The Trustees and the Board Members had certain requirements before becoming a part of the team. However, for the wife of the pastor, there was nothing. There was no training, no classes, and no speaking with experienced pastor’s wives. It was learning through on the job training.

I agree with Jenkins’ research on pastor’s wives training or talking with experienced wives. These resources prepare clergy wives for entering ministry with their clergy husbands.

What do you think? I like to hear your opinion about equipping pastor’s wives for ministry. 

Dr. Joyce Scott Thomas is the Associate Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration.

The Academy of Preaching and Celebration at CTS seeks to generate excellence in preaching and worship. To request permission to repost this content, please contact awalker@cts.edu.

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