4 Simple Things You Can Do to Encourage Your Pastor’s Wife
- Rhonda Stoppe Speaker and Author
- 2016 28 Nov
“You’re thinking of the pastor position of that church in California? Can we talk about it? Let’s make a list of pros and cons.”
Almost 20 years ago my husband, Steve and I were enjoying an incredible season of ministry in Austin, Texas where we had planted a church along with another well-seasoned pastor and his wife.
Steve was the youth pastor (a ministry we loved with all our hearts), worship leader, and associate pastor.
The new church was exploding with new converts. We could hardly believe how God was working among the teens and their parents to draw them to Christ. What a wonderful time it was!
Our children were flourishing as well. Our oldest son, was about to graduate from A&M University with a position secured as fighter pilot in the Air Force. Our eldest daughter was in eleventh grade. She was a dynamic part of our youth ministry, and genuinely loved growing in her faith alongside her friends. Our son, Brandon was in middle school and enjoyed being included in all of the high school activities––since his dad was the youth pastor. And nine-year-old Kayla loved being a youth pastor’s kid.
All was well so you can imagine how taken aback I was when Steve said he was considering accepting a pastor position at a church in California.
Truth be known, the church had called Steve about once every six months over the past two years to pray about the position. Steve would agree to pray, but assured them he wasn’t interested.
Now Steve had a change of heart. He seemed moved by the Lord to consider the opportunity. He was obviously wrestling with the same concerns as I was.
- How will our kids fare if we move them now?
- What will become of our church in Texas if we leave now?
One day Steve had enough of my badgering him with questions, so he said, “Today we will talk through our concerns and then we are not gonna talk about it any more––we are just going to pray.”
I put on a pot of coffee, pulled out a tablet and made a pros and cons list. All morning we talked about accepting the position.
At the finish of our second pot of coffee, we agreed taking the job would be too hard on our family, and a tremendous sacrifice to our children. We both said, “We shouldn’t take the job.”
But then in the next breath we both tearfully agreed, “But we have to. We just have to.”
The Lord impressed upon our hearts that it was His will to move out of our comfortable lives to minister in California.
We were surprised when our kids agreed moving was the right thing to do. And our decision was confirmed when our church in Texas tearfully agreed too.
So, off to California we drove. On the way, everything that could go wrong did. If we were looking for a “the door is closed” sign we certainly could have found one. But we pressed on. God had put in our hearts an ache to follow His leading––no matter what the cost.
As we pulled into the town where we would minister, my heart was gripped with anxiety. Immediately I was encouraged by God’s whisper:
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:10)
It’s amazing how the Word of God comes to mind at just the right time if you’ve hidden it in your heart. A peace washed over me as I was assured God would help us.
It has now been 17 years since Steve became pastor of our church in California. In that time God has truly helped us minister there.
So what’s the point of telling you my story? Well, for those of you who are pastors’ wives, I am sure you share a similar story of God’s leading your husband too.
But for those of you who are not married to a pastor, I thought a little peak into what it’s like to be married to one would help you know how to encourage your own pastor’s wife.
Try to put yourself in the place of the woman you see seated next to your pastor each week. Are their kids struggling because of the pressure the congregation puts on them to be perfect?
Maybe they have financial struggles because her husband has chosen to work in a field that notoriously pays a low salary. (Realize many pastors wives choose not to work so they can help their husbands serve––that was my situation.)
That being said, let’s quickly visit four simple things you can do to encourage your pastor’s wife.
1. Don’t expect her to be perfect.
The woman God has called to minister to your minister is just that––a woman. She has a unique calling that only other ministers’ wives understand.
If she forgets your birthday, doesn’t smile at you when you see her at the grocery store, or loses her temper with your kid who just poured blue paint on the head of a little girl whose family was visiting the church––cover it with love.
First Corinthians 13 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things...” That means genuine love believes the best about others.
Determine to believe the best about your pastor's wife and make sure she knows you are committed to do so.
And don’t expect her kids to be perfect either. She is doing the best she can. Believe the best about your pastor’s kids. And when they don’t measure up to your expectations, cover it with the same grace you hope someone will offer your own kids when they mess up.
2. Show up.
You can’t possibly know how discouraging it is for a pastor to prepare all week to preach only to find a number of people just didn’t feel like coming to church that day.
Your pastor and his wife pray for you––you! And they look forward to teaching you what God has laid upon their hearts.
So, whether your pastor’s wife is teaching a Bible Study or hosting a fellowship show up! I can’t stress enough how encouraging your presence will be.
Pray for your pastor, his wife and his children. They are in the heat of a battle and Satan would like nothing more than to destroy their testimony. I am confident my children follow Christ today because of the faithful prayers of our congregation.
They need you to stand in the gap for them––on your knees. And you can’t do that if you’re constantly critiquing the way they are serving Christ.
4. Pray for godly mentors for your pastor’s wife.
The mentors God sent my way had such a profound influence on my ministry as a pastor’s wife that I wrote an eBook to mentor ministers’ wives: I Sleep With the Pastor. (Consider emailing a copy of the book to your pastor's wife as a gift of encouragement––it’s available for only $3.99)
*Rhonda Stoppe is speaking at Southern California Ministers’ Wives Retreat September 15-17, 2017. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhonda Stoppe is a pastor’s wife, speaker, and author. As the NO REGRETS WOMAN, Rhonda has more than 20 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets. Through humor, and honest communication, she helps women build NO REGRETS LIVES by applying sound teaching from Scripture. Rhonda appears on radio programs, speaks at women’s events, MOPs, and homeschool conventions throughout the nation. Rhonda Stoppe’s book Moms Raising Sons to be Men is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her new book If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: November 28, 2016
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 30 years experience of helping women build no-regrets lives. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night, is what women say about Rhonda’s enthusiastic, humorous, transparent teaching, and zeal as an evangelist.
She’s committed to fulfilling the Titus 2:4 commission by mentoring, teaching and writing books that are inspiring, grounded in Scripture and easy to read––like you're visiting with a friend over coffee.
Rhonda is the author of 6 books and appears on numerous radio programs including Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and Dr. James Dobson’s FamilyTalk, & hosts The No Regrets Hour. She’s an evangelist and speaker at women’s events, College Women’s Chapel, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and Homeschool Conventions. Sharing the gospel at her NoRegretsWoman Conference is her sweet spot. Rhonda is a regular contributor for Crosswalk and many other magazines.
Rhonda ministers alongside her husband Steve, who for 20 years has pastored First Baptist Church of Patterson, California. They live out their own Real Life Romance writing books and speaking at their No Regrets Marriage Conferences, but their favorite ministry is their family. They have four grown children and 10 grandchildren. To learn more about Rhonda’s speaking topics, watch her teaching and to book Rhonda for your next event visit: NoRegretsWoman.com