Are you a friendly ministry wife? A question was asked on Q&A Tuesday on the Ministry Mamas Facebook page about what to do when other ministry wives were not friendly at a fellowship meeting she had attended. I wanted to share both the question and the answer with you. I hope it will encourage you to reach out and be friendly to other ministry wives. Whether you are at church welcoming a guest, a ladies retreat, or even a fellowship, make it a point to smile, shake their hand, and at the very least ask their name. You get bonus points if you ask about their family, ministry, and especially their children!
Q:”We are new to our area and in a new ministry. I really want some new ministry friends to be able to spend some time with. There are many women I have met at fellowship meetings but none of the ladies seemed genuinely the type of person who is friendly. It has all been surface-level kindness and I have not been able to engage anyone in any good conversation or anything close to friendship. I am discouraged and really do not want to go back to the fellowship meetings if it is going to continue to be this way. What do you suggest?”
- I’ve kinda always had this experience at fellowship meetings. It can be very discouraging. But I went back, if for no other reason than the good preaching! Also I’ve noticed that not having a lot of friends in the ministry is something the Lord has used to strengthen my marriage. My hubby and I don’t have a lot of friends in the ministry, and the ones we do are not close by except one couple which we occasionally do things with but we have each other and we’re happy with that. It could be because we’re also both sort of introverted personalities. Sadly, many preachers wives come across to me also as not “genuinely the type of person who is friendly.” I try to reverse that trend with the Lord’s help as I am now a pastor’s wife. Having been on deputation with my parents and in and out of many churches, the pastor’s wives were not always the friendly type. I just tried to remember that friendship is a two-way street. As you’re there longer, use your experiences to seek other ladies you may begin to recognize as new and reach out to them.
- I think sometimes I have found pastors’ wives, like everyone else, are busy. I wouldn’t say they are not friendly, in my experiences. Unless you are intentional about trying to make friendships, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Put yourself out there and try to get a coffee night or in my case a tea night. I know I’m from New England and ministries are not very close together. Once a month start out small and see where it goes.
- My husband and I use to feel this way. We had friends four hours away that were in the ministry. We grew closer to each other. If you have friends in the ministry that live far away, I would try to set up a certain time to talk on the phone. The Lord brought us someone who lives an hour away now and we talk more than we see each other, but when we do see each other it’s wonderful.
- Hang in there! I am not a pastor’s wife, but definitely have felt lonely at times. Seriously, there was a time I begged God for someone I could spend time with! The great thing is God answered, it wasn’t who I expected but I am so thankful for that dear friend. Just like the other ladies said, you can be a friend! You can be the one God uses to encourage others. I was just talking to someone the other day and we came to the conclusion that Satan wants us to feel alone. We just desperately need to encourage each other and pray for one another! Hope it’s only a short season and things get better.
- As a pastor’s wife of over 20 years who has made every effort to be as friendly as I can be, I’ve found that sometimes no matter how friendly you are, other pastor’s wives just aren’t interested or don’t have time to get together. I don’t fault them for that as I don’t know the struggles with their ministries. What I try to do instead is be a friend to the ladies in our church. Yes, I know it’s not easy or necessarily wise to be close with ladies in the church, but I can fellowship with them individually and this makes it easier for me to see what their needs are spiritually and otherwise. So I often invite a lady for coffee or tea just to chat. Often it leads to spiritual discussions or maybe a concern on her heart that we can pray about. It has worked to build a bridge of trust that has benefited our ministry. And as a bonus, I enjoy the fellowship too.
- In my circle of fellowship, I have observed something–many of the preacher’s wives don’t know each other. It’s because we’re the ones who stay home if kids get sick; or the men will form a team and get a hotel room while the wives stay home. I have had to stay home many, many times (from morning sickness, sick kids, or homeschooling). That being said, when I would go I felt embarrassed at not knowing who I had met or knew. This is common; when a lot of women meet up, they don’t remember who is who. They’re embarrassed because they have been introduced to you but don’t remember. Let me just say, take the time to get to know the women even if they don’t seem over-friendly. Don’t be embarrassed to say, “I’m sorry. I can’t remember your name or if we have even met.” I have done this a lot and it almost always puts a smile on someone’s face. Don’t be fooled, other women in that group are just as lonely and looking for a friend too. They just might need a friendly smile to break the ice. I’ve been at my fellowship for 10 years and I feel like I just now know mostly everyone. Maybe another lady will go to your next meeting who hasn’t had a chance to make it in a while and you could be good friends. And no matter what, stay encouraged in the Lord; He’s truly the best Friend who will always be there for you.
- After having recently moved I found it very difficult to adjust. It took a while for me to conquer the depression from moving and being lonely. I began talking to other ladies in the church, even ladies outside the church and I can now say I have a few wonderful friends whom I love dearly. Remember though, relationships take time and effort. You would not expect a good relationship with someone you don’t talk to or make an effort to spend time with, so take the initiative and TRY to be friends outside of church. In the ministry we are often too busy (mentally and physically) to build a deeper relationship during church, so making time outside of church for others will make a huge difference in how they feel about you. Also, just because you are “in the ministry” does not mean you cannot be friends with people within your church. They need friendship as much as you do.
- We recently moved to a new city and it was a time of many new things (new baby, city, church, schedule, etc.). It was very hard for me to adjust. I’m not naturally an outgoing person, but I do enjoy fellowship with others. The Lord kept reminding me of the verse in Proverbs, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” It has taken time and effort, putting myself out of my comfort zone, but I truly have several friendships that have been such a blessing! Other friendships are continuing to grow! It certainly takes time but continue to try to be the friend you would like someone to have been. In the midst of all this, “there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24