Staff Problems: Help! My Problem Is The Pastor’s Wife

Pastor's Wife Problem

I have had two different ladies reach out to me recently about a problem they have as a staff wife at their church…it is not the pay, or the time they have to spend with their husband, or knowing how to balance family and ministry. Their problem was their pastor’s wife.

On two different occasions I asked in Facebook ministry groups about how to deal with this problem when you are on church staff. You would have thought I brought an elephant into the room. No response came as if I was like an immature child saying something embarrassing in front of a crowd of people, the crickets chirped loud and clear. No one wanted to answer how to deal with conflicts when you are on staff.

Emily* expressed her pastor’s wife complained constantly of how bad her life was. When she tried to be encouraging, the lady always went back to her rut of a bad life. She and her husband both tried to reach out and serve in their church with a Christ-like spirit but it turned south very quickly after only a few months of serving in their church. Emily was so disappointed, hoping to have a nice lady be there to be a friend and ally in the work of the Lord but her hopes were crushed in the whirlwind of their ministry ending abruptly. Needless to say she left that ministry with no help or relationship with the pastor’s wife.

Katherine* reached out to me privately asking about this topic. Katherine serves in a church where the pastor’s daughter and son-in-law are on staff so they are preferred over the other staff members, almost naturally. She believes that her pastor’s wife could be a great help to her in teaching her things about life and ministry but she simply chooses not to reach out to her. They have had a meeting about the problems and promises were made for things to get better but the pastor’s wife never changed. She often feels like a 5th wheel when the staff wives spend time together and wishes she had a friend to spend time with.

Wow… with all the general praise of pastor’s wives there is the flipside. Women in general are their own sort of joy or force to be reckoned with. We have grand ideas of what WE should be in the ministry and these high expectations of how we should be, act like, look like, in the ministry fishbowl… but if I guess correctly, staff wives also have those grand ideas of their pastor’s wife. Life is real, people are real, pastor’s wives fit in the categories of every other group of people, as sinners. Personalities play a role in who they are, their experiences and opinions drive what they do, and their spirituality is reflected in who they are and how they treat others. Their desire to serve and whether they are motivated or tired of their ministry is reflected in how they treat any other wife that is married to a man on staff.

If you are having problems with your pastor’s wife, as a church staff wife here are some recommendations given to me personally by some people who finally did want to tackle the elephant in the room. I took large suggestions and broke them down into mind-sized pieces.

  1. Give her the benefit of the doubt. In other words, cut her a bit of slack. Look at her life and the amount of things that may be in her schedule and try to have some understanding to why things may not be peachy. Evaluate whether the problems you perceive are because of temporary stress or a recurring issue.
  2. Do right, no matter how she treats you. Proverbs 25:21-22 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.
  3. Look for opportunities to be a bigger blessing to her. It is more blessed to give than to receive, right? If you keep running into conflict or problems, then seek to maybe help with the unnoticed things, doing a job that helps her without her realizing it. Something I have done for my pastor’s wife is trying to keep our church kitchen clean as she used to do it every week, so that she can be free to do other things. Another idea is to volunteer to run an errand for her and pick up some things from the store when she is working on a ladies project or church meal.
  4. Deal with her in humility. Some people would rather ignore you than deal with confrontation or problems. This all boils down to pride. If your pastor’s wife struggles with pride, then deal with her in humility with God’s help.
  5. Remember, you ultimately serve the Lord. While who you and your husband serve with may not accept you in the way you like, focus on the ministries you have been assigned to and do them with all your might. There is a way that we can please the Lord and serve peacefully and quietly without causing problems even though situations may not be ideal.
  6. Think before you react. There are times where things may need to be discussed, other times it may be appropriate to sit and wait out the stress and see what happens next. There are other times where you may be tempted to give a piece of your mind, but there is no angry fight worth losing your testimony over. If in doubt, wait. Also, be willing to follow God’s leading if He prompts you to ask for forgiveness if you have caused a problem between you and her, no matter how you may think she will react.
  7. Zip your lip at the right times. While your heart my be discouraged tremendously and you may need a listening ear, be wise not to bear those types of burdens on church members or even your own children. Speak with trusted friends or family members outside your church that will give you good counsel about your struggles and will keep your concerns in confidence.
  8. Pray the Lord will be able to tear down the walls between you and your pastor’s wife or pray that He will strengthen you to endure an uncomfortable situation. Trust that if the Lord brought you to a particular ministry, there is a reason why you are there doing His work. You can still learn from her even if she does not open the door to you completely. James 1:3,4 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
  9. Ask the Lord for a friend in ministry that will help you. I bet you did not know that one of my greatest ministry mentors is not a pastor’s wife at all! She loves ministry and has served in church for a long time, her son also serves in a church ministry, but she does not hold the title “pastor’s wife.” I love her helpfulness and Biblical insight to ministry life. God will give you someone to be able to answer your questions and hear your heart’s concerns, all you need to do is ASK! Plus, there is no greater person than Him that will guide and comfort you no matter the problems you face. God is there. He knows.

If you have any advice for staff ladies having problems with their pastor’s wife, please leave it in the comments below.

 

*Names have been changed so these ladies will not have more problems with their pastor’s wife! 🙂

Having Compassion in Ministry While Enduring Hardness

Compassion In Ministry

Do you have compassion in ministry while you endure hardness? Over time as problems occur while we are enduring hardness in life and ministry, our hearts and our manner can become hard. We can easily lose compassion when we get accustomed to hardness and cause a distance between ourselves and those we are called to serve. This does not happen to everyone, but I believe it is a temptation to each person in ministry.

Read this verse again. We read it in our first article as we learned about Enduring Hardness in Ministry.

2 Timothy 2:3, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

All people react to situations differently, some will soften through the battles of life and love more deeply, and others will harden against the roller coaster of emotional and physical strain and distance themselves from the sheep… but how do you endure hardness like a good soldier and still have compassion for God’s people and for lost souls? How do we have a way about us that is contagious?

Compassion Defined Biblically

There are different words used both in the Old Testament and the New Testament that define compassion according to the Strong’s Concordance, but they all have to do with having pity, showing mercy, yearning and feeling sympathy for someone.

Compassion has to do with having pity, showing mercy, and yearning and feeling sympathy for someone.

When Moses was found in the basket in the river, Pharoah’s daughter had compassion on him, and he was fetched out of the water to live as her son for many years. (Exodus 2)
Jesus Christ had compassion upon the people who followed Him, and when He noticed that they looked lost, as sheep having no shepherd, His bowls yearned for them. (Matthew 9:36) Two blind men in the way, begged for Jesus to heal them, and the Bible says in Matthew 20:34, “So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.”

We are all going to go through personal difficulties and struggles with people and situations within our church. In order to obey God’s call on our life to endure like a good solider, we must stay compassionate toward people. We cannot take our frustrations out on our family or God’s sheep and please the Lord. We cannot escape to technology and neglect our Bible or relationships and please the Lord. Sometimes the grit of enduring is going to take some huge humbling of ourselves and some setting aside of our wants and disappointments so we can minister effectively with compassion.

How Do You Have Compassion?

Have the determination to make a difference.

We must be the type of people who Jude describes in verse 22, “And some have compassion, making a difference.” Not everyone has bowels that yearn for the souls of other people or he would not have said “And some have compassion.”  We do need to rise above the mundane and difficult and know that our calling is for eternal purposes even within the trenches of spiritual battle. Ask yourself whether you truly want to be a person that makes a difference. If you do, then compassion must be incorporated into your heart and life… but it must come from God. If you truly want it, then ask God for it, and then ask God what He wants you to do to show it.

Have a heart and eyes likes Christ.

When Jesus looked upon the multitude and had compassion on them, he saw them in their spiritual condition. He saw them as lost sheep having no shepherd. They were innocent in many cases toward the danger that was lurking in their lives and hearts. If we have a close relationship with God and are familiar with the Bible, we can begin to recognize the snares that hold them and the only hope they have in this life is Jesus Christ.

It reminds me of a song whose lyrics say,

“Let me see this world, dear Lord,
As though I were looking through Your eyes.
A world of men who don’t want You Lord,
But a world for which You died.
Let me kneel with You in the garden,
Blur my eyes with tears of agony;
For if once I could see this world the way You see,
I just know I’d serve You more faithfully.”

~Mike Otto

Remain in contact with people’s needs.

Distancing ourselves from people and their problems, even while we are trying to sort through our own, kills compassion. It can cause us to rise above them in pride or disregard them in a lack of care or immersion of selfishness.

Ways to Remain in Contact With People’s Needs

  • Opening our homes with heavenly hospitality.
  • Visiting people who are hurting or struggling.
  • Sending meaningful messages to people through text, e-mail, or through cards and letters.
  • Saying more than “hello,” but lingering to find out how people really are.
  • Praying with and for them during their battles.
  • Following up and finding out how things are going at a later date.
  • Listening without interruption.
  • Meeting an immediate need they may have physically, emotionally, or spiritually. This includes taking meals to someone, helping them with groceries, writing out verses for them, sitting with them when they do not need to be alone.
  • At times it may mean that you need to witness to them and tell them about salvation before meeting any other needs.

We do not have to be doormats or enablers when people are going through problems. You will know when the Holy Spirit prompts your heart to make a difference. This does not mean you neglect your own personal problems that may need addressed, it means you can do both. You need people as much as they need you. I find that many times when I reach out to someone else, that it alleviates my self-pity. When I look for verses to encourage someone, that it also teaches and encourages me. There’s something about seeking first the kingdom of God and finding that your needs truly are met in every part of life.

So as you go on through some hardness, I exhort you to continue to have compassion and find ways to meet the needs of other people as you look through the eyes and heart of God and minister to the sheep God has called you to.

The next article in this series will be a question and answer post later this week about having compassion in ministry with insights from other people in ministry.

Our Wedding Anniversary

Hello to you all!

Today my husband and I are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary, we’ve almost made it to the big 1-0! A little over a week ago I was given the opportunity to write about our marriage over at Yes They Are All Ours. The creator of this blog features Marriage Mondays, and writes about particular helps for married women of all ages to be able to help your marriage in godly ways and teach your children to love and respect marriage.

9 Year Anniversary

The blog is titled Persevering Through Trials. Click here to go to the article.

She has allowed me to write about the ups & downs my husband and I have faced over the past 9 years. I have included 4 specific helps we have used to be able to make it through the stress and trials. Did you know that we experienced a complete loss after our apartment caught on fire 2 months after we were married? Yeah… that’s only 1 of the stressful things we have been through together. But God has kept us and helped us along every step of the way. Go read about it!

I wanted to introduce Elizabeth from Yes They Are All Ours and let you know a little more about her. She is a mother of 10 and blogs often about her life as a Christian woman, recipes their family enjoys, and just about any other thing a mother of 10 would write about. Right now she is in a new phase and situation in her life where she is trading off being a caretaker for her mother and having to leave her house full of kiddos and husband in another town. I hope that you will go and visit her blog and learn from her. She has great helps and insight as a woman of experience with many of life’s situations.

I liked this blog she wrote about marriage about What To Do About All Those Warts, that your husband has.

Thank you for allowing me to share this post with you, we’re not a perfect couple, as you will see but we do love the Lord and are striving to make our marriage better.

While we are sad about the history of this day for the nation of America, we also are filled with love and joy for the marriage God has given to us!