The Working Pastor’s Wife

Working Pastor's Wife
(By: Sister Rose Chavarria)
Much can be said regarding the subject of a working ministry wife. I recently read that 60 to 70 percent of Pastor’s wives currently work outside of the home to help supplement household income. The costs of raising and educating children, saving for retirement and securing medical benefits are some reasons why Pastor’s wives have joined the workforce over the years. Others have educated themselves and pursued careers fulfilling personal desires and aspirations. I believe that the church community has come to the realization that a working Pastor’s wife is now a norm; however, certain things must be in place in order for this to work. This might not be the same perspective someone else might have, but it has been my personal experience as a working Pastor’s wife. I would like to share three areas that my husband and I have kept in perspective throughout my years in the workforce. I pray that these points are of help to you if you happen to be a working Pastor’s wife.
My husband and I felt it was important to be in agreement that I would secure work outside of the home and church. We understand that our lives are centered on God, and we move on His will and purpose for our lives. Jeremiah 33:3 tells us that if we call upon him, he will reveal things that are unknown to us. We must pray for direction and cautiously consider the needs, the reasons, or the desires for working outside of the home. The Pastor and wife must be in agreement because both will need to contribute to the needs that arise and rise to the challenges that will come.
 Secondly, we committed to balance the needs and responsibilities of our marital relationship, our family, the church, and work. There are some things in our personal lives and in our ministry that cannot be compromised nor easily changed. Time together as a couple is important. When the relationship between the couple is nurtured, the natural order is for both the family and church to bear good fruit. Time together as a  family is crucial. Church responsibilities can make this difficult to accomplish, but it is not impossible. Likewise, personal time with God, community worship, and fellowship with church family is also important. The woman in Proverbs 31 was a wife, mother and a business woman. She was highly praised for being a Godly woman, a good wife and mother, and a business woman. She multi-tasked and balanced all aspects of her life quite well. I have tried to emulate her virtues while trying to fulfill my priorities and responsibilities as a wife, a mother and a Pastor’s wife. The call to ministry is a privilege. Gail MacDonald describes it best in the title of her book, High Call, High Privilege. We are servants of Christ; the calling revealed to our husband is serious and precious. 2 Corinthians describes the gospel of Jesus Christ as a treasure, and we are the vessels that have been called to pour out the good news of the Gospel. However, the Bible also poses the question, if a man does not

A young pastor once asked a seasoned pastor, “What is more important, my family or the Lord’s work?” The old Pastor replied with words of wisdom, “Your family is the Lords work.

know how to rule (give direction, show the way or manage) his own household, how shall he take care of the house of God? A young pastor once asked a seasoned pastor, “What is more important, my family or the Lord’s work?” The old Pastor replied with words of wisdom, “Your family is the Lords work.” Balancing the many hats we wear is important. This is an opportunity to be creative with your time and resources. Stay organized, maintain good communication at all levels, and delegate. This is an opportunity to develop others (at home and at church) in those areas you need help with – including laundry, dishes, ladies activities and the décor for the church during the holidays! As leaders, our responsibility is to develop other leaders who can step in and continue the work that needs to be done at any given moment and who can step down when it is time to step down. As mothers, our responsibility is to develop our children to be good, self-sufficient citizens who know who God is because they have a personal relationship with him. My husband helped me tremendously during the years that our children were growing up. The biggest challenge came when my husband served eight years as the Bishop for the Colorado District, at the same time that I was the
Colorado Dorcas Federation president. I worked, we had two teenagers very involved in band and school activities, and I was the Pastor’s wife. It was not easy, but we all made it with the help of the Lord.
Thirdly, we understood that there would be both setbacks and rewards. Over the years, there have been times when I have been able to lead a women’s bible study or prayer group during the day, or socialized with church sisters over a cup of tea or coffee. But I have also missed out on many church activities or free time during the day. To this day there are times I get out of work and head straight to church. And yes, there are times that I don’t make it to church because I am human and I get exhausted, worn out and sick just like everyone else! My husband has attended many conventions and activities by himself due to my lack of freedom from work. But we also have great memories of many cross country trips from Colorado and New Mexico to California. Work has helped me develop areas in my life that have been a blessing to both the church and my family. I have never regarded work as a career; I have seen it as a means by which I have been able to help my husband remain dedicated to the work of the Lord.
Click on the titles for additional resources regarding the working Pastor’s wife.
Working Women: Pastors’ wives with other titles
Loving the Pastor’s Wife
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  1. PTL. I really enjoyed this post because I can relate. Although, I am not a Pastor’s wife, I am an Assistant Pastor’s wife (hence the username).
    We all know that more is required when you say “yes” to the Lord’s calling. And with my husband working so close with our Pastor, there are activites and countless meetings that he is required to be at. Just like you Sister Norma, I have missed activities because I work outside the home.
    I am learning that one of the best ways I can support my husband in the ministry is to “allow” him to attend these trips and meetings so he can grow. Before we got married, Prophet Arcovio told me that my husband’s ministry is the kite, and I hold the string. My husband will only go as far as I “allow” him to.
    And like you, Sister Norma, there are times when I rush out of work, go home, get myself ready, get my two children (under the age of 3) ready, and eat (if there’s time) to get to home group on time.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story; it lets us know we are not alone.
    And God is so good to give us, women, so much strength and wisdom to balance EVERYTHING out!

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