|Partners Assisting the Lords Servants|
Article for the former "Bivocational Beacon" the National Newsletter for Bivocational Ministers,
more specifically, from the women's section, called:
"Meanwhile, Back at the Tent".
The Bivocational Pastors' Wife
by: the late J.Everett Sneed
Some of the most dedicated people we know are pastors' wives. Many, have strong senses of calling into Christian vocational service. Yet, the pressure on them is great, and in some instances greater than that experienced by then husbands. In order to reduce this unwarranted tension, churches should understand the kinds of things that produce it and take positive steps to eliminate it.
First. there is the pressure to serve in every position that is difficult to fill. Churches often believe that because the pastor is paid to serve the church full-time, his wife is to be a full-time unpaid worker. The pastor's wife should have the same right to say "no" as any other dedicated Christian woman in the church. The pastor's wife has her own gifts. There are things she sincerely would like to do in the church and other things that she would prefer not to do. The pastor's wife shouldn't be expected to do more for the church than any other dedicated Christian.
Second. the church ,should not predicate the pastor's salary on the assumption that his wife will do a majority portion of the bread winning. The pastor is the most important single ingredient in every church being what it should be. Though the pastor cannot and should not do all the work of the church,his leadership is far more valuable than any building or equipment. Simply stated, the church should provide for the pastor and his family as well as possible. An inadequate salary can place the pastor's wife under tremendous pressure.
Third,"an extremely stressful situation for the pastor's wife is coping with her husband's schedule. She is asked to understand as her husband works eight hours a day in the office and goes visiting or to church meetings virtually every night in the work. Even when he is at home, he may be called away to the hospital or for some other emergency at any time. In most of our churches, there is no one to serve as backup for the pastor. When the pastor is away, there may be endless telephone calis to keep his wife in a hard run all evening. When the pastor is home, he may not be there in the sense that most husbands and fathers are.
Fourth, the attitude of lonely and troubled women in the church can sometimes create pressures for the pastor's wife. Pastors usually are kind, considerate, and tender people. Some women fee1 drawn to the pastor, perhaps because of the need for friendship or out cf a sense of romantic infatuaiion. Minister's wives know that their husband must carefully deal with such situations. Unless pastor;s wives enjoy some sense of security and can learn to cope with normal feelings of jealousy, these situations can produce disruption in the marriage relationship.
The most important question is: "What can churches do to reduce pressures on pastors' wives?"
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