For most people, it can be a welcome problem, but for senior pastors’ wives, it can be a headache. Building relationships with women in your congregation requires wisdom.
Navigating the social circles and relationships within a church is daunting for a lot of people. Add to it the expectation that the pastor’s wife is to be “everyone’s” girlfriend and you’ve got a real challenge. As I stated in an earlier article, it’s not always wise to maintain close relationships with women in your congregation.
Sometimes, you have people you just “click” with, but in your role you can’t really let that be your only qualifier. If you do, you’ll alienate some women and that could create hurt feelings. You don’t want that.
So, how do we “handle” relationships with women that want to be close? First, think things through a bit. Critical thinking is key. Women want to be close to you for a number of reasons. Some reasons are good, others circumspect; either way, be prayerful and careful (hey, that rhymes!) in how you handle people’s feelings.
Many senior pastors’ wives already get a “bad wrap” for being distant or “uppity”. In truth, I’ll bet many of them “come across” this way because they understand some distance (not too much) is needed to ensure their husbands are able to minister and serve in liberty. I have heard pastors say “I’m glad my wife isn’t too “buddy-buddy” with the women in the church”. What do you think? I go back and forth on this issue.
Back to the subject…
I, however, asked around and here are a few common reasons people want to be friends with their pastors’ wives:
1. They like you— plain and simple. (This is a very good thing.)
2. They see and crave the Christ in you. (This is an amazingly good thing.)
3. They see you as a status symbol and want to be associated with your influence. You know me, I’m nothing if not direct, so, I’ll say it straight. You sleep with the pastor and that makes you influential in your church, an in some cases, your community. Good or bad, it is what it is. (Concerning thing.)
4. They want to be near your husband. Red flag! Red flag! “Danger, Will Robinson!”
5. They think you’re on the payroll. [Sarcasm implied and hopefully not wasted] Some people think your role, as a pastor’s wife, is to tirelessly listen to their problems. Although this is taxing, it’s also a blessing to serve, encourage and point people toward Jesus. But at the same time, remember to leave those burdens at the cross, so you don’t become stressed or overwrought with other people’s problems. (By the way, this is a concerning thing)
6. They are nosy. Some people just want to know what’s going on behind the scenes of your life. Their curious how you behave outside church settings, how you handle life’s situations and what you do to manage your children. Beware of the nosy birds. (This is clearly a suspicious thing.)
Any high-profile position brings advantages and disadvantages. To succeed, operate in the gifts God gave you for this role. Again, don’t compare yourself to anyone else; you are you. God is not shocked that you’re in this demanding and draining position in the Body of Christ. Before the very foundations of the world, He knew you’d be right where you are now. He wouldn’t have allowed it if you were not able to trust Him through it.
Trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit and focus on being a blessing and everything else, including relationships, will fall into place.
I found this resources for developing healthy relationships with senior pastors.Not much online about us (senior pastor’s wives), but you may see some parallels at the following sites. Besides, I’m going to share with my hubby, you might want to do the same.
Developing a Great Relationship with Your Senior Pastor
An interview with a senior pastors’ wife. (Interesting)