One of the joys of my life is leading ministers’ wives at our church. Leading the group of ministers’ wives is a truly special and fulfilling responsibility. Most of the women sacrifice a great deal for their husbands to be in ministry. That is why my goal is not to add to their burden but to be a source of understanding and encouragement.
Who are ministers’ wives?
The ministers’ wives are a group of women married to the associate ministers, often called pastors, in a church. The ministers’ wives may go on visitations with their husbands and counsel other women in the church. this group is led by the senior pastor’s wife, who serves as a mentor and support system for the ministers’ wives.
1. My goal for leading ministers’ wives – Community and Growth
To succeed in this role of leading ministers’ wives, I think you need to cultivate an atmosphere of trust among the group. The minister’s wives need a safe place to share their concerns and struggles. Life is hard for them.
In my experience, most of them did not marry ministers. They married a cute guy with a “normal” job.
They married men who accepted a call to ministry. That can be a lot more than the wives bargained for. The transition is rough – especially for the younger ministers’ wives.
These wives may have found themselves giving their lives to the Lord and their husbands being called to be a minister. Then, suddenly, the wife is thrown into a fishbowl with many eyes watching.
Not to mention, they are also suddenly thrust into leadership roles for which no manual exists. Geez. This can be daunting.
Some ministers’ wives may be spiritual “babies”
Another consideration is the level of spiritual maturity. God calls a husband, but that does not mean the wife is spiritually ready or able to handle all that comes with that call. She may struggle with jealousy, pettiness, insecurity, or worse. They may not have cultivated the characteristics of a pastor’s wife yet.
Imagine how difficult it is to see your husband rising to Kingdom prominence, and you still struggle with not cursing someone out. It’s hard for some ministers’ wives. They don’t need judgment. They need support. They need advice.
I remember when I married my husband – I had no clue what was coming my way. haha
Seriously, my goal for the ministers’ wives group I lead is to provide a safe forum to get support for lifestyle struggles and marriage hurdles. But, my most important goal is to be a catalyst for them to grow in the Lord and to get closer to Him. The funny part is no matter what is going on when we are closer to the Lord; everything works itself out.
How a ministers’ wives group can help
A minister wives group can provide meaningful support because the other women can completely relate to how the other wives feel. They can be a listening ear and a non-judgmental presence. The younger ministers’ wives can express their concerns, questions, and feelings about their roles and responsibilities.
“The phone rang at 2:00 a.m., and I knew we had to go to the hospital”, a minister’s wife may say.
Another may empathize, “Yes, that can be hard. I know exactly what that’s like.”
Practical support for one another
Life happens, and ministers’ wives may not want to always disclose to the congregation what is going on in their lives.
So, if there is a surgery, a death, or an illness, the ministers’ wives can chip in and send meals or help out in some way. Our group is incredibly good at that.
They are Door Dash masters flower senders and even cook and deliver to one another during hard times. I’m so proud of what God has cultivated in that group of women.
Ultimately, it is about leading the ministers’ wives to show empathy. Being available to one another for emotional support and offering a helping hand can help young pastor’s wives navigate the demands of their roles with grace and confidence.
Regular meetings can morph into all sorts of gatherings. You can use them as a monthly book club, prayer group, or Bible study. These meetings can provide a structured and consistent way for minister’s wives to come together, share, and grow spiritually.
You can even meet virtually. That is how we usually meet – except for a few lunches and shopping trips here and there. Leading ministers’ wives shouldn’t be burdensome for them or for you.
We have done a book club, virtual Christmas parties, and Bible studies. Sometimes, we just talk and support one another.
One thing I have learned is the Holy Spirit is in control. He always guides me and guides the ministry. I can take literally no credit for the creativity of the group. The ministers’ wives love the dynamic and enjoy the sisterhood.
Use GroupMe or something similar to keep the conversation going!
In between meetings, we have used GroupMe to communicate. Since this app now has channels, we have a challenge for spiritual resources the ladies may find. We also have a channel for worship songs that can be shared. And we have a primary channel for the active ministers’ wives.
We also have a “General” channel for those not attending meetings.
I do not allow people to drop in and out to maintain the group’s integrity. Women tend to share personal things, so I do not want to risk their privacy to someone who is not as invested in the group as they are.
As a leader, your role is to facilitate these opportunities and help ministers’ wives realize their potential both within and outside the context of their roles as ministers’ spouses.
This means you should give them opportunities to lead (hmmm…I need to do this more often myself) and contribute to their spiritual development process.
2. Build Accountability
Build an accountability element into leading ministers’ wives.
Provide opportunities for them to support one another on their journey towards Christian growth and positive change. This means you have to allow them time to talk and share.
We do a check-in before every one of our ministers’ wives’ meetings.
This is a time to “take their temperature” and see how they are. Leading ministers’ wives is not just about doing “something” or providing an external service. It’s about ensuring those inside the group are ok and their marriages are strong.
It’s important – no, it is CRITICAL – before your meetings or ministry establishes ground rules.
An example would be what is said in the group stays in the group. Another could be no hidden agendas. Come to support the women in the group and not to get anything else from it – no hidden agendas.
I have a rule that no one markets or promotes anything on the communication channel or GroupMe. I want to keep that space sacred and free. You can develop your own, but you must partner with your ladies.
Here are some ideas that you can build upon to keep your ministers’ wives group safe:
- Confidentiality: As I said, “What is said in the group stays in the group, Hunty! Emphasize the importance of confidentiality—NO discussing or sharing personal stories outside the group.
- Respect and Empathy: Promote a culture of Godly respect and Christian empathy. Everyone’s experiences and feelings are valid. Avoid judgmental or critical comments.
- Use “I” Statements: Encourage members to use “I” statements to express their thoughts and feelings. For example, instead of saying, “You should do this,” say, “I feel that this approach might be helpful.”
- Time Limits: Set time limits for sharing to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak. Respect these time limits to keep the group on schedule.
- No Fixing or Giving Advice Unless Requested: Support groups are about listening and offering support rather than providing solutions. Members should refrain from advising unless specifically asked for it. This is one we need to incorporate. Looks like my blog post designed to encourage you as you’re leading ministers’ wives is actually helping me!
- Attendance and Punctuality: Stress the importance of regular attendance and punctuality. Consistency helps build trust and a sense of community within the group.
These could be examples you share, and you and your grow can go from there to build your own ministers’ wives’ ground rules.
3. Keep Meeting –No lags or skips allowed!
Pastor’s Wife: in my experience, consistency is key in leading ministers’ wives.
Commit to regular check-ins or meetings so you can discuss progress, setbacks, and any adjustments needed. We like to meet on the same night our husbands meet. They meet at the church, and we meet online. Before the pandemic, we met in our church during Sunday school.
Create a safe and non-judgmental space where your ladies feel comfortable sharing both successes and challenges. Encourage open and honest dialogue, and be an active listener.
Leading ministers’ wives means you model empathy and encouragement when they share.
Offer constructive feedback when appropriate. Remember that the goal is not to criticize but to help them stay accountable to their goals and values.
4. Be their biggest cheerleader!
Life is hard enough. Ministers’ wives’ meetings should be a source of motivation and support.
Celebrate their achievements when they share, no matter how small, and encourage them during difficult times.
Open the floor to offer resources, strategies, or advice if women are open to it.
It aligns with their goals, and they are receptive to it.
Additionally, encourage the ladies to remind one another of progress when they see it.
Leading ministers’ wives ministries means you have an opportunity to make a massive impact on the lives of the ladies, and TRUST ME; they will CERTAINLY make a beautiful impact on yours!
I know mine do, and bless me so much!
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