Joni Lamb

My newest hero – Joni Lamb

Some time ago, a controversy involved Joni and Marcus Lamb. It made many people question so many things about ministry couples and how pastors’ handle temptation.  About a year after the incident, Joni and Marcus Lamb appeared on “Good Morning America” to make a statement about the trouble.

I won’t go into details, but there is a possibility that Joni Lamb covered her husband’s failure for at least a year. By “covered”, I mean she didn’t disclose it until later.

Needless to say, it felt the world was laughing at Christians again.  I was a little ashamed. Then it occurred to me how awesome Joni Lamb is. Being married to a man in such a public setting, her role is akin to that of a senior pastor’s wife. She is the counter-part to a mate who occupies the highest,  senior responsibility in a church-like ministry. Don’t you see the similarity?

Ministers’ Wives, Sr. Pastors’ Wives

I won’t make too many distinctions between ministry wives and senior pastors wives – although they exist.

A husband’s role in full-time ministry is completely different from one in a part-time role.  Add to that being the senior church exec and you have an interesting dynamic.

Ministers wives don’t really have the same type of struggle. They have struggle, just not the same type.

Hey, neither church role among the wives is better than the other, but the sacrifice and the knowledge levels are not exactly the same.

Senior pastors’ wives often bear tremendous burdens and data that no other breathing person can know.

I’ll bet you can probably relate to often being the only one in the church that knows some secrets, visionary directions and major problems.

Back to Joni.
I applaud Joni Lamb because she took the Word to heart in that she didn’t go “public” although she may have had a right to do so. She allowed love to cover sins that were really not anyone else’s business. We don’t know her secret pain. We don’t know the struggle she had about going public (or not).

I’m so pleased she didn’t make her most intimate betrayal public fodder for the press.
It took a great deal of courage and restraint to take charge of the situation and disclose it when she was ready.

That rarely happens. Most people want to be justified when wronged and that trumps everything else. So, we rush to tell folks our problems so we can hear someone say “Awwww, poor you”. Joni could have heard a nation say “poor you”, but she took a better road.

She taught us an important lesson.  Lord knows, I don’t condone what her husband did. But, that’s her business – not ours.

Again, as a senior pastor’s wife, you too are privy to lots of information. In addition to the myriad of secrets you learn, you also may bear the knowledge (or burden) of your husband’s frail humanity outside the pulpit.

Wisdom check: there are times when you may have to ‘blow the whistle” (i.e. in cases of redundant secret sin, theft or anytime others are being hurt or harmed).
But, if no one is harmed except for you (as in Joni’s case) the decision is yours and you should be led by the Lord. Again, hurtful sins of abuse should never be covered – that’s an entire different situation than two consenting adults. 

Let me be clear: I’m advocating for you to keep the simpler struggles of your home, marriage and family far away from the church and community.
Sharing too much of your personal business can hinder people’s abilities to hear God’s word from your husband when they may need it the most.
Be wise and let God handle situations when your hubby is being silly or grouchy at home.
He can handle him better than you ever could.
Wisdom check: If you are being wounded, abused or hurt in your marriage, that’s different. Take a deep breath and blow the whistle with all your might. God doesn’t want you abused or in a relationship that could compromise your intimate health.

All this to say, be careful spreading your business in the church, instead pray for confidants (ideally outside your church) to be part of your network.
God has blessed me with a wonderful, strong support group that gives me prayers, advice and courage. I hope you’ll pray for Him to send similar relationships to you so you don’t feel the need to vent your personal business all over the church.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. Prov. 31:11

Pray for Joni Lamb today.


Married to a is a blog for pastors wives focused on offering encouragement for a pastor’s wife as well as insight on being a pastor’s wife…from one pastor’s wife to another.

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