Have you ever noticed how Paul gives detailed information of the qualifications and calling of a Pastor’s Wife in 1 Timothy 7 and Titus 4? Elsewhere he is silent upon the subject as is the rest of Scripture, but this is more than compensated for by his fulsome outline in these chapters. Which of course actually means that there is nothing in Scripture regarding the qualifications / calling of the Pastor’s Wife!
What I am trying to address here is the false notions that arise among various parties about what a Pastor’s Wife should be and what she should do. So let us work through some issues.
The husband is called to take on the pastorship role. He is the one who has to fulfil the qualifications. He is the one who is called to specific ministry responsibilities. A church should remember this when it is considering recognising someone in this role. However, in assessing the qualifications of the man issues do arise as regards to towards his wife and family. There does need to be evidence that he is a man devoted to one woman, his wife, and that he is working well together with his wife so that the children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient (Titus 1:6b). If the man’s wife chafes at being close to him and does not harmoniously work with him under his leadership in bringing up the children then that is some indication that he may not be the right man for eldership.
Moreover, although there are no specific requirements for the wife as regards to her calling there must be cause for concern if she is not supportive of her husband’s call. In a very practical sense the husband’s work will surely be hindered if he always has a wife who is resisting his ministry. Such resistance inevitably takes a toll on all including the couple themselves and the church. There is a very interesting article here which is worth pondering upon
It is most unfair for the church to have a pre-conceived mould into which the pastor’s wife must fit. I have seen a church constitution which has effectively said that the pastor’s wife should be the leader of the ladies meeting. This is just unfair. This may not be her calling at all. And for a mother who has the beautiful, but demanding responsibility of bringing up young children to place expectations upon her of fulfilling the so-called “Pastor’s wife ministry” is to put it mildly, inappropriate.
So there is an argument for totally ditching the term “Pastor’s wife” as if special status and responsibility is bestowed on such a lady. Rather my wife is the wife of a pastor just as certain other ladies might be wives of postmen or electricians.
If a man believes that he has the call upon him that may lead to him being involved in pastoral ministry in the future, it is only fair for him to discuss this with his future wife before she commits to marriage.
Being a wife of a man who is a pastor does bring a particular chemistry as regards to married life, family life and church life and this has to be appreciated. After all her husbands’ job is in respect of the church of which she is a member and possibly no-one else in the church shares that arrangement. A helpful book dealing with what it means to have a husband who is a pastor would be this one.