It is a well known fact that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Within this month there is generally a designated Sunday set as Pastor Appreciation Sunday. This usually consists of a luncheon of some kind (most often a potluck), gifts and cards for the pastor, and words of encouragement and affirmation for another year served well. It is overall a very lovely time.
As I was scrolling Facebook the other day it was brought to my attention that March happens to be Pastor Wife Appreciation Month. I had seen this same reminder pop up a few years ago and I mentioned it to my pastor husband then but for one reason or another it had slipped my mind so when it popped up again this year I thought maybe I should share some thoughts on the role of a pastor’s wife during our appreciation month.
As I began to think through this post I decided to do some googling on what others had said in the past in regards to Pastor Wife Appreciation month and I will be honest when I say I was sad and discouraged yet not surprised when everything that popped up was about Pastor Appreciation month being in October and very little was mentioned about his spouse. There are any number of reasons why the wife is not mentioned from some denominations not allowing their leaders to marry to others seeing women just as called to be THE leader in their church which means they would fall into the October celebrations.
When we first moved to Fort Worth to begin seminary and it was just Dusty taking the degree seeking classes it was often mentioned that while He was the one in the classroom learning the couple was earning the degree. While her husband was in classes, seminars, meetings, and hunkered down in the library reading, researching, and writing papers his wife was at home caring for the children, out in the workforce making the money to pay the bills, sitting up late at night reading and proofreading papers, and assisting any any other way possible. We were encouraged, championed, and praised for our silent efforts to support our husbands as they worked toward their place in vocational ministry. At the seminary I attended wives were even gifted with a head to toe, including jewelry, a purse, and lipstick outfit to help us look and feel our best as we supported our husbands in the job hunt once they were out of school.
Fast forward to being out of the bubble of education and into the “real world” of ministry and I will be honest when I say that there are days that life as a pastor’s wife is anything but what they encouraged us it would be in seminary. It is not much of a secret that the pastor’s wife is often seen as a “hole filler” within the church.
Need a piano player or an organist? Chance are if she can even remotely play there she is.
Need a women’s Bible study or ministry leader? The pastor’s wife is a great choice to fill that void.
Has the children’s department found themselves lacking in teachers, leaders, and organizers? The pastor’s wife is perfectly suited to do that job.
By the time anyone has realized it she probably has more hands in the pie than her husband does on any given Sunday. And all the while she is smiling as she moves from one role to another.
Don’t get me wrong, more often than not as a pastor’s wife I am thrilled to fill in where needed, especially in our current ministry situation where we are all doing so many things as we work to replant and grow our church. But there are days that I am just tired.
So, during this month of Pastor Wife Appreciation here are a few ways that you can encourage your pastor’s wife (and remember you don’t have do just wait until March to make these things happen}
1: Pray for your pastor’s wife.
This one kind of feels like a given if I’m being honest. But let me encourage you to pray extra fervently for your pastor’s wife. While her husband is the “face” of the church there are many things his wife is often doing behind the scenes to ensure that all the ministries of the church run smoothly, while also caring for her home and family, and often time being involved in her own activities.
2: Speak positively about your pastor’s wife
Individuals who have chosen a life of ministry are often said to live in “glass houses.” Everything they say and do is often on display for all to see. And because of this it is easy to see how they might need to improve in some areas. While you might feel like a piece of constructive criticism is well meaning when discussions it is more likely that a shift toward hurtful gossip is going to take place. When topics of the pastor and especially his wife come up, rather than jumping on the “what she can do better” bandwagon choose to uplift her to others and encourage them to see the child of God that she is and how hard she is trying to please Him as she goes through her day to day.
3: Send a text, card, or even an e-mail of encouragement
Pastor’s wives are often seen as well connected with everyone within the church. She is known by most and it is easy to assume that because she knows each person within the congregation that she has friends all around her encouraging her and uplifting her. But the truth is that if everyone is making the same assumption then no one is taking the time to reach out. Think about how you feel when someone sends a simple text that says “I have been thinking about you and I hope you are doing well today.”
4: Bless her with an unexpected gift
I hesitated to put this one in here because I don’t want anyone thinking that here is another pastor’s wife expecting their congregation to just give her things (trust me people out there think these things) but let’s be honest, who doesn’t love an unexpected token or gift? Sometimes its just nice to have happen during a time that isn’t a designated “gift giving” time. So if you feel so inclined get your pastor’s wife a little something (chocolate is almost always a win!)
So there you have it. A few thoughts on being a pastor’s wife during a month that has loosely been designated as Pastor Wife Appreciation Month.