If you sit down with almost any pastor’s wife and ask her what one of the first questions she was asked was when she and her husband went to a church in view of a call to pastor the answer will probably be something along the lines of whether or not she could play the piano or organ, when she planned to begin leading the weekly women’s Bible study, or what her vision for the children’s ministry department happened to be. It is almost always assumed that when a pastor accepts the call to become the new pastor of a church that his wife will be active in some way within the ministry, a two for one deal of sorts. And that is probably true to some extent, however, what that role looks like may not be what the members of the church are expecting.
When looking at the realities of replanting and revitalization, the truth is, these expectations are probably the exact same for a replant pastor’s wife, but the hard facts are they may be the expectations because by the time the church has reached a place where they are in need of replanting or revitalizing there isn’t anyone left to fill in those roles. The people who had been there in times past to lead the women’s Bible studies or to be the program director for the children’s ministries have all moved on to other places for one reason or another. It can be hard to know how much to take on right away and what can be placed in a “to be revisited later” file in the back of the congregation’s mind.
Be Clear About Your Role From The Beginning
When my husband was first approached about the possibility of becoming the new pastor at the church, we currently serve with he made sure to clarify with the small congregation that, while our children and I would be coming along side him to do the ministry work, they would be hiring him and him alone. This did not mean that I would not find the place that God has called me to serve in, it just means that whatever expectations the congregation may have for my role within the church may or may not be where God is truly leading me to serve in. Laying out these expectations at the beginning of our time in the church helped to nip many of the possible hurts, confusion, or resentments in the bud long before they ever became an issue.
Be Realistic About Your Current Season of Life
Along with being open, honest, and upfront with where you and your family feel is the place God is calling you to serve is the need to be realistic with what your time and capabilities have to offer. It is important to remember that your family is your first ministry and their needs come first. This might mean that in a replant ministry context, where there are a million holes to be filled and programs that need to be led, you will have to find that one place you can serve without your family and home life being neglected. This might mean that you volunteer to take on leading the Sunday morning children’s class but you will not be assisting with the women’s Bible study, the weekly prayer meeting, or volunteering your time to serve in the kitchen. When the women in the church see you making your home and family a priority but also finding the small places you can devote to the church they will step up and fill gaps in other areas, and if they don’t perhaps that is a ministry program that doesn’t need to continue for a time.
Come To The Table With Grace and Understanding
Managing expectations, on the best of days, is an arduous task. Everyone has a thought and a feeling on how something should be done, who should be doing it, and in what time frame that should take place. It is no exception for ministry, especially within a replanting/revitalization ministry where things have been done one particular way for an extended period of time and change is hard. However, when everyone is willing to come to the table and find a place of compromise it is truly beautiful how God can work to re-establish a foothold in a community that is more than likely in desperate need of the church he has placed there.
1 thought on “Replant Reality: A Replant Pastor Wife’s Perspective Part 2”
We’re not a pastor family but we recently made the difficult decision to leave a church because of the congregation’s expectation that we were sent to “revitalize it” by taking on various responsibilities. We are not mentally, emotionally or spiritually capable of the expectations that were repeatedly requested of us. And most members of leadership were not able to accept our “no” answer. I can only imagine the expectations a pastor’s wife might have to deal with.