What is the role of the pastor's wife? Does a pastor's wife have a particular duty or role?
Does the Bible address the role of a pastor's wife? Not specifically, but a look at the qualifications of elders or pastors in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 offers some insight into this important role.
First, 1 Timothy 3:2 notes an elder should literally be a "one woman" man (also Titus 1:6). This refers to a man who is known for a faithful marriage relationship with his wife. This would of course also mean his wife is known for a faithful relationship with her husband.
Second, 1 Timothy 3:4–5 states, "He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?" (Also Titus 1:6). Therefore, the pastor's wife is also expected to help manage her children and household in a godly manner.
Third, it is clear a pastor's wife should be a follower of Christ. It would be difficult to support a husband as a pastor and raise godly children if a woman is not herself a follower of Christ.
Yet beyond these expectations, nothing else is specifically mentioned regarding the role of the pastor's wife. The traditional stereotypes of the pastor's wife as piano player, children's ministry director, or women's ministry leader are not found in Scripture. In fact, priority is given to her relationship to her husband and children rather than to other church ministries.
Many times, the wife of a pastor struggles with a church that expects far more than is possible or reasonable from her. She is expected to attend every meeting, serve hours each week, offer godly wisdom, and serve as a model of spiritual maturity. However, the pastor's wife deals with the same issues as every other Christian wife in addition to the pressures of church ministry. It would be more accurate to say a pastor's wife needs more support from the church rather than that the church needs more hours of work from her!
Rather than expecting "two employees from one salary" as some churches assume of a pastor's wife, expectations should be lowered to a more reasonable level. If a pastor's wife is a growing Christian, supports her husband, and provides Christian nurturing to her children, her involvement in other areas of church ministry are strictly voluntary. The local church can also work to provide times of rest for couples in professional ministry, pray for the wife of the church's pastor, and encourage the pastor's wife in her important and unique role.
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