Pastors' Forum


The Pastoral Spouse

What role does your spouse play as you seek to carry out your pastoral call? In addition to your own personal experiences, how have you seen a spouse help or hinder other pastors?


Pastor Dan Morrison – Farmington, NM
I remember being told about the days when the traveling minister’s wife was expected to play the piano and the minister was expected to sing. What a freeing moment it must have been for the wives when that type of thinking was done away with. The point is that every minister’s wife will complement the ministry in their own way and style according to the gifts and graces that God has put within them.

In our church, I allow my wife to do as much or as little as she desires. When she feels compelled to share a passionate thought or a message that God has placed in her, I allow her to do so, but I don’t pressure her. The reason is that I don’t compare her to other minister’s wives in any way. Some wives are gifted and anointed to stand in front of the masses with ease, while others are just as anointed to minister quietly behind the scenes. I am blessed that my wife has a great business knowledge when it comes to church finances. She also spearheads every fellowship event in the church and loves doing it. She works very hard but uniquely and differently from others who might have more of a prominence on stage. That’s her “cup of tea” and I recognize it and allow her to minister according to her gift.

I also believe that if the minister’s wife feels somewhat comfortable in front of others or can tolerate it, it’s a great blessing to the congregation. For example, my wife and I make the announcements together. It allows us to interact together and gives the congregation a peek at how a husband and wife can respect and love one another. We’re simply making announcements but the congregation is able to see so much more. The wife can demonstrate the “soft side” of the minister that they wouldn’t normally see. It gives the people an opportunity to see both sides of the coin. This works for us, but you will find what works for you. As a husband, I always try to encourage my wife in her gifting and free her to be who God made her to be.

Pastor Phil Edwards – Ennice, NC
My wife is my Number 1 advisor. She hears the Holy Ghost for me at times when I’m not listening. We have been able to steer clear of the devil’s trap lots of times because I honored her advice. I don’t keep anything from her nor do I do anything without her consent. She is my right-hand man so to speak.

However, I’m the pastor of the church and sometimes I have to make final decisions that rarely go against her advice and she gives me the freedom to do so without offense. It takes lots of prayer and time before I make decisions without her.

Pastor Al Jennings – Fort Wayne, IN
My wife and I work together as a team. I never put any pressure on my wife to fulfill or fit into any particular role in ministry. I let her be free to flow in her own calling and giftings. God already knew what he put in us when he called us, and he will use whatever he put in us to be a blessing to our church.

In our case, my wife is an encourager. So I give her an opportunity to encourage in our Sunday morning worship services. She loves to inspire women, so we have women’s meetings which allow her to do so. She’s also a gifted certified fitness instructor. So she encourages our congregation in the area of health and fitness.

I have seen other pastors work together as a team in their ministries and it’s a beautiful thing. How? By the Pastor allowing their spouse to be themselves. Problems occur when there is competition between the two or when they’re not on the same page. And there are a myriad of different reasons why pastors and their spouses have problems working together, such as lack of communication, or much deeper issues.

Pastor Duane Hanson – Saint Paul, MN
I’m very fortunate and thankful that my wife is a true partner with me in the ministry. I believe God brought us together years ago to complement each other’s specific gifts and abilities. We are both graduates of RBTC and ordained ministers called to pastor and teach the Body of Christ, and I’m certain that we wouldn’t have survived without trusting in each other’s God-given abilities.

As a pastor, I’m more discipleship-oriented and administrative, which was naturally developed during my years in the retail business world. My wife is very creative and artistic, and besides being a wonderful Bible teacher, she has a more prophetic side to her ministry, which I have learned to lean on and trust over the years. I’m convinced that because of her insights, we’ve been able to avoid some of the trouble that the enemy intended to use in his efforts to sidetrack our God-given assignment.

I know many wonderful couples in the ministry where one of them is not “called” like their spouse, yet without their help and support, the other would not be able to function in their “calling.” The spouse that feels insecure in their position, or tries to dominate their spouse, will invariably yield to the strategies of the enemy and cause strife and confusion in the ministry entrusted to them.

Of all places where love, respect and unity should be on display for the rest of the Church to see, it should be in the godly marriages of His Ministers. God desires for couples united in ministry to be living examples of His relationship with the Church, as the “great mystery” is described in Ephesians 5:32.

When we each understand our individual place in His Body, and appreciate how we each function where God has placed us in the ministry (whatever that might be!), then I believe every couple can enjoy the completeness of being “co-laborers” together with Christ!

Pastor John White – Decatur, AL
The majority of the successful churches that I am acquainted with all have a husband and wife working as a team leading them. Church and ministry is so unlike the secular work world. Speaking from experience, I do not see how you could be as deeply involved in ministry as a pastor and not have your wife working with you. You can’t leave your job at the office. It always follows you and it is always front and center in your life. Your wife and children are so much a part of it and you can’t avoid it. It is almost like default that they too are called into ministry.

When I was called into ministry, my wife Sheila was as well. She never heard the Lord’s call, nor was she directly commissioned by God as I was, but the Bible says that a husband and wife are one.  It seems as God always calls families. It’s not always the case, but most often it is. I could not have accomplished what I have without my family’s help and support, but especially my wife’s. What an asset she has been. She provides so much balance and wisdom to our leadership.

I have seen pastor’s wives be more of a hindrance than a help. The wife can be a burden or an asset. You have to learn where the husband and wife relationship stops and where the pastor and his wife’s relationship starts. Someone has to take the lead, make the final decisions, and that is always the pastor. Any other order is out of order. This takes some getting adjusted to, but you can do it. If the wife is too dominating and controlling, it will cause problems and that ministry will never accomplish what God has called it to.

When the wife feels she is part of the husband’s call, she has no problem with the sacrifices that the pastor has to make. A house divided cannot stand, and the devil would like nothing better than to divide and separate. A pastor and wife in unity are a powerful force for God and have the first ingredients to building a great church for God.

Pastor Jim Blanchard – Virginia Beach, VA
I would like to share some thoughts from my experience on this highly pivotal role in the home and the church; the pastor’s spouse.

1. The Pastor’s spouse is the key role of influence in the church. Many people’s observation of the pastor’s wife has much greater impact upon them than his sermons.

2. A supportive spouse can make or break a pastor’s calling to ministry; as such, she may be in a highly visible and place of tremendous pressure and scrutiny.

3. Some in the church are never satisfied with the pastor’s spouse; she is too spiritual, or not spiritual enough. She is too outspoken or too quiet; she dresses too flashy or too plain. She is too involved in the ministry or not involved enough.

4. Great and delicate care must be given to the health of the pastor’s marriage as it greatly affects the ministry in a positive or negative manner.

5. As great as your faith may be, you cannot override the law of love in your marriage and family and still minister to others effectively (it is the measuring stick for fitness for ministry according to 1 Timothy 3).

My wife and daughter have been invaluable helps to me in ministry and I am very thankful and blessed to have them with me!

Ministers may be so preoccupied with growing the ministry that the enemy takes advantage of him in attacking his marriage and family. May God grant you His wisdom in securing your marriage, family, and ministry so that you may reach your full potential in your calling.