I grew up as a pastor’s kids, served as a youth director, and now I’m a pastor’s wife.
I have the honor and privilige of being part of an active group on facebook. You know how of these groups start and then fade. Well this one is pretty active. And we had a great conversations about the role of pastors and pastor wives. I am a pastor’s wife. I was a pastor’s kid. I’ve learned a thing or two about the ministry in my lifetime. So here’s what I suggest you can do for own your pastor and his/her spouse.
1) Please don’t say–“We have to be good because the pastor/pastor’s spouse is around.” They understand you are making a joke or trying to break the ice. Your pastor and/or pastor’s wife is not the morality police. Pastors and PW’s don’t like being labeled “rulekeepers.” If you took the time to understand your pastor and PW’s responsibilites and interests, you would see their lives are so much more than that. It’s such an old joke that’s not even funny anymore, so please don’t say it.
2) Realize your pastor and PW struggle with sins too. We’re a little shocked when a pastor enters a treatment center for an addiction, gets arrested for embezzlent or goes outside of his/her marriage. Of course I am not excusing this kind of behavior at all. Please realize pastors and PWs are not invincible. They are tempted in every which way you are–sometimes more so. They have to guard their hearts, marriages, lifestyle choices like you do–and in many ways more so.
3) Love your pastor’s kids and treat them like regular kids in the church & community. No matter what their parents profession in, all kids want to be accepted and blend in with the rest of the children. Don’t label them or expect more from them.
My three kids
4) Be very careful how you talk about your pastor, his wife, and kids around your own family. Even young children pick up bits and pieces of your conversation. No matter how “good” your own children behave, you cannot be assured your words will not make their way to the pastor, his wife, or his children.
5) Not all pastors and pastor wives struggle with the same things. I’ve heard pastor wives complain of people calling the parsonage all hours of the day and night or stopping by unannounced. This is not much of an issue for me. I was in a forum with a bunch of pastor’s wives who had issues with clothing. They felt like they had to dress more modestly and buy a whole new wardrobe. This is a non-issue for me and something I never struggled with. When you meet a pastor or pastor’s wife, your mind might revert to stereotypes based on your own pastor or the pastor you had growing up or the pastor of the church down the street. We’re not all the same and our callings are different.
Please don’t feel sorry for your pastor’s wife. I love my husband. I love living next door to church. I have very good friends both in my church and outside of it. I love getting involved in youth ministry and other areas of my church and community. I don’t feel sorry for my kids because they are pastor’s kids and I certaintly don’t feel sorry myself that I was one. Are there times of trials and challenges? Are there bad days? Of course. But we would have that anyway even if God called us to something else.
My husband has been a pastor for five and a half years.