Ironic, isn’t it? The pastors/elders of the church labor so hard to care for the body as a whole that we often neglect those who are arguably most valuable to us and the people of the church…the pastors’ wives. Even though each pastor/elder should be found diligent in caring for his own wife (assumed – 1 Tim. 3), how can the pastors care for the other pastors’ wives in their congregation?
Have regular joint fellowship with all pastors/elders and their wives. In some recent mediations I have done between pastors in conflict in the same church, a common link was discovered in them all: A lack of friendship among the pastors and their wives. Make the time to be in one another’s homes. No agenda. No pressing issues to discuss. Just time together laughing, talking, playing games, and enjoying one another.
Appoint pastors/elders to meet with both a pastor and his wife. I never recommend for a pastor to meet privately with another pastor’s wife, but it can be very fruitful to meet with them together for the purpose to shepherd the wife with her husband present. Others can often see the blind spots in our marriages and pastors are not exempt from this reality in their own marriage. Appoint one pastor to meet with another pastor and his wife. Then appoint that pastor who was counseled with his wife to meet with a different pastor and his wife. Treat it like a marriage counseling situation to probe the strengths and weaknesses in the marriage. Rotate through all the pastors/elders and report back to the full pastor/elder group on the progress.
Have wives of pastors meet one on one for accountability with each other. The friendship and spiritual fellowship between the wives of the pastors is arguably just as important as the friendships of the pastors themselves. Encourage the wives to pursue another pastor’s wife in the congregation with the intent to open themselves up to the other. They have an immediate bond in that they are all in a unique position to know what it is like to be a pastor/elder’s wife and the pressures that come with it. Have them seek one another out for that accountability and encouragement. Whomever your particular wife begins to meet with, have her give you an update on how that time is going. Then you know at least one additional pastor/elder is aware of that other wife’s needs and struggles.
Have a pastor openly share at pastor’s meetings about his wife and how to pray for her. I know there is much to discuss at pastors meetings…to much in most cases. Yet, let me encourage you to add this one towards the front of the agenda. It will inform the other pastors how your wife is doing from the one that knows her best and is studying her closest. They will hear as a group how to pray for her particularly. Then, the one appointed pastor assigned to meet with a pastor and his wife can evaluate how accurate the husband’s assessment is of his own wife.
I hope these suggestions begin a discussion that ultimately bring an awareness to shepherd this group of ladies that are most valuable and indispensable in their role in our families and churches.
Other suggestions on how pastors can best care for their fellow pastors’ wives?