The Proper Expectation for Pastor’s Wives

Editors’ note: 

For more reading on long-term faithfulness in ministry with practical wisdom from veteran pastors, see Faithful Endurance: The Joy of Shepherding People for a Lifetime from The Gospel Coalition.

In this video, Juan Sanchez discusses the strain placed on pastors’ wives and a healthy approach to this ministry stress.


The following is a lightly edited transcript provided by a transcription service. Please check video before quoting.

It’s tempting when we go to a new church, particularly if it’s a small church and you’re the lone pastor or even in a church plant, to bring your wife along and say “Okay honey we need someone to take care of the children and we need someone to play the piano and we need someone to do all these things.” And all the sudden you have your wife and your kids and they’re all unpaid staff of the church. And so I think it’s helpful for us to communicate to the church first of all that they hired us, they called us, that it’s not a two-for-one sale. Our wives are church members, and my wife’s first and primary role is to be my helper and to care for me, to encourage me, and also to help us in the care of our children together. So as we parent our children and as we shepherd our children, that’s our primary focus.
Beyond that, the expectations that I have of her, she should have of herself, and the expectations the church should have is that just like any other church member. And these expectations are something that needs to be communicated regularly. One of the things I find is you can never say the same things too many times, and as pastors I would encourage us to say that over and over and over again. When you hire staff, remind them of these things, remind the wives of these things, remind the church of these things, remind the elders of these things. When you have members’ meetings, or however you’ve structured your church, constantly remind people of what expectations we have for every single church member. In our context we have a church covenant that we recite every time we have a members’ meeting and that’s what we expect of every member; that’s what we expect of every elder; that’s what I expect of my wife––just to be faithful church members.