Special Concerns of Pastors’ Wives

I am the son, son-in-law, nephew, and brother-in-law of pastors’ wives. Over my lifetime, I have seen countless churches call pastors to shepherd their congregations, and, of course, bring his wife and family in tow. We often view the pastor’s family as a sort of a “package deal.” Pastors’ wives, however, often have special concerns about which the rest of us may not be aware.

Every pastor’s wife I know wants to be involved in her husband’s ministry and serve her church. I do believe God prepares helpmates to help. (Makes sense, doesn’t it?) Often, however, pastors’ wives are unable to develop close personal relationships within the church because they must be available to everyone. As a result, they may have few people in whom to confide. Too often, these hard-working ladies find themselves under a microscope and face undeserved critique. You’ve heard the comments: “Well, the previous pastor’s wife used to do… .” You can finish that sentence with whatever you like.

In addition to the criticism they face, pastors’ wives know the struggles their husbands face, along with the pressure of always being on call. It is hard for them to see their husband stressed and anxious, knowing he could be called to handle a difficult situation at any point in time. And that moment could take away from carefully planned (and very important) days off together.

Many pastors’ wives also have financial concerns. While being the wife of a pastor can be rewarding in other ways, pastoring, typically, is not a highly-paid profession. Making ends meet can be a big concern. And when a pastor is bi-vocational, the care of the family often falls on the spouse. Without a plan to save, approaching retirement years may add increasing stress. Sadly, I have seen many pastors’ wives who had to rely on their children throughout retirement because nothing had been set aside while their husbands were pastoring.

Often, pastors and their families need help to start saving for their future ministries. As church members, it is our calling to care and provide for the shepherds and spouses we call to our congregations, not only for their immediate needs but also for their future needs. These faithful wives and their husbands carry a heavy load. Providing for their future helps lighten that load. Care for your pastor and his family. Understand God has called them to carry these burdens of ministry together, and He has called you to help carry their burdens as well. Healthy pastors make for healthy churches. Looking out for them financially now, as well as for their future, is a small part that easily can be overlooked until it is too late.

While it may seem impossible to your pastor and his family to set funds aside for retirement, it is vital, and it is something to start as soon as possible. If you would like more information on how you and your church can help, contact the Board of Retirement, and let’s begin with a conversation. We can’t relieve all the concerns of pastors’ wives, but this is one area we can help you help them.

This article was previously posted in the April/May 2024 edition of ONE Magazine.