Support For and From Ministry Wives
The role of a ministry wife can be incredibly lonely at times. Getting together with other women who understand what it’s like can be a great support.
Being a ministry wife is a unique role. We’re a follower of Jesus like others in our churches, we serve as members like they do, but we’re married to the pastor.
Though we may not be privy to all the information of what’s happening at church, we support our husbands through the joys but also the sadnesses and stresses. We walk the difficult line between seeing how situations at church emotionally and spiritually affect our husband but not so much that we take on his responsibilities as our own.
The role of a ministry wife may look remarkably different for different women at different stages of life and in different churches. At times it is a delight; at times a challenge; at times incredibly lonely. It’s for these latter reasons that I believe it’s of great benefit to meet with other women who understand what it’s like being married to the pastor - because they are too!
Support as a ministry wife
Events such as FIEC’s Ministry Wives’ Retreat or local ministry wives’ events have been wonderful for me to meet other women in this role, learn from their experiences, hear them apply the Bible to their lives, and be encouraged to keep going in my own role.
These events highlighted my need for women locally to talk and pray with throughout the year. I’ve learned the need to carve out those relationships and to reach out to other ministry wives, even when that might feel out of my comfort zone. I’ve been thankful for those in my church family who’ve encouraged me to do that and I’d encourage other ministry wives that it’s worth the effort!
This is not to undermine the value of friendships with other women in our churches: these are the people who we are serving alongside, who we hear God’s word with and pray with regularly, who we can bump into in town or at the school gate.
But they are often also the women we’re ministering to or whom it may not be appropriate to share certain things with. Ministry wives outside our own context can therefore be a great support to us in our role.
Ministry wives groups
I’ve been privileged to be part of a group of ministry wives who started praying together regularly on Zoom at the start of the Covid pandemic. I'm hugely thankful that we have continued to meet since.
In our context in Yorkshire, evangelical churches are often few and far between (especially in the more rural areas of North Yorkshire). Whilst our husbands know one another and often see one another (at FIEC or other Gospel Partnership events), it has often proved more complicated for us as wives to get together due to the time to travel alongside work hours and childcare responsibilities.
Zoom has been a wonderful tool to enable us to be 'together' with our nearest ministry wives, who often serve in similar demographic contexts, when meeting in person would not have been practical.
We have a ‘no frills’ approach as we shared prayer points and then pray for each woman in turn. Hearing the experience of other women, how they are approaching their challenges, and being encouraged from God’s word in how I live amidst my own struggles has been a great joy and delight to me.
For us, meeting in person has remained an elusive reality but our Zoom prayer meetings continue, bringing all of us a chance to share our hearts honestly and be prayed for, that we might be cheered on and keep going as ministry wives.
Taking the first step
That being said, arranging a group isn’t always easy to manage.
I recently looked at starting another ministry wives’ group for a different area nearby, including some women new to the role. We decided to include some more content, using the Answers for Ministry Wives studies that Elinor Magowan had written. Meeting on Zoom still seemed the most practical choice but navigating work hours, church commitments, and childcare meant that we were sadly unable to find a mutually convenient time for the group.
However, I’d still encourage ministry wives to seek to meet, even with just one other ministry wife. Whether an ‘old-timer’ or a newbie in the role, you can be an encouragement to the other woman. Point her to the gospel we serve. Support her in prayer. Rejoice with her in the joys of ministry.
Meeting together, however small or large the group, can bring glory to Christ as we push one another on to keep serving him in our unique role as ministry wives.