Dear Pastor’s Wife: If You Want To Be a Servant


Dear Pastor’s Wife,

I got your email the other day- the one where you poured out your heart and shared {like so many others do} what is going on in your ministry.

You’re having a hard time wrapping your head around what is happening among the believers in your church. The drama and carnality is spilling over and affecting you and your husband. You’ve begun to receive the brunt of back stabbing and slander, and you fear for your reputation amid the false accusations that are being spread around.

I think what has surprised me the most about your story is your age. You’ve been a pastor’s wife for quite awhile, have moved around a bit and gotten a lot of experience, and your kids are grown and making lives of their own.  More and more I am hearing from seasoned pastors’ wives who are living proof that “ministry is not for the faint of heart.” And they couldn’t be more right, especially if they are “all in.”

I think we wrongly assume that young pastors’ wives- the ones just starting out- will struggle more with the realities of church ministry.  True, there are shocking things to be discovered when one is first starting out. But knowledge doesn’t always ease the pain when something is repeated over and over again. And age certainly doesn’t callous the heart with this type of personal pain. Which is why I think some of our “pastor’s wife distress” is rooted in our expectations.

We all eagerly signed up to be servants of God in ministry.  I remember as a college student walking to the front of an auditorium to join scores of other young people who were giving their lives to God for full time Christian service. He was calling, and we were saying “yes.” We were committing to the unknowns of a life of ministry.

And then we all began said full time Christian service.

And we started being treated like a servants.

Whaaaaat?! We thought it was the world that was going to oppose us! No one said that some of our church people would be more hateful and unkind than our unsaved friends. No one told us that we’d actually be treated like a servant while in a position of authority- ordered around, gossiped about, unappreciated, not cared for, falsely accused, berated in meetings…the list goes on.

If that paragraph made you cringe because it’s so relatable, you’re not alone. But before you hyperventilate…

Consider Christ.

I could stop here, and those two words would be sufficient.  I hardly feel worthy to proceed, because His suffering cannot be done justice with words.

My children and I memorized Philippians 2:1-11 together last school year. Hidden in that passage that so beautifully exposes the heart of Christ are these verses: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus….{He} made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”

He chose to take on Himself the configuration of a servant. In those days this was the plight of the lowest of the low. Servants had no name of their own, and were subject to the whims of their masters. They were also subject to abuse and even death if they did not comply quickly and accurately to commands. They had no rights, no opinions, no life of their own. They existed for the well being of another.

I’m humbled with awe to imagine and meditate on my Lord being in that position. I’m speechless when I remember that He chose it. I’m grateful when I consider that He knew what He was abasing Himself to, and yet He chose it anyway….for the wellbeing of another….me. And you.

So you want to be a servant? When you put yourself in that position, you can expect to be treated like one, even within the church. In every church, there are wolves and goats as well as sheep. No doubt about it- they will help you be a servant.

They will help you be like Christ.

No matter what our age, we all have times when we are nearly derailed by what is thrown at us in ministry. Years of experience don’t turn us into automatic servants who can power through everything and feel nothing. It never gets easier for our flesh to be treated like a servant. It’s never easy to face our pride. But there is one thing that does ease this pain, if we will take the time to meditate:

Considering Christ. Continually.

Everything starts and ends there.  Pride ends and humility begins. Rights end and obedience begins. Expectations end and His desires and will begin.  Your kingdom ends and His begins.  Your “to do” list ends and resting in Him begins. Your need for approval ends and His Word defines who you are.

Dear pastors’ wives, by God’s grace and strength, we can press forward in ministry. We are all faint of heart at times, and that’s a good thing. It puts us in the perfect position to receive His grace.

May we all sign up to be servants. May we go in with eyes wide open, knowing we will, at times, be treated like servants. And may we still say yes.


A Kindred Spirit



4 thoughts on “Dear Pastor’s Wife: If You Want To Be a Servant

  1. Wow how perfect for today!! It was like you were talking right to me. Thank you for that, it was such a blessing.

  2. Lol I literally thought…. Did I write her an email? So right on with this calling and this privilege as we follow Christ, to consider Him and no servant is above his manager!!
    So good!!

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