When my husband told me that we were going to plant a church, my response was that I would follow him wherever he would go.
Upon saying that, I suddenly realized that I'd inadvertently signed up for one of the most misunderstood jobs there is. Some idolize us, wanting to be us, and think that we are flawless and don’t struggle with any real issues. Others scrutinize us, criticizing and judging our every move. Our private life is very public and I’ve found that people are watching us—always. It’s a burden that should be handled with care.
Becoming a pastor’s wife is much like becoming a mother. It doesn’t necessarily come with a manual. You learn through life experience and a slew of trials and errors.
Just as every single church is unique, every single pastor is unique, and (you guessed it) every single pastor’s wife is unique. We look to our predecessors and our peers for examples and acts to follow.
I’ve been a pastor’s wife for 11 years, and the last four and a half I’ve been serving in a lead role.
In some seasons I’ve leaned in and was present and heavily involved—showing up early and staying late. There have also been seasons where I’ve stepped back, allowing me to be accessible to nursing babies and advocating naps and bedtimes.
Ecclesiastes 9:10, NIV, says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
And at the very beginning of our church plant, my hand was the one that scheduled the ushers and greeters, baked brownies and Communion matzah, came early, brewed coffee, took attendance, cleaned toilets, mopped floors, counted and deposited the offering, and wrote handwritten “thank you” postcards to every single visitor that came.
As the church began to grow, so did our volunteer base. I began to give away the ministry opportunities that my hands were rather full of. The only thing that I kept was writing the "thank you" cards, which I'd faithfully done for over four years … until this May, when I felt released to give it away.
If you were to ask me what I currently do to serve our church, the enemy would interrupt me and say, “Nothing! She doesn’t do a thing!”
But, I know the truth. I know that I am more than what I do.
Just like in a play, every part matters and every part is important – from the big, leading roles to the quiet, supporting ones. Each actor/actress finds a sense of pride when they understand that their part is instrumental to the overall success of the production.
I’ve come to understand that my part is instrumental to the body of Christ. First Corinthians 12:27, NIV, says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Because I’m aware of this truth, I joyfully play my part.
I am warm and friendly, so I smile, shake hands, learn names, and give hugs.
I am discerning, so I make myself accessible and available to as many people as possible and pray for those who are hurting or struggling.
I am sensitive to “first-timers,” so I go out of my way to introduce myself and make them feel welcomed.
I love the church like it were my own home, so I pick up any garbage that falls on the floor, straighten any skewed chair, and empty or fill whatever needs it. I have a conviction of supporting and honoring my husband, so I come to as many of our five services as I can, sit on the front row, bring my Bible, “Amen!” him, and take notes.
I am also “Momma,” so I mother my children by ensuring they get to their classes safely, keep an eye on them before and after each service, and ensure they are set up for success by bringing snacks and drinks. I stay as long as I can, and when it’s time to leave, we do.
I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit, so I pray for, message, or call someone in our church on a seemingly daily basis.
I have a heart for the mothers and women in our church, so I organize “Park It” in June and a yearly women’s event complete with “breakfast with a side of church.”
I have a gift of hospitality and encouragement, so I invite one woman into my home for coffee once a week to love on them; meet with two staff wives on a bi-weekly basis to pour into them; and quarterly host the “gathering” for our staff, board, and administrative women around my kitchen table to connect with them.
Yes, I am more than what I do—and yet what I do is instrumental.
I have found that in my current season of motherhood, simply showing up and being “me” is actually doing something. Satan is a big, fat liar.
So, when I step into the doors of 823 S 3rd St, I am Ashley. I am Wife. I am Momma. And I am the Pastor’s Wife. And although we may have a hard part to play, I’ve found it to be a most honorable role.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.