The national women’s group of our denomination (AFLC – Association of Free Lutheran Churches) has a blog especially for Pastor’s wives. Recently I was looking at some of the articles and posts, and found one that dealt with the role of the Pastor’s wife within the congregation, the expectations that members may have. That got me to thinking about how I perceive my role of Pastor’s wife, and how I use my gifts and talents in that role.
I think I’m lucky to have become a Pastor’s wife later in life (my husband is a second career guy). I know what my abilities are and I’ve learned which tasks I’m good at, and which ones I should probably avoid (for everyone’s good). Since I spent a long time as a lay person in a small, mission congregation, I thought things wouldn’t change much as a Pastor’s wife. I’m still a lay person within the congregation, and my job is the same as everyone else’s — to use my spiritual gifts within the congregation and community where I’ve been placed. I’m an introvert, so I don’t really enjoy standing out, I just want to be one of the team.
I still think that, and our congregation has actually been a blessing to me by letting me join in whenever I want, appreciating me and allowing me to use my own talents. I have, however, come to see that there’s a little more to being the Pastor’s wife than that. Often I hang back from leadership positions because I don’t want the congregation to become dependent upon me in a particular position — after all, the time will come when we leave, either for another call or for retirement. Sometimes I do feel a little pressure (which may be self-imposed) to participate, if only by showing up, in everything. I worry about having favorite friends within the congregation, and try to take an interest in everyone. In fact, I am interested in everyone, but even within a family, we gravitate toward others who are similar to ourselves. Even though all of us should be good examples to others, I realize that being the Pastor’s wife is a pretty visible role and people are watching and noticing what I do.
Now, as Sarah said in her last blog, I’m not whining. I love our congregation, and they have been a joy and a blessing to me. Pastor’s wife is just what my life is right now, but I’m honestly curious. I’d like our readers and authors (some of them are Pastor’s wives as well) to tell me — what do you expect a Pastor’s wife to do? What is the proper way to be a steward of the role we’ve been given?