What’s a Pastor’s Wife To Do?

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?


Study Resources for Ladies

Since we have no set topic this month, I thought I would post about the Bible Study resources available for women through the WMF (Women’s Missionary Federation).  Every year this group publishes a Bible Study written by a woman of the Association of Free Lutheran Churches.  Each study has 11 lessons, intended to be used at monthly women’s meetings within the congregation.  Of course, the studies could be used by other small groups or individuals as well.  Writers are not paid for their work, and proceeds go toward the printing of the studies and the WMF projects — missionaries and education.

Click on “WMF” on the header of our blog to go to the website, then choose resources to see what studies are available.  I was privileged to write this year’s study on the book of Acts.



Who are these Free Lutherans?

I thought since our theme this month is freedom, it might be a good time to talk a little about Free Lutherans.  When I was younger, I didn’t know there were different kinds of Lutherans, but there are actually  quite a number of Lutheran denominations.  Sometimes the history goes back to different countries or ethnic groups (in our case, Norwegian) and different ideas about church polity (that means how the church should be organized).

The Bible verse on our church banner says:

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom 2 Corinthians 3:17

You can read the history of Free Lutherans by clicking on “AFLC” at the top of our home page, so I am not going to go into that here.  Instead I will just tell you that a big difference in our denomination is organization.  We are not a Synod, just an association.  The final human authority is vested in the local congregation, subject to the word of God and the Holy Spirit.  This means each congregation is free to decide most things on their own:  decisions made at the annual conference are “suggestions” and not binding.  We are not assessed any contributions for the larger organization, whatever they receive is given freely by congregations and individuals.  We are not “sent” a pastor or even required to choose a pastor from the AFLC clergy rolls.

Yes, we are one of those groups who consider the Bible infallible and we agree to accept the standard Christian creeds and Lutheran confessions.  Freedom does not mean believing anything you want.

We have a seminary, a Bible school, publications of our own, missionaries, home missionaries and an evangelism department.  They are separately incorporated entities, with boards that are elected at the annual AFLC conference.  And here’s another thing–anyone from an AFLC congregation who goes to the conference can speak and vote on any issue.  There are no designated delegates.  In fact, at the conference there is a great deal of prayer and fellowship: it is regarded as a time of spiritual refreshment instead of just a business meeting.  Anyone is free to attend.

What does all this freedom mean? Like the quotes I have been posting, it’s something of a paradox.  More freedom means more responsibility.  The congregation must make decisions for itself.  They decide how much to give and which ministries to support.  They decide who to call as a Pastor.  They decide what the worship service will be like.  They can decide whenever they wish, to terminate their association with the AFLC and associate with a different group.

That being said, the larger organization is there to help and advise.  Our congregation has received visits from three AFLC presidents, the chairmen of the Mission and Home Mission Departments, students from the Bible School and others.

I hope this has given you a taste of why we are free Lutherans and if you have further interest please visit our church website (or our church if you live in our area), the AFLC website, or email us at freelutherans@myactv.net.


Praying for the AFLC

JOIN US starting today, for 21 Days of prayer as we focus our petitions to the Lord towards the ministry of The ARC

and also towards the upcoming

2016 AFLC Annual Conference!

Together, let us pray!

 The ARC is the Association Retreat Center where our denomination (AFLC) is holding their annual conference in June.