Author Dylan Dodson
One of the difficulties about being in vocational ministry is how much you have to give. You give much of your time, money, nights, and days off helping other people. While that can be, and is, a privilege and a joy, it can also be hard at times. Because of that, there are times when you can (and should) do things to help encourage your wife and ensure she isn’t being burnt out. Here are three ways you can help your wife thrive in ministry.
1) Be picky about who is in your small group.
Many churches today have some type of groups ministry, regardless of what name they call their groups. Because so much of your time and energy are spent pouring out to other people, it is important that you also have a place where you have community. You should be in a group that you and your spouse enjoy being a part of. Pastors and ministry leaders already spend a lot of their time giving to others in various ways, so it’s important to have a night you know you are going to enjoy, even though you will be giving and leading in your group as well.
Before you start your small group, go over who will be in your group with your wife and make sure she has friends or people she enjoys being with in your group. If she doesn’t, you need to change who is in the group.
2) Your wife doesn’t have to be involved in the kid's ministry (or any ministry she doesn’t want to be involved in).
At New City Church where I lead, Christina does not serve in our kids ministry. She has a lot of experience in kids ministry and even used to be a kids ministry director. She served for a while in our kids ministry at New City as well, but she doesn’t anymore. One reason is that even as good as she is in kids ministry, she offers more value to our church on Sundays serving on the hospitality team. She is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet and does an exceptional job connecting with first-time guests.
When she served in the kids ministry, she often missed these connections. So let your wife serve where she wants to, not where people think she should. Some people may say that ministry isn’t about what you want, it takes sacrifice. We’ve even heard questions about why Christina doesn’t serve with the kids.
Here is what I would say to that. First, it is ok that not everyone understands all your decisions. The pastor’s wife being healthy is more important to the health of the church than trying to make everyone happy.
And second, your wife is already making a huge sacrifice. Your wife’s sacrifices for the ministry are literally countless. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say ministry wives probably serve more than any other person in your congregation. Long nights, big leaps of faith, being thrown into the public eye and under public scrutiny, countless hours serving others in countless ways, hosting people and every type of shower imaginable, praying for and ministering to people in your church, evenings and weekends alone because you have ministry events, and if you’re a speaking pastor, likely lots of her life exposed in your sermon illustrations. And last but certainly not least, no one has prayed for your church and church leadership more than ministry wives.
All I can do (and you should to) is laugh if someone thinks your wife isn’t sacrificing by not serving in the kid's ministry.
3) Make sure your wife has at least one (if not more) night out with her friends a month
As a pastor or ministry leader, think of how many evenings each month you have something going on. Church events, meetings, last minute emergencies, etc. Add to that a night or two you may spend with some of your guy friends. Being in ministry means you have more things going on outside of typical work hours than most people.
This means you need to ensure you take at least one night every month to make the kids dinner, watch them, give them a bath, and put them to bed. All while your wife is with her friends taking a break. She more than deserves it.
This is a guest post written by Dylan Dodson. Dylan lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife (and our COO & Podcast Producer!) Christina, as well as his daughter Finley and son Roman. Dylan serves as the lead pastor of New City Church and co-host of the Practical Church Planting podcast. You can find more great insights by Dylan on his blog and you can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.